AICN COMICS BEYOND! Prof Challenger chimes in on THE GREEN HORNET!!!
@@@AICN COMICS BEYOND!@@@
Prof looks at GREEN HORNET!
THE GREEN HORNET (2011)Director: Michael Gondry
Writers: Seth Rogan & Evan Goldberg
Stars: Seth Rogan, Jay Chou, & Christoph Waltz
Opens: January 14, 2011
Reviewer: Professor Challenger
Any GREEN HORNET purist with a stick up his butt needs to avoid this movie at all costs. Anybody who likes to have a good time at the movies needs to rush out to see THE GREEN HORNET this weekend.
This time of year is usually the dumping ground for the Hollywood studios for the garbage they are contractually bound to release in the theaters but are essentially unwatchable duds. THE GREEN HORNET breaks that tradition. This is a solid, fun, funny, and entertaining action film with good performances all around. It also boasts some extraordinary action and fight sequences and great use of 3D over the closing credits sequences.
Put me in the category as one of many who groaned when I heard the name Seth Rogan attached to THE GREEN HORNET. My first thought was that they were going for a spoof or a parody. But I was wrong. Yes, this movie had moments where I was howling with laughter, but it was laughter from legitimately funny interplay or situations unfolding from characters I liked and came to love. No, this is not the deadpan Van Williams' portrayal of Britt Reid/Green Hornet. No, this is not the Bruce Lee version of Kato. The writers of this version of THE GREEN HORNET chose to throw out the legacy aspect of the Green Hornet and Kato and instead develop a series of events and relationships that make the creation of the Hornet's identity a plausible outcome even in 2011.
The previews made it seem as if Seth Rogan is essentially playing Seth Rogan in this movie. And while there are certain Rogan-esque trademarks here in his performance, he developed somebody new here. In this story, Britt Reid is the son of a crusading newspaper owner and publisher. His father is a strict and harsh, but staunchly righteous man. His insecure son is a mess of unrealized potential. Britt at times can come off stupid, but the truth is that he is not stupid...he has never applied himself to the task of education or self-improvement. After the death of his father, Britt comes face-to-face with mortality, loneliness, and his own lack of purpose. In some ways, he is evocative of Bruce Wayne in that he is a child of wealth and power. But whereas the playboy persona of Bruce Wayne is the "mask" that Batman wears to dissuade the public from associating the two men, Britt Reid truly is the carefree and reckless playboy that Wayne can only pretend to be. The progression of Britt from directionless man-child to a man of purpose and determination is believable because Rogan lets us see sparks from the start that buried within is the man that his father always hoped he could be. But it takes Kato to bring that out of him.
Kato and Britt bond following the burial of Britt's father. This bonding quickly blooms into a co-dependent friend relationship and ultimately into one of antagonistic brothers who piss each other off but each would die for the other. This relationship between Kato and Britt is the reason this movie works so well. There is an extensive fight scene between the two, over a woman naturally, that is fantastic. It works on the "cool" level, but it also is an emotional breaking moment between the two that establishes that you never get as angry or disappointed in someone else like that...unless you genuinely love them. Plus the scene had me laughing out loud. These two grow together into something that feels real. Outstanding performances by both of them. Jay Chou's role as Kato is (get ready for the internet to break) at least 10 times what Bruce Lee gave to it. Chou can actually act and he gives his all to make Kato real and connect with the audience. Plus, his fight sequences were some of the best orchestrated things I've seen before. Not only thrilling, but often funny and always exciting.
Christoph Waltz as "Blood-nofsky", the gang kingpin of Los Angeles, was equal parts hilarious and scary -- which is exactly what they were going for. I was concerned at first about how a modern-day movie could realistically present a scenario in which The Green Hornet could establish himself legitimately as a criminal and still be able to perform heroic deeds. These filmmakers figured out how to do it. It makes sense as The Green Hornet invades the various gang turfs in L.A. and destroys the drug-making labs and other criminal enterprises. All of this done under the guise of taking out the competition as the new master criminal known as The Green Hornet attempts to take-over the underworld. Brilliant stuff.
