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Thoughts on The Green Hornet after an early screening...

12.17.2010

Note: The version of the film screened was not the final cut and a formal review will be posted closer to the film's official release date.

THE GREEN HORNET opens with a superhero flying in slow motion through the sky. The sun glows orange behind him while his cape flaps in the breeze and a triumphant score swells. It could be a moment right out of any number of superhero movies but it's not: it's just a kid playing with his toy. It's chubby, preteen Britt Reid holding a Superman-esque figure out the window of limousine as he returns home from school. Young Britt is brought to his father, James Reid (Tom Wilkinson), in his office at "The Sentinel," a newspaper he owns. Britt was sent home from school (again) for getting into a fight and his father is furious. Scolding him for being a failure, the elder Reid rips the Superman doll out of his hand, yanks off the head and throws it in the garbage while little Britt chokes back the tears on his couch.

The audience laughs. And here we have the first of many problems with THE GREEN HORNET.

It's a scene that's played fairly straight and is setting up motivations for our hero but the audience isn't sure how to react. Writer/star Seth Rogen and his partner Evan Goldberg (who also produced the film) have crafted a script that is never quite sure when to be funny or when to be serious and fails at both.

To be sure, THE GREEN HORNET is much better than the buzz surrounding the film, which indicated it could be a JONAH HEX style catastrophe. It's not that bad but it's not nearly as good as it could've been either. One only needs to look back a few years to Rogen and Goldberg's PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, a film that so seamlessly blends comedy and action, it was one of the best examples of each genre at theaters that year.

Rogen and his HORNET sidekick, Taiwanese celebrity Jay Chou, don't have nearly the chemistry the former shared with James Franco in PINEAPPLE and as a result a large chunk of the comedy falls flat. Chou is more than capable at handling the action scenes he's presented with as Reid's swift-kicking Kato but he's less adept at line readings and comedic timing. Without a capable straight man, Rogen is left to his own comedic devices to mixed results. There are a few chuckles throughout but too often we're expected to laugh at Rogen making creative use of curse words instead of, you know, actual jokes.

Perhaps the lack of comedy could've been excused if GREEN HORNET worked as an action film but the sequences never click. Gondry is known for his visual wizadry but framing action is not his strong suit. He tried to bring some panache to those sequences and you've seen the way the so-called Kato-vision is used in the trailers. Literally. If you're looking to see more Kato-vision in the film, prepare to be sorely disappointed. It's one of the only flourishes Michel Gondry brings to the film and it's completely underused. (The only other real Gondryism is a dizzyingly beautiful continuous take/split-screen sequence.)

The film was not presented in 3D but beyond the aforementioned brief Kato-vision sequences, I have no idea what producers thought would benefit from the added dimension (besides box-office receipts). The end credits were animated with 3D in mind but if the end of the movie is the highlight of your 3D, you're in trouble.

Rogen and Goldberg had the opportunity to reinvent the genre with a comedic take on the superhero tropes but instead fell victim to some of those same cliches and sadly feels like a couple of kids just playing with their toys.

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

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9:10PM on 12/19/2010
Seeing this tomorrow. Kind of disappointed with the review, but still hoping for at least a little
Seeing this tomorrow. Kind of disappointed with the review, but still hoping for at least a little
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5:40PM on 12/19/2010
I think this movie is trying really hard to be the next Rush Hour, and taking 2 different main character cast types and trying to make them gell. So they can make 2 extra movies down the road. I think this movie has two thing going for it the name of the movie Green Hornet itself, and its legacy/history and thats about it. But if yogi bear can pull down 16 million over the weekend I cant judge these movies or what people will insanly go see.
I think this movie is trying really hard to be the next Rush Hour, and taking 2 different main character cast types and trying to make them gell. So they can make 2 extra movies down the road. I think this movie has two thing going for it the name of the movie Green Hornet itself, and its legacy/history and thats about it. But if yogi bear can pull down 16 million over the weekend I cant judge these movies or what people will insanly go see.
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12:24PM on 12/19/2010

