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The Better General Ross: Sam Elliott vs. William Hurt

I can't believe people like Hurt better simply because his character was written to be "meaner"...
 
There seemed to be something a little less believable about Hurt as Ross...I'm not sure what it was though. But like others have said, here we have a different Ross, a different story, a different writer...etc.

I guess Elliott as Ross was better molded for him. Saying this does not mean that I didn't like Hurt as Ross, though.

-TNC
 
I can't believe people like Hurt better simply because his character was written to be "meaner"...

Hmmm...have you ever READ the comic and the character? He's a MEAN sum*****. Christ, how many times must this be mentioned in this thread in order for people to start getting it?
 
November Rain....have you read a Hulk Comic?
Do you understand the elements of protagonists and antagonists in character play on screen?
Do you understand that there is a difference between the HULK and mass serial killers?
Do you know that in TIH the military wanted to capture, enslave, and harness the power of the Hulk, and in other films that you mentioned the military wanted to destroy that in which they may or may not have a hand in creating, but definitely felt that it was out of their control?
Do you think that there is a reason that Ross earned the nickname "Thunderbolt"?
Do you understand what is meant when I say that Lee used a polished, non gritty, cookie cutter image of for his character of Ross portrayed by Elliot as compared to Hurt's Ross?

I don't think that you do. I think that you saw this movie and the 03 version and are comparing the two without really having a grasp on the basis for which the two were derived.

So you don't think that the Hulk should be an Action Adventure? Then what should it be....a suspense, thriller, comedy, romantic-comedy, horror, action-horror? What?

HULK 03 was good, TIH was better than good, not great, but better than good!
Elliot didn't do a bad job, the writers and director did a bad job in giving him direction and motivation for the part he played.
 
unfortunately the hulk is now mainly a plot device in the comics to have newer 'hardcore characters' test their strength against to establish themselves as worthy opponents.

Coughredhulkcoughcough

Great post NR
 
November Rain you strike some valid points, I'll hand you that, but your analysis of Elliot's Ross being more true to the comics is off IMO, and the genre in which the movie should follow or direction it should take, as well.

Other than that I have no real problem with your interpretations of both films' theories and contexts.

I appreciate your thoughts and critiques as they do make for an interesting analysis.
 
i'll have to reply to your original one first midnight because i never caught it.

I will say this, I don't believe in direct translations of characters, I believe in adaptations. I believe ross is a better adaptation of ross into a real life universe than Hurt's is. You can tell he loved his daughter, you could also tell how taking down the hulk was first a job and then a personal issue, you could tell he thought banner was his father's son and ultimately would end up killing betty.

Now i believe a ross, should put the hulk killing task ultimately as a job that goes too far, while still trying to maintain some relationship with betty and ultimately not seeing banner as a good enough man for her daughter. I believe ang's movie (even though changing the reasons for showing why banner wasn't man enough for betty) ultimately achieved these goals and still kept somewhat neutral.

I think when you start to see the military as bad, you've kinda lost a dynamic. Ross shouldn't be bad either rather obsessed and desperate as his fight with the hulk becomes prolonged and personal. Hurt's ross had absolutely no redeeming traits about him and I understand ross isn't necessarily someone you should like but ultimately you've got to realise why the government puts him in charge of the hulk situation and that's because he's damn good and his job and commands respect.

I personally felt ang and elliot got this across.

Now I'll say this, I only collected the hulk comics during a short period (around betty's death) so my exposure to ross is somewhat limited to the hulks first 13 eps of the 90s animated series and its from this ross (as well as some eps of the 60s show) that i'm comparing their portrayals of.

personally alot of ang's relationships are similar to these eps except for perhaps i believe he does a better job with his betty as well as some of the psychological aspects of bruce but if this animated version of ross varies from the comics sufficiently, then perhaps that's why my points are somewhat skewered in elliots favour.

if the comics are indeed closer to hurt's, then i believe they've missed a trick.
 
November Rain....have you read a Hulk Comic?
yep but not many, my interaction with the hulk mainly comes via animation.

Do you understand the elements of protagonists and antagonists in character play on screen?
I do and I've always seen the Ross character as not a villain in the sense of an evil antagonist. He has taken a job personally and his goal is to bring down the hulk. he doesnt fear the hulk or marvel his power or covet him in any shape or form, he's a target that has (or will) affected his life and he needs getting rid of.

tainting his neutrality ultimately degrades the character
Do you understand that there is a difference between the HULK and mass serial killers?
The hulk character in this film is ultimately a serial killer who has killed while antagonised in moments of somewhat plausible insanity.

