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The UnPopular Opinion: The Green Hornet

06.30.2016

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

****SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have amassed quite the fanbase over the years. As writers (PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, SUPERBAD, THE WATCH) and directors (THIS IS THE END, THE INTERVIEW, AMC's Preacher), the duo have trademarked a particular brand of comedy that balances on the edge of gross and funny. But, each of those projects carries with it the theme of maturity and becoming an adult, something that Goldberg and Rogen have done themselves since making it in Hollywood. Like any wunderkinds, these two were given the chance to make a big budget studio movie in THE GREEN HORNET that bombed with fans and critics. The 2011 Michel Gondry film grossed $227 million worldwide on a $120 million budget but drew ire in written reviews. The blending of Rogen's stoner comedy with Gondry's gonzo visual style should have made for a blockbuster but instead ended up in a forgettable vehicle that deserves to be rewatched. THE GREEN HORNET may be one of the most fun superhero movies of the last twenty years.

Based on the pulp fiction character from radio and film serials, The Green Hornet was licensed to DC Comics who partnered the powerless crime fighter Britt Reid and his manservant/martial arts expert sidekick with the 1966 Batman television series. Starring Bruce Lee, the original Green Hornet was a campy and fun series. In the following four decades, everyone tried to make a new version of the character for the big screen and Sony landed on the bright idea to put Rogen and Goldberg on it. Rogen has since lambasted the studio experience as a nightmare due to the involvement from executives over the $100 million budget, but it ultimately works better than anyone has given it credit for. THE GREEN HORNET follows the bromance format that Rogen and Goldberg are best known for while injecting some psychotropic visuals into the mix thanks to Gondry's flair for the surreal. The result is a wholly unique experience that is unlike many comic book films out there but has since been emulated by ANT-MAN and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

The UnPopular Opinion, The Green Hornet, Drama, Comic Book, Action, Seth Rogen, Cameron Diaz

What allows THE GREEN HORNET to work is the fact that it is funny. Why you would expect a Seth Rogen film to be serious should be a question for anyone looking for a dramatic superhero movie. In fact, it is very difficult to pull of a balance of comedy and action while also holding true to comic book archetypes, something those aforementioned Marvel films managed to do. THE GREEN HORNET puts the focus squarely on Britt Reid learning to become a hero after the death of his father, the always great Tom Wilkinson. Seeing this buffoonish and entitled party boy waste his life drinking and smoking only to discover his true calling after a personal tragedy gives the film a somewhat cliche origin but allows for there to be fun in trying to be a hero. Add to that the always great Christoph Waltz as the villain, Benjamin Chudnofsky, and Cameron Diaz as the love interest Lenore Case. Both Waltz and Diaz up the talent in the cast, but this film truly balances on the chemistry between Rogen and Jay Chou as Kato.

But, THE GREEN HORNET is never quite a Rogen/Goldberg movie or a Michel Gondry film. Gondry's stamp comes through throughout the film but he only comes close to his full potential in the final act. Even restrained, Gondry is a unique filmmaker whose stamp sets THE GREEN HORNET apart from any other comic book film. In fact, I would venture to say that this version of the story could not have been made by any other director. The benefit of a surrealist like Gondry is that sees the comedy within dramatic happenings which evokes the funny in what Rogen and Goldberg had conceived. Gondry uses slow-motion to great effect along with a cool stretching of the scene during some of the fight sequences that is so cool you just have to see it. All together, THE GREEN HORNET works because it takes a lighter approach to a story reminiscent of both BATMAN and IRON MAN. The everyman aspect of what these characters do puts this film on par with ANT-MAN and for good reason.

The UnPopular Opinion, The Green Hornet, Drama, Comic Book, Action, Seth Rogen, Cameron Diaz

If there are shortcomings to this movie, they stink of studio interference. The plot seems to be a bit all over the place but when Rogen and Chou are allowed to cut loose and banter or kick some villain ass, you can see the strength in the screenplay and direction by Gondry. The pacing may be a bit off and some of the plot development does seem wedged in, but these are forgivable oversights in the grand scheme of things. What THE GREEN HORNET does not need is a film analysis. This is not a movie with subtext or allergorical references to cultural or political events. Yes, the story involving the illicit drug trade is timely and relevant, but this is not a movie designed to be representative of our culture but instead one that revels in being a big budget action movie. THE GREEN HORNET is an experiment for everyone involved behind the scenes and it is one that works.

