Marvel’s direct to DVD fare has improved in quality with each release, and Planet Hulk is no exception. The animation is top notch in its relative field. Voice acting is superb, and the story is coherent, solid and conclusive.
Therein lies its only flaw.
There are two audiences for Planet Hulk. The first has never read the original comics/trade of Planet Hulk and most likely isn’t going to. This audience should love this DVD. If they weren’t Hulk fans when they hit play, they should have a flavor (much more so than the Hulk Vs. DVD) of why they should be.
For new audiences this is an hour and a half of practically uninterrupted Hulk Smash action, held together by a plot courtesy of its comic cousin that roughly translates to what we all wished had happened in Russell Crowe’s Gladiator with some Aliens/Flood thrown in for good measure.
The second audience has read Planet Hulk, and frankly there isn’t much for them here. While the DVD is a fantastic adaptation given the time there is to tell the story, it just isn’t long enough to hold everything that made Planet Hulk great.
Even this isn’t to say the cartoon is bad. It’s just not long enough to hold all the feeling of triumph and tragedy that is Planet Hulk. In fact there is no tragedy at all. Nor any Bruce Banner. Not that Banner was a big part of the Planet Hulk story, but any time you have Hulk with NO Banner, it feels like he’s only half there.
Seriously, are there any old Hulk shows that are all Lou Ferrigno with NO Bill Bixby?
Other major differences fans of the original series can expect besides the heavily abridged plot are: Beta Ray Bill replaces the Silver Surfer, Meik’s story is barely touched upon, and there is no time spent with Hulk as the Green King (hence none of the tragedy of the original story).
The high and low is, if you’re looking for an awesome cartoon starring the Hulk and featuring a story new to you, this is awesome. Pick it up, it’s great.
However if you’ve read Planet Hulk, there isn’t much for you here but animated action that will only serve to remind you how great the Planet Hulk comics were. You’ll watch the credits wishing that at least once some one had called him “The Green Scar”. Although it should be mentioned that the Red King’s fate is significantly more satisfying than it is in the comic version.
It’s fun to watch no matter how you slice it. Its only flaw is the quality of its source material. A great addition to any comic book movie library. Keep these adaptations coming.
4 Stars (Out of 5).
We only received a screener to review which did not include special features, which is why we were not able to review those here. However here is a list of what special-features will be included in the 2-Disc version.
* Opening Sequence: Thor: Tales of Asgard
* Audio commentary by Supervising Producer Joshua Fine and Screenwriter Writer Greg Johnson
* Audio commentary by Director Sam Liu, Character Designer Philip Bourassa and Key Background Painter Steve Nicodemus
* “A Whole World of Hurt: The Making of Planet Hulk” featurette
* “Let the Smashing Commence!: The Saga of Planet Hulk” featurette
* “Rise Up” Astonishing X-Men music video
* “Watch Your Step” Spider-Woman music video
* Wolverine and the X-Men: “Wolverine vs. Hulk” episode
* Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D motion comic
* Astonishing X-Men: Gifted motion comic
* Standard Definition Digital Copy of the feature film
"Planet Hulk" arrives on DVD and Blu-ray February 2, 2010!