The Green Hornet

the-green-hornet

C-

The first official image from Michel Gondry’s The Green Hornet wasn’t very impressive. The most noticeable thing at the time was that wow, Seth Rogen lost a ton of weight. But what was that weird 50′s, alien, blaster-gun he’s holding in his hand? It looked like a prop off the set of Plan 9 From Outer Space. I also found it interesting that Michel Gondry was directing. A director than can either be outrageously innovative and brilliant (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) or brain-deflatingly average (Human Nature & Be Kind Rewind). Unfortunately, The Green Hornet falls into the latter category.

To be 100% honest, I am unfamiliar with any of the adapted material. I went into the theater blind which, like in the case of True Grit, can be a good thing. There weren’t any preconceived notions on how characters should behave or the story should arc weighing down my opinions. I guess this means that The Green Hornet failed on its own merit, or lack of, not because it was unfairly compared to previous works.

The story begins in a childhood flashback, a miniscule set-up intended as incentive for an older Britt Reid’s transformation. The scene lasts only a few minutes and doesn’t build the required motivation necessary in a super-hero origin story. We flash forward to the present and Britt Reid, the son of a newspaper tycoon, is partying hard, living the Paris Hilton lifestyle of riches and fame for nothing. Soon after, pops keels over from an allergic reaction to a bee sting.

Enter Kato, Britt’s father’s mechanic. After a brief get-to-know-you they imbibe to the point of flammable-breath while reminiscing the extent of the senior Reid’s dickishness. They rally around the idea that to best preserve the father’s legacy is to decapitate his honorary statue residing in the cemetery — classy guys.

During said honorarium, the duo has a brief-run with some low-budget criminals. Kato dismantles the fracas with a slow-motion blur of punches and kicks, leaving behind only a pile of groaning bodies. Afterward, reveling in success, they decide to clean-up the city by posing as super criminals themselves. The dot-connecting that takes place in Brit’s brain to arrive at such a scheme is fuzzy, at best. Kato, meanwhile, seems to just be happy to have someone to talk to.

There are some really funny moments in The Green Hornet. Screenwriters Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg pepper the script with clever one-liners and genuinely funny exchanges between Britt and Kato. But the movie can’t withstand the force of its plodding sometimes trivial story-line and eventually collapses any legs it built during the first half. At some point Cameron Diaz makes her way onto the frame, but her role is very unclear. The script doesn’t give her a lot to do. She actually goes missing for about 30 minutes, and reappears before the climax to shuffle in some unnecessary cards.

There aren’t very many “Gondry moments” in this film either. No quirky visual treats, just straight forward action shots and run of the mill explosions. While the action is well choreographed, the scenes where Kato slows down time suffer from the clichéd slo-mo camera techniques we’ve seen too much of already in movies like Sherlock Holmes, 300, Snatch, et. al. Even though the shots feel more appropriate here than in any movie before it.

The acting by Christoph Waltz as Chudnofsky, is… fine bordering on… fine. Clearly, he is a super-talented actor, but the part is just not a great villain role. In the end he ends up suffering, as everyone does, from what ends up being a sporadic script. I’ll be anxious to hear what fans of the comic, radio series and tv series have to say, because this Green Hornet noob was left wanting better.

tags: jay chou, michel gondry, seth rogen, The Green Hornet

  • Anonymous

    I saw this today. You were far kinder to it than I would have been. For me it’s an easy F; I hated this movie. I thought it was at odds with itself: one part slapstick superhero comedy, one part father/son drama, two parts unwatchable garbage. And, yeah, good point about Cameron Diaz; her role is really odd.

  • http://nerdynothings.com Noah Nickels

    I did laugh at most of the jokes in the beginning, which salvaged the grade. But just barely, it seemed like the more i looked at my notes, and the more i rehashed it in my head, the lower the grade become.

  • Finalfantasyhead

    I am still going to see it.

  • http://nerdynothings.com Noah Nickels

    Cool, let us know what you think.

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