The action sequences are outstanding as well. About the only thing I have in terms of criticism is not really a criticism but a recognition that the action sequences start small and keep getting more and more elaborate and huge until it builds to an absolutely absurd (but wholly entertaining) action-based climax. The director utilized 3D to good effect within a number of these action sequences with lots of things bursting and flying out of the screen.
Cameron Diaz is the only flat player in this otherwise very good movie where she plays the dull character of Lenore Chase, Britt's secretary and an unrequited love-interest of both Britt and Kato. The comedy there comes from their competing peacockery for her attentions.
The classic Green Hornet theme music and groovy psychedelic imagery make an appearance at the end of the movie, wrapping things up in such a way that the audience is stoked rather than let-down. THE GREEN HORNET is terrific. I'd give it an A-, and the minus is just for Diaz and the overly absurd lengths they went to for the action climax. There's some graphic violence and quite a few cuss words from our erstwhile hero, so it may not be appropriate for the very little ones, but I can't imagine teens on up wouldn't love the movie. My 15 year-old has already made sure that I know that he plans on owning this one on DVD when it becomes available. That's the highest compliment I know.
Prof. Challenger was beloved by many, despised by a few, but always lived his life to the fullest. Never did he miss an opportunity to pet a puppy, kiss a pretty girl, or ignore a hobo. He is survived by a long-suffering spouse, 2 confused children, a ridiculously silly dog, and a pompous fat old cat. The things that brought him happiness in this life were his comics, his books, his movies, and string cheese. Had he passed from this plane of existence, he would expect the loss to the world to be severe. As it is, however, he has not passed and has no plans to pass for quite awhile. So visit his website at profchallenger.com and read his ramblings and rantings and offer to pay him for his drawrings. He will show his appreciation with a winning smile and breath that smells like the beauty of angels.
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Jan. 14, 2011, 10:04 a.m. CST
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:06 a.m. CST
...and sinking fast. Most of the reviews I've seen give it a qualified "meh" or absolutely LOATHE it.
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:11 a.m. CST
Gonna see it this weekend. We'll see how it goes.
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:23 a.m. CST
by Doctor Manhattan
I saw it last night. It isn't a train wreck, but it has a lot of problems. I completely disagree with Prof. Seth Rogan is playing Seth Rogan. But since he wrote the movie, it works out ok. And his character is a colossal douchebag, so again, it fits. The problem with the movie isn't how it looks (Gondry did an amazing job on that front), it is that it makes no sense whatsoever. Characters do things for reasons that are completely ludicrous. How Brit and Kato expect to "save" Los Angeles by terrorizing and blowing up the city is beyond me. Sure, some gangs are taken out, but they seriously are WORSE than the criminals they are trying to stop. And there is a DA character and a MacGuffin that propel the final action piece that goes nowhere. But the film is pretty funny at times, and Kato is cool, if you can get over the fact that an orphan street urchin with no schooling or training is a combination of Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. Overall, the movie is fun, like the Prof said, but I actually like some coherence in my plots. Oh, and Cameron Diaz is jsut barely hanging onto her "hottie" Hollywood status. Let's just say that HD and 3D are not kind to her face.
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:27 a.m. CST
Comic geeks are a different variety. You can have sci-fi geeks and movie geeks review things but I appreciate the take of someone who understands what makes a comic book. While I don't think I'll like this quite as much as the reviewer, for the first time I'm considering seeing this.
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:32 a.m. CST
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:50 a.m. CST
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:53 a.m. CST
...Any GREEN HORNET purist with a stick up his butt needs to avoid this movie at all costs. Anybody who likes to have a good time at the movies needs to rush out to see THE GREEN HORNET this weekend.
Jan. 14, 2011, 11 a.m. CST
I thought hard about whether to keep it in the "A" range or bump it down into the "B" range. But I went with a combination of the degree of fun I had and the enthusiasm of the crowd's reaction to it as well (particularly the giant next to me who was talking back to the screen throughout because he was so in to it). I will watch this film repeatedly, it was that much fun. Tight-assed newspaper critics can shove it.
