Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Green Hornet Should Have Been Awesome.

It really should have been. 
Consider, the ingredients. It was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. They wrote Superbad together. So you'd expect Green Hornet to be overflowing with laugh-out-loud funnies. It's directed by Michel Gondry. You know, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindScience of Sleep. So you'd expect Green Hornet to be brimming with visual innovation, something new and amazing brought to the world of superhero films. 

You'd expect a lot of things. Unfortunately, Green Hornet falls flat during much of its two-hour running time. Really, that's the gist of it. However, having said that, I also found myself enjoying much of the film. Was I trying really hard to like it? Perhaps. I am confused about what I think of this film, to say the least.

As well as wearing co-writer and executive producer hats, Seth Rogen also sports the Britt Reid star-hat. A green one. Hurr hurr. He's the (at times, extremely unlikable) son of James Reid (Tom Wilkinson), owner of newspaper The Daily Sentinel. James dies, Britt's in charge, he meets Kato (Chinese superstar Jay Chou), his father's mechanic/barista. They decide to dish out some justice to the criminal world, by posing as bad guys (I don't really get it either). Their nemesis is Chudnofsky (Christopher Waltz), who runs all of the crime in LA. Cameron Diaz also stars as Lenore Case, Britt's secretary. She's probably not actually worth mentioning though, as her character is incredibly useless and irritating at all times.

Okay. So. The film opens with a pretty funny scene in which Chudnofsky confronts a nightclub owner about setting up shop without informing him first. The night club owner - only onscreen for about five minutes - is none other than James Franco. Hooray! He and Waltz genuinely do bring a few funnies, and at that stage I had some hope for the rest of the film. Unfortunately James Franco dies (SPOILERSOZ), and Christopher Waltz is infuriatingly wasted throughout the next hour and fifty minutes.

As the film went on, the greatest pleasure I could garner from The Green Hornet was keeping my eye out for little Gondry touches. There's no overstating how inventive a director he is, the real pants-wetting excitement inducing kind (please, for your viewing). But I guess to be expecting visual delights of the Science of Sleep variety was always going to be met with disappointment. However, there were a couple of moments in which one can see glimpses of Gondry greatness (derpalliterationderp). This most notably includes a sequence in which Britt finally pieces together his father's last acts and how he had been killed. It's a few minutes of floating, multiplying overlapping, dream-like images that admittedly did feel quite out of place amidst what is a pretty conventional action film. It might have been somewhat jarring to others in the audience, but I rather enjoyed it. It's probably then, Gondry's visual flair and style that we can thank for in regards to one of Hornet's few consistently redeeming features. That happens to be a number of really fabulously put together action sequences. Unfortunately, these fight sequences didn't go for two hours.

The other redeeming qualities? I guess it'd have to be Seth Rogen. An extremely likable star, he manages to scrape some endearing moments out of an incredibly unlikable character. Which I find interesting. Being that he wrote the damn thing, one would think that he'd attempt to inject some not-consistently-shit-guy traits into the character he'd be portraying? I mean, not only just for his own sake but for that of the film? Apparently not. That being said though, he and Jay Chou share some enjoyable moments as they begin their crime fighting plans (the ever-reliable "WE'RE GETTING READY TO GO ON ADVENTURES" montage), as well as a genuinely amusing living room brawl sequence. Chou himself is a nice presence onscreen, even if his accent is pretty much impenetrable.

Ehh, dunnolol. This film should have been great. In the end though, it's merely okay. I'd probably watch it over a shit-tonne of other recent superhero/action films, but merely "okay" isn't what you want from Gondry and Rogen. Or Christoph Waltz, for that matter. Funnies wasted, villain wasted, opportunity wasted. I laughed a few times, got a few visual pleasures (I have to admit, a slimmed-down Rogen was high up on that list...) BUT. Disappointing.

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