Now in the eyes of myself, he's killed before and somewhat would be able to kill again, there's nothing to suggest it wouldn't potentially happen again in the future.

Do you know that in TIH the military wanted to capture, enslave, and harness the power of the Hulk, and in other films that you mentioned the military wanted to destroy that in which they may or may not have a hand in creating, but definitely felt that it was out of their control?
I do and I believe this is one of the reasons why the ross' we have differ because one is in awe of the power and the other one doesn't care. I believe the plot device of requiring him for experiementation is counter productive and simply makes him easier to digest as a 'villain'
Do you think that there is a reason that Ross earned the nickname "Thunderbolt"?
i would like to think by earning respect on the battlefield and also being a hardnosed leader who isn't afraid of anything. Not necessarily by being a prick.

Do you understand what is meant when I say that Lee used a polished, non gritty, cookie cutter image of for his character of Ross portrayed by Elliot as compared to Hurt's Ross?
I do understand but still Hurt's ross had physically been hurt by the hulk and almost killed betty and you could still see the super soldier element was the most important thing on his mind. There wasn't a conflict of agendas that I would have expected him to have. He was somewhat streamlined or some may say simplified to highlight the uncaring nature of the military and their struggle to gain a upper hand on the battlefield.

I don't think that you do. I think that you saw this movie and the 03 version and are comparing the two without really having a grasp on the basis for which the two were derived.
Maybe you're right here but I've also seen how useful both characters were in both their films. Honestly in this film, youcould have swapped ross for talbot and it wouldn't have affected the film at all. Simply swap the little interaction ross has with betty with talbot and some funny love triangle and fine. Elliot's role was one hundred percent pivotal, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. He kept his focussed and was the only character to interact with everyone else on the screen and also voiced concerns as a general, a human being with illogical values and also a father and they conflicted with one anotehr which is what humans ultimately do.

ross had conflicting views, david banner initially had conflicting views, banner had conflicting views, so did betty, talbot was the only one who didn't but talbot is supposed to be a sleaze so fair enough.

Maybe i thought Hurt's ross was just a hard nosed general who you would find in any mililtary film, he was too one sided to get anything other than resentment from. It's almost as if he had nothing at stake to lose from the hulk while with ross there was always betty and some pride as well.



So you don't think that the Hulk should be an Action Adventure? Then what should it be....a suspense, thriller, comedy, romantic-comedy, horror, action-horror? What?

The hulk definitely isn't an action adventure and no hulk film realistically should be action driven. An action driven hulk is merely a plot device and that's how he should be used in a team up film just for big scene fights kinda like in the ulitmate line most of the time.

a hulk film should be a suspense driven film dealing with various aspects of one man's incedibly fragiled persona and how his feelings manifest in various versions of the hulk. Betty's conflict should be deriving seperate feelings for banner and the hulk and also her interaction with talbot and her father. her father's surely should be about being dead set on taking out this beast and keeping his daughter safe. Talbot is looking for a quick promotion so i can see why working on the hulk would lead to this while also trying to get into betty's pants while brown nosing her dad.

a hulk film is too complex to be thrown into a genre and is probably too complex for a summer blockbuster (which is ironic considering the depth i managed to gather from what was pretty much a 'guest star' show in the 90s which still managed to hold these elements at its core).
HULK 03 was good, TIH was better than good, not great, but better than good!
Elliot didn't do a bad job, the writers and director did a bad job in giving him direction and motivation for the part he played.
I think elliot had enough varied motivation to keep him relevant, i think hurt didn't have enough strong motivation.

I mean consider this, if the weapon program for super soldier was completely finished and halted, hurt's ross wouldn't continue following the hulk. Elliot's hulk was effectively killed and he still won't let the situation lie until he sees a corpse for himself even willing to tage his daughter, THat's intense dude.

c'mon you have to admit it.
 
Man, can you write....please excuse me for not quoting, as that was quite a bit.

I think that both Ross' had an unrealistic motivation [if that is fair to say], but they were just manifested in different ways.

You pointed out that Hurt's Ross was unrealistic in his pursuit of trying to capture and hunt down the Hulk, even after the Super Soldier program was put on hold.
However, it is my opinion that Hurt's Ross wanting to capture the Hulk for testing in hopes of harnessing the power, reviving the SS program, and adding to his military career and resume is better motivation than that of Elliot's.

Elliot's Ross, though very well portrayed, motivation lied in his hatred for David Banner which was passed along to Bruce.

