Directed by Sam Liu
Written by Greg Johnson (screenplay) and Greg Pak (comic)
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.
|Hulk (Rick D. Wasserman) – Hulk smash!
|Caiera (Lisa Ann Beley) – Caiera is the super-powered bodyguard of the Red King who will eventually become the Hulk’s wife. She has “Shadow Strength”, which means she can make her skin rock hard and she’s very strong.
|Miek (Sam Vincent) – Miek is an unhived native with black skin so you can tell him apart from the generic insect natives there as well who will die. A loner who finally finds friends and a hive in the battle arena. Most of his story arcs in the comics are excised here, Miek doesn’t even mutate into King mode.
|Korg (Kevin Michael Richardson) – A rock guy from Thor a long time ago that shows up here in Sakaar, because, rocks gotta go somewhere! By the way, my high school team was the Rocks, though no one from my high school was sucked into a vortex in space and crashed on an alien planet where they were forced to fight as gladiators. When it happened to me I had to work at Hot Dog On a Stick instead.
|Hiroim (Liam O’Brien) – A castout priest who believes in the Sakaarsan so much he’s very happy when the Hulk arrives to be the Sakaarsan. Good thing for Hiroim that this movie has a different ending from the comics. And I think they killed him off later in the comics so enough of this guy.
|Elloe Kaifi (Advah Soudack) – Crazy revolutionary girl who is far to revolutionary for her own good and keeps getting the team into trouble. Simmer down, girl! The way to revolt is to do it in a way where you don’t get caught.
|Red King (Mark Hildreth) – The evil king of Sakaar who is evil, though the movie only shows him doing a little evil stuff and not lots and lots of evil stuff.