The fault may be in trying to categorize this movie as a remake or a comic book movie. While THE GREEN HORNET does have it's roots in a pre-existing property, the character was never going to be a member of any Cinematic Universe or cross paths with Batman or Superman. This is a standalone franchise that doesn't need to be more than it is. This is a case study in making a popcorn movie. Rogen could have gone crazy with the material and cast his band of buddies in every role including James Franco as the villain, Jay Baruchel as Lenore Case, and any number of idiotic other choices. But Rogen's restraint here shows respect for the source material while still wanting to make the kind of movie he and his buddies would laugh at and enjoy, which is exactly what they have accomplished here.

The UnPopular Opinion, The Green Hornet, Drama, Comic Book, Action, Seth Rogen, Cameron Diaz

If you get tired of the typical Marvel and DC fare and want something with a bit more heroics than your typical comedy, give THE GREEN HORNET another shot. In a lot of ways, this movie shares more in common with Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN and Tim Burton's BATMAN. The camp factor is low, but there is a sense of fun and joviality throughout the film. Everyone involved looks like they enjoyed making this story come to life while managing to take the proceedings just seriously enough so that the viewer doesn't roll their eyes at the events unfolding on screen. While I wouldn't quite call this a family friendly film, it does fully earn the PG-13 rating while still managing to be a decent entry level film for teenagers exploring the fringes of comic book movies. Overall, THE GREEN HORNET is a really fun flick that doesn't slow down from beginning to end. The frenetic and off the wall antics should be welcome for any Seth Rogen fan looking for one of his lesser known movies.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to alexmaidy@joblo.com, spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!

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Source: JoBlo.com

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12:02PM on 07/01/2016

Neither

The Green Hornet in its original inception was never "campy" or "comical" Not in the serials, or in early comics form. In fact it was not campy or comical in its 1966 inception with Bruce Lee and Van Williams. So why Rogan thought it was a good idea to make it "funny" is beyond what the character was designed to be is beyond those who know the character.
Keep in mind THE GREEN HORNET is not a comic book character per say. It started in Radio and moved to movie serials. He has no super
The Green Hornet in its original inception was never "campy" or "comical" Not in the serials, or in early comics form. In fact it was not campy or comical in its 1966 inception with Bruce Lee and Van Williams. So why Rogan thought it was a good idea to make it "funny" is beyond what the character was designed to be is beyond those who know the character.
Keep in mind THE GREEN HORNET is not a comic book character per say. It started in Radio and moved to movie serials. He has no super powers and is at best a masked crime fighter. His villains are not super either. Rogan forgot all of this and proceeded with HIS version which was totally wrong with the origin and focus of the green hornet which is why it flopped. Not to mention it flopped because he was in it. The effects are poor and the acting is stiff and strained. The movie did poorly because it simply was a poor effort and the public knew it that is why it just barely broke even. The movie going public knew it was crap that is why they did not like it. Give the fans some credit.
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7:42AM on 07/01/2016
This was a fun movie, it's too bad it wasn't popular enough for a sequel
This was a fun movie, it's too bad it wasn't popular enough for a sequel
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11:59PM on 06/30/2016
I don't know why Jay Chou didn't get more Hollywood work after this movie. While it would have been interesting to get Stephen Chow as Kato the way Rogen intended, Jay was surprisingly pretty good in the role. His scenes worked well with Rogen and he totally kicked ass in the action scenes. As for the movie itself, while surely not the best possible adaptation of the source material, it's a really fun movie on its own right.
I don't know why Jay Chou didn't get more Hollywood work after this movie. While it would have been interesting to get Stephen Chow as Kato the way Rogen intended, Jay was surprisingly pretty good in the role. His scenes worked well with Rogen and he totally kicked ass in the action scenes. As for the movie itself, while surely not the best possible adaptation of the source material, it's a really fun movie on its own right.
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6:54PM on 06/30/2016

