Great Debate: Lou Ferrigno Or CGI? Which Is The Better Hulk?

The Hulk is back this weekend in an attempt to deliver the kind of movie fans wanted from Ang Lee’s attempt, and didn’t get. Sure, there’s plenty of action in these new special-effects heavy Hulk incarnations, but maybe a computer generated, muscle-bound beast isn’t what we actually want? Cinema Blend’s Rafe Telsch and Josh Tyler go head to head on the subject of which is better: CGI Hulk or Lou Ferrigno Hulk?


-- Rafe Telsch

When it comes to special effects and the use of computer animation, less is more. As awesome as CG effects can be on a grand scale, there’s almost always a plasticity or rubberyness that keep them from being wholly convincing on a personal level. Especially when we’re used to seeing something in another format, CG effects don’t do the trick. We want our Godzilla to be a man in a suit, we want our Garfield to be animated, and we want our Incredible Hulk to be Lou Ferrigno.

My primary reason for wanting Ferrigno is a simple one: mass. I don’t want to see an iPod become a fifty-foot robot in Transformers, and I don’t want to see a meek scientist suddenly become an eight-foot brute in Hulk. I’m willing to suspend my disbelief to accept someone growing a little bit to become Ferrigno-sized, but to become the huge model is stretching things. I know it’s how they do it in the comic book, but previous movies have shown us some things from the comics should be changed when adapted to movies (X-Men costumes or organic webshooters anyone?).

More important is a sense of nostalgia. It’s pretty clear Louis Leterrier was trying to pay homage to the old series over Ang Lee’s horribly received Hulk movie. If you’re trying to pay tribute to the show, than use the show as your basis, not a special effect model that looks quite similar to the last picture. Ferrigno is just as capable, if not more so, at portraying a range of Hulk emotions. From “Hulk smash” to “Hulk confused,” Ferrigno’s played them all before, so why not use the proven fan favorite instead of a CG monstrosity reminiscent of the character’s weakest moment?

Even the filmmakers behind The Incredible Hulk agree with us about Ferrigno’s value to some degree. After all, Ferrigno provides the voice of the character in the new movie. If the heart of the beast is already being played by the actor, why not let him have some green body paint and take over completely?


-- Josh Tyler

I can’t believe this is even a debate. Granted, we’re all sick to death of CGI overuse and granted, even though they’ve done their best the computer generated Hulk still doesn’t look realistic. But if my only other option is a diminutive deaf body builder who has been stripped naked and then caked with a thousand coats of green spray paint, then give me those crummy computer generated images. Can’t we get a Muppet or something? That’s it, I’d like to go with none of the above and choose the Hulk Muppet.

Unfortunately the terms of this debate preclude me from selecting the giant, Styrofoam superhero with Frank Oz’s hand up his ass, so bring on the CGI. Forget for a moment the question of which looks more realistic, and just think of all the things you can do with a CGI Hulk that they could never do with a Lou Ferrigno Hulk. Most of the action scenes on the old TV show boiled down to Lou Ferrigno busting through an obviously fake wall. That was what passed for action with green Lou Ferrigno. CGI Hulk on the other hand is throwing freakin tanks at helicopters and using police cars as boxing gloves. Lou Ferrigno is awesome and all, but I’m pretty sure he can’t do that.

Spray painted actors stopped being cool after that guy playing the Tin Man had an allergic reaction to his silver paint. How many more times can they paint Lou Ferrigno green before he gets cancer and ends up dead? Yeah, everyone loves him because they have these awesome memories of the TV show. So keep loving those memories, and let the guy live out the rest of his life without the risk of paint-induced heart-attack. I’m sure he’s much happier simply sitting around signing autographs. Besides, those awesome memories you have of the show are just that… memories. They’re best left there, because by modern standards the Hulk TV show is crap. It wouldn’t work, and you’d hate it. You know you would. Leave CGI Hulk alone, he’s your best bet to see things smashed. Nostalgia or not, you don’t really want to go back to Lou Ferrigno and his balsa wood sets.

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