The Incredible Hulk (2008) – Craig Armstrong

I was fully prepared to listen to Craig Armstrong’s score to the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk and give it a bad review, but things didn’t go according to plan. When I first acquired this soundtrack about a month or so ago, I was pretty unimpressed, listening to it just for the sake of listening to it. Nothing stood out to me, nothing was terribly memorable; it was just pretty lackluster, in my opinion. However, once again, listening to it from the perspective of someone about to write a review on it completely changed my opinion.

First, let me say this: as a whole, this score IS pretty forgettable. But it’s not because it’s a forgettable score, if that makes sense. It’s because there’s not a catchy main theme that stands out. Right now, at this very moment, I could sing to you the theme songs for Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers, but I wouldn’t be able to sing you a single bit of music from The Incredible Hulk, despite the fact that the main theme for the film is heard throughout the score. It’s a shame, really, that the main theme isn’t something iconic or catchy because it’s darned good.

The Incredible Hulk’s score is full of emotion, exploring the inner conflict of Bruce/The Hulk in tracks like “Bruce Can’t Stay” and “I Can’t”, as well as the relationships between various characters in the film. These tracks are rather helpfully given titles that identify the people: “Ross and Blonsky”, “Hulk and Betty”, and “Bruce and Betty”. This score is also filled with action, from the incredibly exciting “Favela Escape” to “Abomination Alley” to “Harlem Brawl”.

Where Armstrong fails is in composing a theme that, like the character, would be instantly recognizable to everyone who heard it. He sacrifices memorability for content, which is of higher quality than the film itself. As I said, it’s a shame, but it’s also a blessing. I’d personally prefer an overall awesome score with a non-memorable melody than an awful score with an awesome theme. What are my favorite tracks, you ask? “Favela Escape”, “Bruce Can’t Stay”, “Bruce Must Do It”, “Are They Dead?”, and “Hulk Smash” stand out to me as particularly awesome.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)

Disc 1

  1. “The Arctic” (2:47)
  2. “Main Title” (2:39)
  3. “Rocinha Favela” (3:11)
  4. “A Drop of Blood” (1:35)
  5. “The Flower” (2:49)
  6. “Ross’ Team” (1:33)
  7. “Mr. Blue” (1:03)
  8. “Favela Escape” (3:35)
  9. “It Was Banner” (1:32)
  10. “That Is the Target” (5:34)
  11. “Bruce Goes Home” (1:25)
  12. “Ross and Blonsky” (3:15)
  13. “Return to Culver University” (2:39)
  14. “The Lab” (1:17)
  15. “Reunion” (3:37)
  16. “The Data/The Vial” (1:20)
  17. “They’re Here” (3:07)
  18. “Give Him Everything You’ve Got” (6:08)
  19. “Bruce Can’t Stay” (1:54)
  20. “First Injection” (1:03)
  21. “Is It Safe?” (1:07)
  22. “Hulk Theme” (3:59)

Disc 2

  1. “Saved from the Flames” (0:53)
  2. “Grotto” (2:53)
  3. “Arrival at the Motel” (1:48)
  4. “I Can’t” (2:15)
  5. “Abomination Alley” (3:56)
  6. “Bruce Found” (2:52)
  7. “Bruce Looks for the Data”(1:05)
  8. “NYC Cab Ride” (1:17)
  9. “The Mirror” (1:17)
  10. “Sterns’ Lab” (4:17)
  11. “Bruce Darted” (3:00)
  12. “I Want It, I Need It” (1:36)
  13. “Blonsky Transforms” (1:16)
  14. “Bruce Must Do It” (2:11)
  15. “Harlem Brawl” (3:51)
  16. “Are They Dead?” (2:40)
  17. “Hulk Smash” (2:25)
  18. “Hulk and Betty” (1:50)
  19. “A Tear” (1:01)
  20. “Who’s We?” (0:56)
  21. “The Necklace” (1:44)
  22. “Bruce and Betty” (5:06)
  23. “Hulk Theme (End Credits)” (3:59)

Total Length: app. 112 min.

Amazon Album Link

-Chad

Notes: This album is not available on iTunes, so I have provided the link to the album on Amazon.com above. Also, I own the 2-disc version of this album. For a condensed version available for mp3 download, click here.

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3 responses to “The Incredible Hulk (2008) – Craig Armstrong

  • the Ink Slinger

    Unfortunately, I only have the condensed version of this album; that said, it’s still one I greatly enjoy listening to. Excellent review – glad to find someone else who appreciates this score as much as I do. 🙂

  • Elisa Nuckle

    Interesting. Honestly I liked the music from that movie a lot, and I actually like the movie a lot too (I’m a sucker for superhero movies in general), so I might have to grab this soundtrack.

    • chadadada

      I wasn’t a huge fan of this film, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it at least a little bit. It just could have been a lot better. I’m glad that the soundtrack is pretty good.

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