Campy superhero crap

Why don't people realize that we are so far beyond a campy take on a superhero, unless it's going to be an all out comedy like Super? Sounds like they really missed the boat with this one.
Why don't people realize that we are so far beyond a campy take on a superhero, unless it's going to be an all out comedy like Super? Sounds like they really missed the boat with this one.
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10:07PM on 12/18/2010
"but the audience isn't sure how to react"

I think I'm sure... I'll go with disgust and contempt until otherwise noted. This thing is going to bomb HARD.
"but the audience isn't sure how to react"

I think I'm sure... I'll go with disgust and contempt until otherwise noted. This thing is going to bomb HARD.
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3:13PM on 12/18/2010
well, thats dissapointing. im still going to get high and give it a try
well, thats dissapointing. im still going to get high and give it a try
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3:43PM on 12/18/2010
Oh yeah. Recommend the same for Tron Legacy
Oh yeah. Recommend the same for Tron Legacy
2:24PM on 12/18/2010
Hi, I don't completely agree with the review. I got into a screening last thursday in Miami. It was packed and not in 3D. Let me just say that I thought the movie was a lot of laughs. Rogen is basically playing himself and the jokes are just what you would expect from films like the Pineapple Express and Superbad. Jay Chou was very likeable and I would love to see more of him in any role. Kato was awesome,very badass. The only gripe is that the Villain is not really menacing and his two
Hi, I don't completely agree with the review. I got into a screening last thursday in Miami. It was packed and not in 3D. Let me just say that I thought the movie was a lot of laughs. Rogen is basically playing himself and the jokes are just what you would expect from films like the Pineapple Express and Superbad. Jay Chou was very likeable and I would love to see more of him in any role. Kato was awesome,very badass. The only gripe is that the Villain is not really menacing and his two barrelled gun is kind of lame. However, there are enough on him being style retarded and expecially one where he grieves for one of his henchmen, when he is killed. There is not much scope for 3D except some action scenes and Cameron Diaz has almost no role. All in all just want to say the jokes are in there people and the bumbling GH and the ass kicking Kato make for a great team. I know I wouldn't mind a sequel, just one with a great villain.
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2:11AM on 12/18/2010
Hmmm. I thought it would be somewhat good. Still, I'll wait until the movie hits theater or dvd to check it out.
Hmmm. I thought it would be somewhat good. Still, I'll wait until the movie hits theater or dvd to check it out.
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12:52AM on 12/18/2010

Hold up!!!

Who ever thought that The Green Hornet was going to be as bad as Jonah Hex? The Green Hornet has had a tough road way before Rogen and Gondry were involved. Most of this review seems like it was written by a person prepared to hate the material. I remain optimistic as for what I have seen so far looks like a fun popcorn ride.
Who ever thought that The Green Hornet was going to be as bad as Jonah Hex? The Green Hornet has had a tough road way before Rogen and Gondry were involved. Most of this review seems like it was written by a person prepared to hate the material. I remain optimistic as for what I have seen so far looks like a fun popcorn ride.
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+4
11:40PM on 12/17/2010
Hmmm, that's too bad. I half expected this film to be good. I thought that Gondry was a strange choice as director, considering he generally does better with drama and odd humor pieces. Still, I thought his slick technical style would have helped the film, as that usually tends to make his stuff that extra little bit better. I guess I'll wait to see how it fares when it comes out and then decide to go see it or not. I tend to go see bad movies, even with critical lauding, so I might end up
Hmmm, that's too bad. I half expected this film to be good. I thought that Gondry was a strange choice as director, considering he generally does better with drama and odd humor pieces. Still, I thought his slick technical style would have helped the film, as that usually tends to make his stuff that extra little bit better. I guess I'll wait to see how it fares when it comes out and then decide to go see it or not. I tend to go see bad movies, even with critical lauding, so I might end up seeing this anyway.
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9:33PM on 12/17/2010

Wait wait...

