Directed by Michel Gondry
Starring: Seth Rogan
The green Hornet has to be one of the least anticipated super hero movie made in the last 10 years. Even the hardcore comic book audience doesn’t have as strong a connection to the hero as you might expect because he hasn’t been in a comic in so many years. Then this movie went through a bevy of delays and was over promoted to the geek audience prior to coming out. So the question remains; is it good?
The answer to that movie is yes and no. Is the story well written? No. Are the characters well developed? No. Is it entertaining? Well, yes it is. It didn’t make sense in the early days of this film’s production that Seth Rogan was picked to play a super hero. He’s a funny guy, but not particularly heroic. After seeing the movie picking Rogan makes more sense. In fact Rogan being himself in this character is part of what makes the film so entertaining. If you aren’t a Seth Rogan fan then this movie isn’t for you. It’s only recently in the ads that the film is being sold more as a comedy than an action/adventure film and it is most definitely a comedy. There are truly some gust busting moments in the film thanks to Rogan and to Jay Chou who plays Kato. Rogan can be a big presence on screen but Chou holds his own in most scenes and literally steals others.
The film tells the story of a waste of space son of a media mogul who decides to become a hero after the untimely death of his father. That’s really about all of the depth and character development there is. There’s not even a good arc of growth for the character and Kato, well we know little about him other than he can build gadgets and make good coffee. There are some other top notch actors in the film that are some really thankless roles. I have to believe that some of them appeared in the film out of some obligation to the director. Cameron Diaz can be really funny and she’s so horribly underutilized in the film that she feels barely more important than an extra. It speaks to the overall assembly of the film that it feels like she doesn’t even appear in the movie until nearly halfway in. Tom Wilkinson and Edward James Olmos are in the film too but similar to Diaz’s role they don’t really get to do anything of weight. The great Christoph Waltz is in the film and while he doesn’t get much development either he does demonstrate a great talent for comedic timing.
Michel Gondry is one of those directors that has a definitive and unique visual style that has impacted his career. A Gondry movie looks like a Gondry movie. Often when these artistic filmmakers take on a blockbuster level film their influence on the visual style disappears. One of the great things about the Spider-man films was that Sam Raimi still managed to inject some of his unique visual style and bizarre sense of humor into those films. The Green Hornet is definitely a Gondry film thankfully. There are many key scenes in the film that are executed only as Gondry what handle them including an over the top wink at comic books. Fight scenes in the film are also gorgeous and often hysterical.
Honestly had the script had a couple of more passes this movie could have been something truly special. As it stands the movie is a visual feast, it’s often hilarious, it’s long by 30 minutes, and the story is underdeveloped in nearly every way. So, it’s worth a look as long as your expectations are low. The 3-D experience is absolutely awful. If you see the film save your money and watch it in 2-D. The visuals will look better in 2-D. There’s very little 3-D in the film and when it happens it looks forced and ugly.