So both had an obsession, it was just focused on different subjects; thus, producing different emotions in relations to the characters sought upon.

I do not believe that Hurt's Ross receiving the nickname "Thunderbolt" was simply because he was a prick, but rather because he was a leader commanding and earning respect from fellow soldiers, he as a pro at his job, and he unlike Elliot's Ross or that we saw, was a leader and warrior in the field and respected for his military prowess similar to Cl. Custard or StoneWall Jackson.

Making the film a suspense thriller/action is not a bad idea IMO, if done right. It should not be a psychological journey into the deep human psyche for expressing the inner conflict between contemporary man and his struggle to resist a repressed animalistic behavior lacking conscience for a sociopathic intent.

Although the HULK is an adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for Marvel, I think Marvel should stay away from relating the two on screen and in literature. Though, the Hulk takes many elements straight from Dr. J & Mr. H, the distinction is seen in the fundamental principles of the two. One is an killer and the other is an Anti-Hero.

That is why I think the Hulk should [if at all] be placed in the Action-Adventure category with elements of suspense, human psycho-reflection, drama, romance, etc. But the main component should be that of Action. I am looking at this from a writer/movie-goer/ and comic enthusiast perspective.

Comic movies are meant to be box-office adaptations, with elements as I described. The problem with making them deeper than what they are or taking them into the realm of suspense/thriller is that it makes it hard to build a franchise off of them, and they become very grossly analyzed to various forms of literature in which they are derived and adapted from themselves.

Yes, I want to see conflict in Banner, I want to see his struggle with the inner beast, but I do not want it to be so explicit and obvious of an interpretation personified in his outward projection, as for me the common man to identify with.

I get it! The Hulk lies within all of us, but it is Banner's Hulk that becomes uncontrollable and materialized. WE DO NOT need a full movie that overstates this point.

Ang's HULK played with this format, and received mixed review. I enjoyed his adaptation. I to be honest, do not like it when movies solely go off the comics, [though it may have sounded like I did]. What I do not like to see is when movies "water down" characters rather than intensify their attributes and characteristics. This is why I love to see about characters coming to life. It is their actions that speak louder than words and you can only really get a sense of this through film.
However, Ang went too far into the analysis of his characters, and did not use a proper genre that would have helped to either develop or unravel his characters as the story unfolded. He kept it in the middle while going for a psycho-analysis of human morale and emotion. This is where I believe the movie receives much of its mixed reviews and characters like Elliot's Ross do little to achieve their full potential. If Ang had used a plot device, as you so eloquently have used, to direct our perspectives in relating our emotions to a category [for lack of a better word] than I think their could have been a far better appreciation for the type of film he was trying to create. If he had made the movie more suspenseful and a conflicting human moral vs. animal survival allegory with a suspense-action undertone then I think the movie would have done far better for his interpretation of the HULK. But he instead let the characters move the story, rather than the action, which in this case couldn't have worked because Bruce is just coming to terms with his transformation into the Hulk, and his personal conflict has not been fully recognized yet.
In TIH and Iron Man the characters move the story, because they must. Audiences love to see RDJ, they appreciated Norton/Banner growing as a person and trying to control is anger, much to the effect of Bill Bixby caring the story of the series and having more screen time than Ferrigno. Thus making TIH's characters more interesting to watch.

This is why Iron Man worked so well, and has done so great in Box Offices. People went to see Iron Man and his theatrics, but loved and adore RDJ's performance and theatrics when not in the suit equally if not more. RDJ moved the story, he was interesting as h*ll outside of the suit. This is a great example of developing a character and making audiences appreciate the growth, while at the same time not neglecting the action, drama, story, and genre in which it is to relate.

Also, to say that Hurt's Ross did not show his paternal instincts is, far fetch. He showed his care and love for Betty three times if not more. Yes, there are times we hear differently from him, but those are just words in respect to her. You have to read between the lines. He does not want to hurt her or see her in danger, but he will do almost anything to Capture his "white wale", or at least make her believe that.

Touching on what I just mention. Hurt's Ross can be seen to have the motivation of Capt. Ahab in his pursuit of his great white trophy which has eluded him for so long. Keep in mind that Hurt has been after him for years, while Elliot has really just crossed paths with the Hulk. Hurt's motivation has been strengthened by time, but has weakend his morals.
If this isn't a classic human universal theme then I do not know what is.