Is this thumbs up or thumbs down? I mean we were all expecting it to suck, weren't we? Stephen Chow left the production because he couldn't work with Rogen. Nothing personal but it's Rogen's film: it's The Green Hornet not Kato Featuring The Green Hornet so they got a lesser known actor to play Kato, somebody who isn't a comedian and, guess what, he's not funny. But it sounds to me as though the movie works for what it is, a buddy picture in the vein of Rush Hour and that's how it should be
Is this thumbs up or thumbs down? I mean we were all expecting it to suck, weren't we? Stephen Chow left the production because he couldn't work with Rogen. Nothing personal but it's Rogen's film: it's The Green Hornet not Kato Featuring The Green Hornet so they got a lesser known actor to play Kato, somebody who isn't a comedian and, guess what, he's not funny. But it sounds to me as though the movie works for what it is, a buddy picture in the vein of Rush Hour and that's how it should be judged. Let's face it, the Rush Hour movies were terrible but they made a LOT of money.

Anyway, Stephen Chow was too old to play Kato. At least Jay Chou looks the part. Oh and here in Taiwan Rogen doesn't even appear on the poster: it's Chou front and center. And if that's what will get people here into theartres then it's fine by me.
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8:54PM on 12/17/2010

good

i have a feeling that people who hold movies to a high esteem, people who think most movies are bad and very few are good, will think this movie is bad. Critics, old-school fans, and people who are expecting alot will think its bad.


while people who arent expecting much, will think it's nothing special but also not a waste of a night. Thats what i'm expecting from it. i'm prepared to fight the nay-sayers and say that the movie is not all that bad. its not the greatest it couldve been but
i have a feeling that people who hold movies to a high esteem, people who think most movies are bad and very few are good, will think this movie is bad. Critics, old-school fans, and people who are expecting alot will think its bad.


while people who arent expecting much, will think it's nothing special but also not a waste of a night. Thats what i'm expecting from it. i'm prepared to fight the nay-sayers and say that the movie is not all that bad. its not the greatest it couldve been but its still pretty good.

this is just what i'm expecting from the movie when i go see it
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8:33PM on 12/17/2010
While I respect your thoughts, Mike, I still have a good feeling about this movie- I have no doubt it will underperform based on fans' reactions so far, which I think are typically narrow- minded, (look at Scott Pilgrim as an example- awesome movie, very inventive, general population can't wrap their heads around it) I am holding out hope this will be a sleeper cult fave down the road. I just get a good vibe from it- I love everything I've seen so far.
While I respect your thoughts, Mike, I still have a good feeling about this movie- I have no doubt it will underperform based on fans' reactions so far, which I think are typically narrow- minded, (look at Scott Pilgrim as an example- awesome movie, very inventive, general population can't wrap their heads around it) I am holding out hope this will be a sleeper cult fave down the road. I just get a good vibe from it- I love everything I've seen so far.
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7:37PM on 12/17/2010

Gondry Never completed it

Gondry was fired a month into shooting. The 2nd unit director shot the rest of the movie. Explains a lot.
Gondry was fired a month into shooting. The 2nd unit director shot the rest of the movie. Explains a lot.
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7:59PM on 12/17/2010
Source please.
Source please.
5:19PM on 12/17/2010

So, why is it . . .

