There are two complaints that film snobs always have:
- The source material was infinitely better.
- Direct to video films always suck.
Lionsgate and Marvel refute these claims in the 2010 direct to video release Planet Hulk, which adapts Greg Pak’s epic story of Hulk’s new life on the planet Sakaar.
The plot is fairly simple and you don’t need any current comics knowledge go follow. Hulk has been launched into space by the other heroes, as they’ve had it with him not being able to control his anger and being a huge problem (I would’ve said major pain, but I wanted this post to be free of any Damon Wayans references). Unfortunately for Hulk, instead of taking him to the happy planet where he could spend the rest of his life, he landed on the war-torn, wasteland of a rock called Sakaar.
Hulk gets imprisoned by the planet’s evil dictator the Red King and forced to fight in an arena, something straight out of Gladiator. By leading his new group of warbound gladiators in a rebellion, he finds himself fulfilling the an old Sakaaran prophecy of a “worldbreaker” coming to unify the population and start a new golden age.
There is more to the story, but I think I’m going to save that for a piece on the original comics. I will say that this is a very straight up adaptation of Pak’s story, save for Beta Ray Bill being substituting for Silver Surfer as a captive in the Red King’s coliseum. It turns out that this wasn’t as much of an editorial decision as a legal one, as the Surfer’s animation rights were held by someone else.
Throughout the film, there’s a bunch of cameo appearances by Marvel’s cosmic characters in the coliseum, including Gamora, Adam Warlock and Star-Lord. It was a nice nod to super fans.
I really enjoyed Planet Hulk. The visuals were great, and the animation was smooth. This is definitely recommended. Get it from your Red Box or local library today.