The Green Hornet (2011) is now showing at the New Capitol Cinemas. It is a blackmobile that sputters and collapses, a real dud.
It is the antithesis of all the superhero movies you have ever seen, from Batman and Robin, through to Superman and Spiderman. These comic-book heroes and their clones like Bionic Woman, Supergirl and Wonderwoman, all fought crime and after many vicissitudes always came out on top. Now in the age of 3-D and smelly films we have the generation of dirty socks super failures in the form of parodies. Unfortunately this 21st Century version of The Green Hornet will not be the last - though it probably should be as a pseudo comedy.
Because it is a film built on many predecessors it should have come up with a new title, like 'The Resurrection of the Green Hornet'.
The Green Hornet was launched on a major national radio network in the United States of America (US) in 1936 and ran weekly as a radio-serial through 1952. The first movie, The Green Hornet, was released in 1940, followed by its sequel, The Green Hornet Strikes Again in 1941. The TV series ran in 1966 and 1967 and is famous because Bruce Lee played Kato, Britt's cool Japanese assistant. There have been at least six films made before this one over the years called The Green Hornet. The Green Hornet used gas to knock out his opponents. So expect a run on gasmasks.
In the latest version Seth Rogen gives us a badass/smartass/fatass take on our superhero. It is meant to be a comedy, but not everyone will find it entertaining, unless you like his take on what he thinks is humour (and his director and script writers). Rogen did better in The 40-Year-Old Virgin in 2005 (Mmegi 6 January 2006) and Knocked Up (Mmegi 12 October 2007). He also appeared in Pineapple Express (2008), another chase and drug laced fantasy. Rogen has also provided his voice to a variety of animated films, most notably Kung Fu Panda (Mmegi 15th of August 2008) where he was Mantis.
In the new The Green Hornet, Kato (Jay Chou, a Taiwanese pop star playing the Japanese chauffeur) this time around runs the show because he has the wit and the brains and the know-how. Britt Reid/The Green Hornet (acted by Seth Rogen) is essentially his bumbling sidekick. To grace the film with a little pulchritude there is Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz), who is hired to be Britt's secretary. There are also Daily Sentinel press covering all the events, including some women journalists (Jill Ramiez and Sarah Skeeters). So what does it mean when Britt says, "Girls are such a bore"?
The team of Kato and Britt modifies a Chrysler Imperial to look like a Lincoln Town car, but is it too up to the challenges ahead?
Because the incredible farcical duo must be fighting some form of evil, we have them up against the super villain Benjamin Chudnofsky a.k.a Bloodnosky (Christoph Waltz). In the process they also free the megalopolis of LA of Scanlon, a crooked District Attorney (David Harbour).
Britt is the son of James Reid (Tom Wilkinson). For obvious reason this is NOT a film about "like father, like son".
Britt just does not have what it takes anywhere - he is one big faux pas. He harbours anger against his father for an act of mutilation of a toy when he was a boy (played by Joshua Chandler Erenberg) that is meant to justify his later behaviour.
There is a scene of a fistfight in the Reid mansion that transcends the rest of the superhero antics. The director and scriptwriter, Michael Gondry, who made The Science of Sleep (2006) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) (Mmegi 28 October 2005) can make fine films, but seems to have succumbed now to making a pseudo-comic fantasy with Rogen - who also helped write the script. It was Gondry's Be Kind Rewind with a crazy Jack Black that must have tipped him in this direction (Mmegi 31 October 2008). Must his films now be "Sweded" versions of older films? If you have a chance to watch it in 3D stay through the end credits where the potential of this media is fully displayed.
All the action, the chases, and their consequences - well, you've seen it all before. This flick has been greeted as the "first out-and-out bore of the year" (David Denby writing in The New Yorker Magazine). Perhaps the public is now weary of costumed avengers?
In 2010 there were at least four such films, two of them total digital takeoffs, Despicable Me and Megamind, the other two involving transformations of humans into super heroes in Ironman-2 and Kick-Ass. In the whole superhero genre perhaps the Batman series has excelled and even that franchise may have reached its zenith in The Dark Knight (Mmegi, 12 August 2008). It takes more than putting on the mask to be come a super hero.
The Green Hornet is one hour and 48 minutes long. It is rated 13+. The director is Michael Gondry. The script is by Evan Goldberg and Rogen from the work of Fran Striker and George W Trendle. The radio series was created by George W Trendle. The cinematographer is John Schwartzman.
The editor is Michael Tronick and the music is by James Newton Howard with additional music composed by Ryeland Allison. The digital, visual and stunt special effects are credited to nearly a thousand people. My what it takes to make a movie these days - at least P1 billion. It was all filmed in Los Angeles and Pasadena, California.