. . . that we have dozens of mucho-talented screenwriters out their starving to death, and marginally-talented actor-idiots like Rogen and Jonah Hill get to "write", and "produce", and "direct" based on the idea that they MAYBE MIGHT know what they're doing? Because they've "had a dream since childhood" about making these movies? SO F*CKING WHAT?
. . . that we have dozens of mucho-talented screenwriters out their starving to death, and marginally-talented actor-idiots like Rogen and Jonah Hill get to "write", and "produce", and "direct" based on the idea that they MAYBE MIGHT know what they're doing? Because they've "had a dream since childhood" about making these movies? SO F*CKING WHAT?
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5:27PM on 12/17/2010
I would argue that Rogen and Hill are certainly above-average writers and/or actors. I just think this one got away from Seth a little bit. I certainly don't blame him for trying...
I would argue that Rogen and Hill are certainly above-average writers and/or actors. I just think this one got away from Seth a little bit. I certainly don't blame him for trying...
5:43PM on 12/17/2010
Oh, is that what we need? "Above-average" writers? And what has Hill written that has already been produced? Other than NOTHING? And yes, don't blame someone's lack of talent for a box-office debacle! He was trying SO hard!
Oh, is that what we need? "Above-average" writers? And what has Hill written that has already been produced? Other than NOTHING? And yes, don't blame someone's lack of talent for a box-office debacle! He was trying SO hard!
5:48PM on 12/17/2010
I'm not defending Seth Rogen (I haven't seen a film he was attached to), but it's not like he doesn't have writing experience or that his past work has been bad. He and Evan Goldberg wrote cult hits like Superbad and The Pineapple Express, which also faired well critically. He also wrote episodes of Da Ali G Show and Undeclared, which dates back to 10 years ago. So, I think he's a bad example. As for Jonah Hill, he is only co-writing a script for 21 Jump Street. Hardly stealing jobs from
I'm not defending Seth Rogen (I haven't seen a film he was attached to), but it's not like he doesn't have writing experience or that his past work has been bad. He and Evan Goldberg wrote cult hits like Superbad and The Pineapple Express, which also faired well critically. He also wrote episodes of Da Ali G Show and Undeclared, which dates back to 10 years ago. So, I think he's a bad example. As for Jonah Hill, he is only co-writing a script for 21 Jump Street. Hardly stealing jobs from people.

I do think that there are plenty of hack writers who do fit your description though, writers who continually make cookie cutter Hollywood screenplays with stock characters, stiff dialogue, and predictable plot points, but I don't think this qualifies. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg made two well received films. This one was just a misstep.
7:25PM on 12/17/2010
You sound like a troll. The same principle you are applying to aforementioned actors is applicable to all new screenwriters. Hell, these guys actually have industry experience...John Smith from Kansas doesn't have any experience. Seth Rogen has two hits--writing wise--on his hands already. Then you shoot down Hill for his writing and state later that he's never written a script. How do you know that he sucks then? You must be a failed writer. Just because these guys actually made it, doesn't
You sound like a troll. The same principle you are applying to aforementioned actors is applicable to all new screenwriters. Hell, these guys actually have industry experience...John Smith from Kansas doesn't have any experience. Seth Rogen has two hits--writing wise--on his hands already. Then you shoot down Hill for his writing and state later that he's never written a script. How do you know that he sucks then? You must be a failed writer. Just because these guys actually made it, doesn't mean you've got to be sour. SO CHILL THE F*CK OUT!
7:28PM on 12/17/2010
msgelter Considering how many average scripts get crapped out into movies, I'd take an above-average writer. And no, Jonah Hill isn't a writer but his choices have for the most part been admirable. He recognized "Transformers 2" was going to be a shit show and passed on a big paycheck to do "Cyrus" instead. And I've read the "21 Jump Street" script that he's producing and it's hilarious.

And are you implying that because an otherwise creative and successful person has one failure, we
msgelter Considering how many average scripts get crapped out into movies, I'd take an above-average writer. And no, Jonah Hill isn't a writer but his choices have for the most part been admirable. He recognized "Transformers 2" was going to be a shit show and passed on a big paycheck to do "Cyrus" instead. And I've read the "21 Jump Street" script that he's producing and it's hilarious.

And are you implying that because an otherwise creative and successful person has one failure, we should immediately crucify that person? "Scott Pilgrim" was a box-office disappointment but would you blame Edgar Wright? "Funny People" was a disappointment but I don't blame Judd Apatow for taking a chance. I'll take a writer/actor/director taking a chance on risky material over safe bullshit any day of the week.
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