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:13 a.m. CST
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:41 a.m. CST
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:43 a.m. CST
The movie plays really well. I saw it last week and thought the action in the last act was bad ass. It's a really serviceable middle-of-the-road flick and I wish we had more like this in January. Gonna get drunk and see it with my girlfriend again tonight. I didn't expect to dig it and I'm not a plant. But it's a solid affair.
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:56 a.m. CST
by Judge Anderson's kinky boots
A film best seen drunk? That's some recommendation!
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:56 a.m. CST
Thats what I want to pay a premium for.
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:15 p.m. CST
...it is used quite well throughout the film. I was just pointing out that they had some graphic fun with the 3D in the credits.
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:26 p.m. CST
Is that what I said? At all?
Jan. 14, 2011, 2:10 p.m. CST
Thats the only reason I'll see this...his first purely english role after Inglorious Basterds. How does he hold himself? Is he a good gangster? I gotsta see
Jan. 14, 2011, 2:24 p.m. CST
I think the review is spot on, but for fuck's sake, it's not hard to spell Rogen.
Jan. 14, 2011, 2:35 p.m. CST
My apologies to Seth Rogen. I actually know he spells it with an "e" but for some reason my fingers went with an "a" and I never clued in on it.
Jan. 14, 2011, 2:37 p.m. CST
Jan. 14, 2011, 3:23 p.m. CST
I don't trust anything random people can vote on or even a small minority especially the ones who vote online for movies. I may go see this weekend if I have nothing to do. Looks fun.
Jan. 14, 2011, 4:51 p.m. CST
Is he wearing the Iron Man armor?
Jan. 14, 2011, 5:01 p.m. CST
Jan. 14, 2011, 5:08 p.m. CST
This movie is pure fun, it's always the lesser known super hero movies that get the bad rep... Out of all the super hero movies that are unknown to the masses like The Phantom, The Shadow, The Spirit, The Green Hornet Stands above the rest...
Jan. 14, 2011, 7:47 p.m. CST
Seriously, this guy is way too professional and seemingly even-minded for this site. Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy about 80-90% of the reviews by the writers on this site, but never have I seen an EDITED review in my 10+ years of reading them. Also, love the concept of comic-geeks reviewing comic book movies. Now, if we can just get them to successfully maim Hercules for EVERY FUCKING TIME he calls comic books "funny papers", we will have seen a VAST improvement on this site. Honestly, Hercules offers nothing to this site. At all. Period.
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:04 p.m. CST
I saw it in Minneapolis and was not impressed. Sent my review in a week ahead of release and still nothing. You guys in the studios pocket now or what?
Jan. 15, 2011, 4:03 a.m. CST
...then count me out. The trailer looks like it was made for 14-year-old boys.</p> <p> Oooo...see Seth Rogan shoot himself with a gas gun and pass out...ooooo...fun-nee...hahaha.</p> <p> Oooo...see Seth Rogan fall down...go boom! hehehe</p> <p> (sigh)</p> <p> No thanks.
Jan. 15, 2011, 6:40 a.m. CST
I agree! I had so much fun watching this movie last night. We caught the 2-D version and there was a big crowd in there. I have to say I laughed my ass off. The dynamic of Rogen and Chou was great fun. They made the heroes fun to watch. What made it cool was here is this hero action film that could have been made really dark, but they went in a direction of what a comic hero would really think and say which made it fun instead. I will have to go see it in 3-D and compare the fun.
Jan. 15, 2011, 10:37 a.m. CST
I am loathe to even dignify your shit-flinging. But the use of "Erstwhile" was on purpose. We are talking about a hero who conducts himself in a criminal manner (including more than one "murder"). So, yes, I intended to use the word "erstwhile"...you idiot.
Jan. 15, 2011, 7:28 p.m. CST
Everyone has a right to be a purist if something is close enough to their heart and memories. Oh Prof? F**k you again.
Jan. 15, 2011, 7:30 p.m. CST
Everyone here loves this movie so much that their collective labia is throbbing. I've lost respect.
Jan. 18, 2011, 4:58 p.m. CST
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I feel like this was a very accurate review. The only bad thing about it to me was Cameron Diaz she truly sucked. But the action was great! The comedy had me rolling. I'd love to see more adventures from this duo. I wouldn't say it's for kids either, but it really was a great movie.
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