Second Chances

I've only seen this film once, and I remember not caring for it. I also remember being bummed that Kevin Smith's idea for the story was scrapped. However, I might give this movie another chance.
I've only seen this film once, and I remember not caring for it. I also remember being bummed that Kevin Smith's idea for the story was scrapped. However, I might give this movie another chance.
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4:47PM on 06/30/2016
I've always liked this flick. It's weird, fun and unique. I read an article online a year or so ago that said the movie was only about 2 million dollars short of an an American box office take from getting a sequel. Bummer. I know people hate this movie, but I enjoyed it.
I've always liked this flick. It's weird, fun and unique. I read an article online a year or so ago that said the movie was only about 2 million dollars short of an an American box office take from getting a sequel. Bummer. I know people hate this movie, but I enjoyed it.
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2:38PM on 06/30/2016

It Sucked Big Time

Seth Rogen plays the same stupid person in everything he does; this film was no exception. It was never played for laughs previously, but Hollywood doesn't learn from all the other historic properties they ruined this way. They ruined any chance of turning The Green Hornet into a franchise and made a mockery of the radio serials, original movie serials and the '60s TV series. I had been hoping for a really good action/suspense movie to be made and got this drek. I knew it was doomed to
Seth Rogen plays the same stupid person in everything he does; this film was no exception. It was never played for laughs previously, but Hollywood doesn't learn from all the other historic properties they ruined this way. They ruined any chance of turning The Green Hornet into a franchise and made a mockery of the radio serials, original movie serials and the '60s TV series. I had been hoping for a really good action/suspense movie to be made and got this drek. I knew it was doomed to failure as soon as Seth Rogen's name popped up.
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2:06PM on 06/30/2016

This Movie Sucks

Batman V Superman is better.
Batman V Superman is better.
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1:49PM on 06/30/2016
"The everyman aspect of what these characters do puts this film on par with ANT-MAN and for good reason."

IMO Seth Rogen doesn't play the "everyman" and i have a hard time buying that. Heck, even Zach Galifianakis in the Hangover movies is far superior & more relateble than him. Anyways, as the article stated the movie is all over the place and the chemistry between Rogen & Chou is clearly forced like they were in different movies and YES that includes Christoph Waltz who looked completely
"The everyman aspect of what these characters do puts this film on par with ANT-MAN and for good reason."

IMO Seth Rogen doesn't play the "everyman" and i have a hard time buying that. Heck, even Zach Galifianakis in the Hangover movies is far superior & more relateble than him. Anyways, as the article stated the movie is all over the place and the chemistry between Rogen & Chou is clearly forced like they were in different movies and YES that includes Christoph Waltz who looked completely lost and if Cameron Diaz was edited out, the plot structure wouldn't change by much. On par with Ant-Man? Seriously?? Off course not every comic book movie needs to crossover with [Insert: Marvel/DC character] as part of a cinematic universe, think MIB, Hellboy, SinCity, etc. Green Hornet just wasted a perfect opportunity of 'what could have been'.

Perhaps the only funny thing i enjoyed was Edward Furlong's brief appearance.
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1:00PM on 06/30/2016

Always dug this

The fight between he and Kato alone is worth the price of admission one of the best bro throw downs ever... and the shifting with the love interest as well... it is just a plain fun and awesome comic flick... and I am sure in todays comic landscape it would be much more appreciated (in the wake of Guardians) than it was initially.
The fight between he and Kato alone is worth the price of admission one of the best bro throw downs ever... and the shifting with the love interest as well... it is just a plain fun and awesome comic flick... and I am sure in todays comic landscape it would be much more appreciated (in the wake of Guardians) than it was initially.
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12:58PM on 06/30/2016

