Monday, January 17, 2011

Rant #424: Green Hornet Makes Green

As a huge Green Hornet fan, I went to the movies this weekend with my family to see the new movie.

I have to tell you, I went in with lots of trepidation. All the advance word that I heard about this film was that it was a bomb of major proportions. Any movie that has its premiere put off several times, and then is dumped into the post-Christmas January movie wasteland, can't be too good.

And when the reviews came out, they were so bad in the New York papers that I knew I was in for it, even worse than having to shell out extra bread to see the film in 3D.

I have to tell you that my preconceived feelings about the movie were warranted. Although it is not nearly as bad as some critics said it was, it really isn't such a great film. But again, its two hours sped by pretty quickly, so even though the Green Hornet and Kato to me will always be Van Williams and Bruce Lee, this movie, well, it could have been worse.

Several things were changed around to make the heroes more "contemporary," including that Kato is actually the "brains" behind the duo's success in this film. He is the inventor of all of the gadgets, including the well-stocked Black Beauty.

Why is it that the white guy is always the dummy in contemporary media?

To spell it out, Britt Reid is really nothing but a slacker playboy who gets sucked into his role as the publisher of the Daily Sentinel because of the death of his father, who in this story line, has nothing to do with the Green Hornet.

The DA, who in the TV show was Reid/Hornet's pal, and knew his identity, is one of the evil villains in this movie, and Reid's secretary is more of a love interest in the film, although in the TV show, there were undercurrents of something going on between her and Reid, but nothing concrete.

There are other differences, but I have to say that Seth Rogen, the co-writer and star of the film, definitely watched the TV show, the medium he got his greatest inspiration from, even though the character actually was born on the radio during the 1930s.

The final segment, where Reid/Hornet is shot, is lifted directly from the TV series. And I am happy to say that Al Hirt's memorable theme song is heard briefly at the end, as is the cool 1960s logo used in the ABC show.

What's wrong with the movie is that Rogen seriously miscast himself as the Hornet. He just doesn't fit the role well, even though he slimmed down to take on this character. He is simply not magnetic enough to get across the charisma of the Hornet to the audience.

Much better is Jay Chou, who as Kato, doesn't evoke Bruce Lee's classic performance, but kind of rounds his own portrayal of Kato a bit. He steals the show from Rogen.

But no one steals the show more than Christoph Waltz as the main villain. As he demonstrated in "Inglorious Basterds," he will stand out against most contemporary actors, even when he has to ham it up as he does here.

Cameron Diaz is ... well, Cameron Diaz. She once again demonstrates to me that she is one of the most overrated and over-exposed movie actresses in history. I don't get her bleach blond allure.

So, all in all, I would say that you should see this movie. It isn't great, but it isn't the worst piece of trash out there.

Evidently movie goers agree with me, as it is now the No. 1 movie in the land--of course, that is a phony distinction, as you are paying extra to see this in 3D, a technique which is completely unnecessary in this movie. It gave me a slight headache, which, coupled with all the car crashes, bombs going off, and gunfire, made for a very LOUD film.

So, go see this movie if you have two hours to totally kill--you can bet a sequel is not far behind.

1 comment:

  1. I hated this movie. Seth Rogan took one of the great pop heroes of 20th century mythology and turned him into an idiot. The fact that this movie has done as well as it has is because there are so many people out there who think Seth Rogan's schtick is funny. It's not.



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