And last we do not see the HULK in TIH kill anyone! We hear about it from Ross, and newspaper clippings, but as we all know media has its way of relating the truth for their own benefit. It is just like in the comics or cartoons, where we see the Hulk called to rescue, let's say children in this example by saving them from a burning house. The Hulk rips open a fire hydrogen and uses the water to sooth the fire. The kids are saved, YAY HULK.
However, the media reports that the "mindless" Hulk has called thousands of dollars to the city, with no respect to the environment and people that may be affected.

See it is all in the perspective and who benefits from what. WE DON'T See the HUlk kill anyone. Yeah he kicks the crap out of Blonsky, But 1)Blonsky was trying his hardest to annoy, hurt, and force the HULK into a trap. As well the Hulk knew that he was no ordinary human by his theatrics, and probably figured the kick though fatal would more or less teach the punk a lesson. Please do not underestimate the HULK or group him into the category of mindless, merciless, killing machine.
This is what Wendigo, Abomination, and other "evil" monsters are for, not HULK.

We do not know if Hurt/Ross was telling the truth behind the Hulk sightings and crimes or if he was simply giving motivation to the soldiers to treat the Hulk as a dangerous ruthless target. Think Fugitive; everyone thought he killed his wife, it was reported that he did and that he was a dangerous suspect, but he in fact was not.

Finally, I do not see Hurt's Ross as "evil", though to me he is the antagonist. This is not a contradiction, just an exception to the basis. Abomination is the manifestation of Hurt/Ross' evil coupled with Blonsky's.
Hurt is the catalyst. He is the sword of the military, and is the unseen exploit in which the military operates behind closed doors and hidden from public knowledge.
Yes, I enjoy seeing the military in a protective state ensuring our safeties, but at the same time we have seen many military movies in that regards. In TIH we become aware of the secrets the military, our military, doesn't want spoken and seen; and the effects of what happens when they become uncontrollable.

And to be quite honest my interaction with the Hulk has mainly been through animations, more so than comics.
 
There seemed to be something a little less believable about Hurt as Ross

I always felt he was miscast, both in terms of looks and of personality.

The hulk character in this film is ultimately a serial killer

The Hulk in this film is NOT a serial killer.

we do not see the HULK in TIH kill anyone!

WE DON'T See the HUlk kill anyone.

Uh, I don't think that gunship was being flown by robots.
 
I mean explicitly or blatantly kill anyone. He is not coming face to face with anyone and driving his fist into their heads, Blonsky not included.

He is attacking the weapons for which they are using and it is not there faults if they can not jump or get out of the da** things.
 
I liked Hurt better. He's the better actor. And while I like Sam Elliott I've always thought he basically has one note he plays and that's the overly angry guy with the curled down corners of his lips spouting his lines with that southern drawl.
 
The difference is Elliott's General Ross had way more resonance. It's said that the best villain is the one that thinks he is doing the right thing. Elliott thought he was doing the right thing by protecting his country and daughter by pursuing the Hulk the way he did. Hurt's General Ross is shown as a lying, uncaring, war monger. I prefer Elliot's version.
 
Hurt was pulled right out of the comics. Elliott just seemed like a pissed off old man.
 
General Ross is the modern day equivalent of the villagers with the pitchforks & torches in Frankenstein.

Pretty sure they weren't hunting the monster to use as a weapon...
 
Midnight's post is going to take ages to reply to but i think i can sum it well in saying his interpretation of the hulk differs from my own and therefore so does the interpretation of his surrounding cast. This probably stems from him seeing the hulk as more of an anti-hero while i see him as simply an entity of nature personified that reacts to his surroundings.
 
A big reason for me why Elliot's Ross was more faithful is that he wanted to destroy the Hulk, not turn him into a weapon like Hurt's Ross did. The Ross i know always wanted rid of Hulk/Banner.
 
Hurt was the better Ross from his look in this role. The Acting was a draw, but the '03 Ross was no real threat and that alone made for a more engaging Ross this time around right down to the cigar chomping! He played a much bigger role in the story line.
 
Yeah I'll admit Hurt certainly looked the part. Too bad we never saw him in his general hat.
 
A big reason for me why Elliot's Ross was more faithful is that he wanted to destroy the Hulk, not turn him into a weapon like Hurt's Ross did. The Ross i know always wanted rid of Hulk/Banner.

They wanted it as a weapon in the 03 one too.
 
The fact its this close indicates that Elliot won this poll.

Wow. I've heard of people hearing and seeing what they want to see...


Are you drunk or something? You do understand the idea behind democracy right?
 

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