5/10

It didn't even have an interesting super-hero. I won't start with the debate about heroes not being super-heroes without super-powers. But this time, the sidekick was better than the super-hero! Although I didn't know anything about the TV and radio series this was based on, it was still pretty obvious that it was wrong to pick Rogen as the star, and him and Evan Goldberg as the script writers. I like them just like anyone, but I knew that their comedy style was different. Maybe I would've been
It didn't even have an interesting super-hero. I won't start with the debate about heroes not being super-heroes without super-powers. But this time, the sidekick was better than the super-hero! Although I didn't know anything about the TV and radio series this was based on, it was still pretty obvious that it was wrong to pick Rogen as the star, and him and Evan Goldberg as the script writers. I like them just like anyone, but I knew that their comedy style was different. Maybe I would've been OK with that as long as they had made me laugh, but the movie was barely funny. If they had made another of their movies with these jokes it would've been the same. Even though Rogen played the same character as usual, he did it in a lazy and boring way, and I didn't care what happened to him. Wait, I'm wrong. He didn't play the lovable slacker from KNOCKED UP, he played the jerk slacker from OBSERVE & REPORT. The rest of the cast was as lousy as he was. Chou seemed like he was starting acting school, Christoph Waltz was over-the-top, and Cameron Diaz didn't seem to know why she was even here.

[Spoilers ahead]

It may also seem like Michel Gondry was a wrong choice to direct, but he wasn't. Not because the montages highlight that he used to direct music videos, but because a surreal approach helps action sequences to stay fresh. In fact, the first fight scene was a marvel to look at. And that made the rest of the movie all the more disappointing since that style was barely seen again. In fact, the fight between BRITT and KATO was absolutely lifeless. As super-hero movies have become darker and darker, we don't see much happy endings anymore. Specially when the villains win. This movie tries that too, which is odd since this wasn't meant to be serious. Either way, instead of going deeper into what really meant to kill SCANLON without proof of what he did, they showed it as simply getting rid of the current villain, ready to go after the next one. And THE GREEN HORNET & KATO had a bunch of reasons to fix the statue of JAMES REID, but we're left wondering because they thought it was a good idea to left it open to interpretation. I'm afraid it came off as a plot hole.
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11:10PM on 06/30/2016
Hey vits, I'm not too familiar with the show either (wasn't Bruce Lee in it?), but I think the sidekick being the way better hero than the main character is the point. Or it's the twist to make it fresh. Instead of all the protégés super heroes have, Rogen has the resources to make the crime fighting equipment and stuff, and an ego that he is a badass, but in reality the sidekick is the badass and he doesn't need the fame/attention. It also allows this to be a buddy comedy of sorts. I
Hey vits, I'm not too familiar with the show either (wasn't Bruce Lee in it?), but I think the sidekick being the way better hero than the main character is the point. Or it's the twist to make it fresh. Instead of all the protégés super heroes have, Rogen has the resources to make the crime fighting equipment and stuff, and an ego that he is a badass, but in reality the sidekick is the badass and he doesn't need the fame/attention. It also allows this to be a buddy comedy of sorts. I guess it didn't work for u, but the decision was deliberate. It's how they made this not a carbon copy of the batman robin dynamic
+0
12:32PM on 06/30/2016

Never understood the hate

I really really enjoyed this movie! It's so fun and the action is really good, I especially love the fight scene between Rogen and Chou.
I really really enjoyed this movie! It's so fun and the action is really good, I especially love the fight scene between Rogen and Chou.
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10:59AM on 06/30/2016
I really enjoyed this movie and don't think it deserved the bad rep it got. I thought it was funny and had great action and Rogen and Chou had great chemistry. I remember not liking Waltz as the villain all that much, thought he was over the top and boring. But it was very enjoyable and deserved a better fate.
I really enjoyed this movie and don't think it deserved the bad rep it got. I thought it was funny and had great action and Rogen and Chou had great chemistry. I remember not liking Waltz as the villain all that much, thought he was over the top and boring. But it was very enjoyable and deserved a better fate.
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10:50AM on 06/30/2016
I enjoyed the movie very much. It's not as bad as most people think. The third act is pretty fun to watch.
I enjoyed the movie very much. It's not as bad as most people think. The third act is pretty fun to watch.
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