Planet Hulk is a storyline from the Incredible Hulk series where our favorite giant green monster gets rocketed to another planet, where he becomes a slave, a gladiator, a rebel, and finally a king, smashing things all the while. It was very popular, for good reason, because it was freaking awesome! It spawned sequels, spin-offs, and this DTV animated film. The storyline was mainly written by Greg Pak, or Robot Stories fame. Planet Hulk brings about memories of stories such as the John Carter of Mars series, Gladiator, and Conan the Barbarian. If you have the time, I highly recommend reading the story, collected in graphic novel form. It helped get me back into reading comics for a while, which was pretty difficult to do thanks to Marvel ruining things with stupid Spider-clones and crap.
The DTV film which is the subject of this review differs from the original story in several ways. One of the main differences is the fact the Silver Surfer is nowhere to be found, instead replaced by Beta Ray Bill (which is pretty random, sort of like the Silver Surfer’s original appearance in the story!) Surfer’s non-appearance is apparently due to licensing reasons. The story is also missing the Warbound Brood character No-Name, so I guess all those Brood fans will be disappointed. As the film is not so long, the story is sped up and most of the last act is hurriedly paced, even if I hadn’t of read the original story it would have felt rushed. Along with that, many subplots die by the wayside. Finally, the tragic ending of the original storyline does not occur, probably due to them wanting to end the story on a positive note and leaving the rest for a possible sequel. Hulk may be green, but Marvel wants the other green, money!
So since I loved the original story so much, that probably means I hate this version? Not quite. Despite over-simplifying it to the point where much of the flavor is removed, the same basic story is there, and there is plenty of fighting action. There are numerous scenes with the Spikes, which show someone involved in the DTV production really liked zombie movies. Parts of it are actually creepy/scary in a way they fail to be in the comic. I didn’t hate this version, I actually liked it, but I’ll be keeping the graphic novel instead of the DVD on my bookshelf.
There are numerous cameos in the audience, including Pip the Troll, Gamora, Adam Warlock, a Skrull, Star-Lord, and some guy hiding behind the Red King who might be Grandmaster. So if you are that guy who loves Grandmaster, this is the film for you.