Director: Michael Gondry
Writers: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
(Based on the radio series created by George W. Trendle)
I look at the credits for this movie and it just makes a fairly average and mediocre movie even more disappointing. I am a fan of all involved. The Internet let out a collective eye roll with Rogen was cast in the lead role but I never had an issues with it. Rogen & Goldberg have proven themselves to be strong comedy writers and with Pineapple Express showed they also know how to balance comedy with action. Gondry is one of the most original and unique Directors working. I don’t think he has made anything nearly as wonderful as Eternal Sunshine but one thing he can’t be accused of is being boring.
And there there is The Green Hornet, a 120 million dollar big budget 3D superhero adaptation. This could have been, it SHOULD have been, something unique and special but instead it is the least interesting thing all of these people have done. In my mind why hire these people to make this movie to only neuter them and have them turn in something just normal. I see the touches here and there but for the most part it is a huge missed opportunity for reinvention and excitement in a genre that has gotten almost totally played out in the last decade or so. From interviews it seems that the movie has gone through so many variations over the years that the studio opted to go for the most vanilla version possible as to not offend anyone and to try and include everyone. There isn’t a strong sense of direction with this and that seems to be the killer.
First off the 3D is totally useless and makes the movie look terrible. This isn’t anything new. I have seen maybe 8-10 movies in 3D and have no once thought it enhanced anything except for the box office gross. The glass are uncomfortable, there is constant ghosting of images, and the biggest crime of all is that it significantly dims the picture. The Green Hornet was not shot for 3D but post converted afterwards. I really can’t see why. For an action/comedy it is pretty light on the action I felt. I would say that there aren’t many scenes that take advantage of the 3D but I would be lying if I said I ever really noticed a positive difference with the 3D. I am never wowed or see quality in the way that I see the 3D quality in a Disney World theme park show. Whatever technology they are currently using it must be in its infancy and maybe it will get better but for now I am going to save my $4 and not see anymore 3D movies in the theatre.
The story is simple: Britt Reid (Rogen) is the son of a successful newspaper man. Britt is a spoiled manchild brat. But when his Father is murdered he realizes he needs to something more with his life. That something is to team up with his Father’s assistant Kato (Chou) to fight random criminals. Standard crime fighter set up. There is a villain played by Christoph Waltz with some weird motives involving wanting to be famous but it feels like a joke that got cut to the bone once they realized it wasn’t very funny. Cameron Diaz is in the film but only for about 20 minutes just so that they can say there is a woman in the movie. She adds absolutely nothing to the movie and anything she says of importance could’ve been given to the Edward James Olmos role and nothing would have been missed.
The only real point of enjoyment for me came from Rogen. I am a fan and I enjoy his comedic persona. Besides making Britt more of a jerk Rogen plays his sense of humor in line with his other work and Chou is adequate as Kato. He is given two brief sequences with “Kato Vision” where he moves at normal speed while everyone else moves in slow motion. These scenes make up some of the more interesting parts of the film but it is not a very new effect but it is fun to watch.
Looking back it sounds like I hated this but I didn’t. I enjoyed it while it was happening but I just keep going back to the credits on this and just can’t help but feel disappointed and underwhelmed considering that. There are some funny scenes between Kato and Britt but overall it just seems like a scenario of an inflated budget and too many cooks in the kitchen trying to protect their investment instead of just letting the creators do what they were hired to do.