Universal // 1980 // 867 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dennis Prince (Retired) // June 6th, 2008
"Mr. McGee, don't make me angry -- you wouldn't like me when I'm angry."
Research scientist Dr. David Banner (Bill Bixby, The Magician) has been desperately seeking a way to reverse the effects of an experiment gone horribly wrong. While working to unlock the suppressed power that is summoned by some who endure extreme physical situations, Banner is accidentally exposed to critical levels of gamma radiation that have altered his biochemical makeup. Now, whenever he becomes enraged or suffers significant pain, Banner metamorphoses into a giant, hulking creature (Lou Ferrigno) that wreaks havoc on whatever or whoever has prompted his emergence. News reporter Jack McGee (Jack Colvin) is pursuing the Hulk, believed to be the murderer of the disappeared David Banner. For three years, Banner has been nomadic, roaming across the country to evade recognition while in search of someone -- anyone -- who can help him reverse his near-debilitating dilemma. But, as his search appears to be perpetually in vain, Banner learns more about himself and the other notable power within us all -- the power of emotion and empathy.
Avowed fans of the series have noted this Season Four as the pinnacle of the series' run. While the previous season is generally regarded as the doldrums of the ongoing adventure, this season roared into action with the compelling opening two-parter, "Prometheus." In this, David Banner is affected by the radiation of meteor that has crashed to Earth and, subsequently, becomes trapped in mid-transformation. Suspected as being some unknown alien creature associated the meteor, he is captured by the military for observation at a secret research facility. While this may sound trite, it's an effective adventure in the well-established vein that made the show a ratings winner. But the high points of the season come within the episodes that dig deeper into Banner's psyche and also explore the Hulk as something much more than a thundering beast. "The First" is another two-part journey into the origin of the hulk-state as Banner encounters an aging man who had unlocked the bestial powers some three decades prior. "King of the Beach" is noteworthy in that it features Hulk actor Lou Ferrigno in a non-Hulk speaking role. And, "The Harder They Fall" explores Banner's frustration when confronted by the loss of an ability he takes for granted every day: walking. Clearly, this season explores many deeper human desires, fears, and anxieties than had previously been attempted and it makes for a satisfying collection of episodes.
On these four discs, you'll find the following 18 hour-long episodes:
Prometheus -- Part 1
Prometheus -- Part 2
Bring Me the Head of the Hulk
Goodbye, Eddie Cain
King of the Beach
The First -- Part 1
The First -- Part 2
The Harder They Fall
Interview with the Hulk
Arriving in a hulking four-disc boxed set (complete with lenticular cover depicting the transformation of Banner to the Hulk), the fourth season of The Incredible Hulk is well supported by clean and competent transfers framed at the original 1.33:1 full frame broadcast format. Detail levels are good with few instances of edge enhancement artifacting although there is noticeable grain. Colors are well rendered and controlled in a way that prevents bleeding during playback. The source material is quite clean though you should expect to see some light evidence of dirt and damage from time to time. Audio is presented in an unspectacular yet suitable Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono soundtrack, clean and free of distortion.
Special features here are a mixed bag. As expected, this release coincides with the upcoming re-do of the theatrical Hulk film and, to that end, this boxed set includes a free ticket to a big screen showing. Additionally, there's a fluffy behind-the-scenes featurette from the new Hulk film that features actor Edward Norton. Finally returning focus on the television season at hand, Creating an Iconic Character: The Hulk features series developer Kenneth Johnson and other producers and crew members that speak about how Ferrigno was selected for the role (Arnold was busy doing Conan the Barbarian) and how the character was developed around him. Inside an Episode: "Prometheus" Photo Gallery offers a two-minute slide show of behind-the-scenes photos of the filming of the episode. Lastly, creator/producer Kenneth Johnson provides an entertaining and informative audio commentary for the season premiere two-part adventure, "Prometheus."
Although aspirations for enormous success of the new Hulk movie strive to overshadow the core content of this boxed set, the fact is the original Hulk that fascinated and charmed TV viewers two decades ago still has the power to entertain in genuine and insightful fashion.
Review content copyright © 2008 Dennis Prince; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 867 Minutes
Release Year: 1980
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Audio commentary for "Prometheus"
* "Creating an Iconic Character: The Hulk"
* Photo Gallery for "Prometheus"
* Behind-the-scenes movie featurette for 2008's The Incredible Hulk
* DVD Verdict Review - Season 1
* DVD Verdict Review - Season 3
* DVD Verdict Review - Death of the Incredible Hulk
* DVD Verdict Review - Ang Lee's Hulk