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The Incredible Hulk: How the Legend Began (1978)

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: "The Incredible Hulk" -- Writer/director/executive producer Kenneth Johnson Rating:7.7/10 (7 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by frankasu03 on August 14th, 2012:Find all reviews by frankasu03
I first became aware of Kenneth Johnson's Commentary tracks from the "V" Mini-Series. I had no idea what a prolific career he had in the TV world from the late '70s into the '90s. From "Bionic Man" up to "Alien Nation." The "V" track was astounding, considering the 3 plus hours Johnson comments on. I was equally floored by these 2 tracks from the Hulk episodes: "Pilot" and "Married." Director Johnson has such a calm and congenial demeanor. You cannot picture this guy ever screaming or getting "angry" with his fellow crew and cast. I've listened to hundreds of voices comment on their films' and TV shows, and I would submit this guy as an all-time great commentator. There is just a steady rhytym to each track, no pauses to be had, and the level of preparation is outstanding. That, or he has a photgraphic memory. This Director seems to know the entire CV of each and everyone of his crew. He mixes technical info with really personal anecdotes involving his actors. Some, like Bill Bixby, became life-long friends. Back to these tracks; everything you wanted to know about the origins of the "Hulk" on TV is explained. Casting choices, script decisions (like why Bruce Banner became "David"), locations, and more. I recommend both tracks. Very informative, and touching as well. They will not make you "angry" 9/10
Reviewed by Jonathan E on October 24th, 2013:Find all reviews by Jonathan E
I totally agree with everything said by the previous reviewer.

Kenneth Johnson is an amazing communicator. I absolutely loved his commentary on V and the same on Hulk TV Series - Pilot & Married.

His knowledge on his productions is amazing. His stories are always fascinating and the information he divulges is never just filling.

Kenneth Johnson is one of the best DVD commentators I have ever listened to - and I have listened to a lot.
Reviewed by Planetfall on February 20th, 2014:Find all reviews by Planetfall
This is one of the best technical commentaries I have ever heard. Like a consummate professional from a forgotten era, Director Kenneth Johnson takes this commentary track (and your time) VERY seriously. As Frank above mentioned, the preparation and thoroughness is truly outstanding. Johnson recounts in detail lens choices, set design cheats, and battles with Marvel over wanting to make the Hulk red. It is clear he loves the craft of filmmaking, and he expresses credited adoration for cast and crew alike, from the gaffer to the score composer. This is film school in a box. A+
Reviewed by grimjack on January 20th, 2020:Find all reviews by grimjack
This is a 100% A+ excellent commentary, on par with the best films. By the end of the first 20 minutes, I was comfortable calling this a master class in film making. In this 95 minute pilot episode, which Kenneth Johnson regularly refers to as a movie, he rapid fire points out his clever use of camera movements, framing, lighting, color as a theme, and when to use closeups and when not to.

He may have worked in TV, but this is a genuine filmmaker. There are lots of tricky shots, where he shoots people through windows, pans around tv monitors to show a closeup of their face while they see them act. He even points out little directing bits where he told an actor to lean to the side at just the right moment to clear an actor in the background.

He explains some poignant moments that my 9 year old self did not notice like how the woman tells Hulk that he loves him, but Banner never heard it or knew it. And how I never realized that the reporter chasing him really caused the death, and start of the pursued Hulk.

There are even some good stories, like how right before the big explosion, the camera became unplugged, and he got it working and rolling again less than 30 seconds before the shot that was in the opening would never have made it. And he points out one shot where Richard Kiel (Jaws from the Bond films) is still in the pilot as he was the original Hulk due to being a foot taller than Feringo.

Hard to believe he recorded this 25 years after he made it.
Commentary 2: "Married" -- Writer/director/executive producer Kenneth Johnson Rating:7.4/10 (5 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by frankasu03 on August 14th, 2012:Find all reviews by frankasu03
The first track I would recommend for "Hulk" fans. This second track is really for "Bill Bixby" fans. Director Kenneth Johnson became life-long friends with "Bix" (as he calls him) during their 5 years of working on the "Hulk" series. Johnson recalls the real life struggles wiuth anger and tragedy in gut-wrenching detail that Bixby dealt with. It really informed his character of "David Banner," according to the director. Love the locations in this episode, where you find nice substitutes for the island of Hawaii, like Malibu and Pasadena. Some neat "old fashioned" special effects information, and just how difficult that green makeup could be in 120 degree desert temperature. Another Great commentary track.