Movie Review: “The Green Hornet”? More like “The Green SNORE-net”!

I’m back from hiatus. Who said that you can’t write movie reviews while in a foreign country?

The Green Hornet (4/10)

Joy aside, I made an awful decision with my first new movie back into the fray. The all too verdant comic-to-movie adaptation of The Green Hornet was one of the most disjointed, misguided, and unaffecting adventures I’ve seen in a while. As the Green Hornet (not the movie, the avenger) tries to turn himself into a bad guy, I would like to point out the people who became bad guys and decided to be a part of this movie, and therefore make it unwatchable.

Let’s start small. er.

Seth Rogen’s weight loss for the movie was never marketed as if Christian Bale had competition. But Rogen looked… well relatively un-super. That’s not to take his weight loss away from him. He looked fine. But the whole time he just never had the charisma or the passion to carry this movie. With every joke funny enough to chuckle to yourself, came at least three or four that never landed at all. What’s more is that his character was so inept, that for 90% of the movie, he just stands amazed at the other characters. “I can’t believe you can do that, Kato! You can do everything!” “Cameron Diaz! You’re so smart and have a great ass! Wow!” “Chum-cough-ski! You’re the best car chaser ever!” Sorry. It wasn’t even worth it to look up characters names.

Seth Rogen is doubly to blame because he also wrote the script. There was a co-writer, but I choose to believe that the other guy was the voice of reason and was the one saying “Well why is this scene in the movie?” Because I’ll give the movie credit where credit is (almost) due. I believe that every bad joke was Seth Rogen’s. I believe that the lack of any motivation for the bad guy is Seth Rogen (and a good career choice by Nicolas Cage who turned down that role even when he needs money… I’m almost proud of him). I also believe that the completely unfounded actions of every character is Seth Rogen. Seth Rogen playing Seth Rogen gets angry at Kato. Why? Because he’s jealous of Kato and for one night Kato decides to do something without him.

The next perp is Michel Gondry. He directed what is actually inarguably one of the best movies of the past decade (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). One could only imagine that he couldn’t go up from there. But who knew he would plummet so far down? Simple things that I take for granted in most movies such as sight lines of a character are almost completely ignored. It almost impossible to discern anything during the crowded and poorly animated fight scenes. The film jumps between visual styles and has its two feet in far too many doors – poorly straddling the lines between super hero movie, broad comedy, car chase movie (there are at least 3), crime drama, and frat pack humor. There are definitely a couple of good sequences and you can tell when Gondry got to use a little more creative flair, but it’s rare. Too rare.

Next we have three actors who just accepted bad roles. Christoph Waltz plays the bad guy with the unpronounceable name. His motivation power. Why? Power. That’s it. There is nothing more remotely explained. He has awful lines and a horrible conceit. The character makes decisions willy-nilly and they are often made without consequence. Waltz does his best to elevate the dialogue, but it is too insurmountable and Waltz perishes. The next poor decision was by James Franco. Probably as a favor to Rogen, he made a cameo as a drug lord. This opening was almost unbearable. Why Franco? Why?

He's not a superhero! He's too... artsy?

Poor decision number 3 goes to Jay Chou, the Chinese pop star. I actually own one of his CDs so count me a fan. But why would he do a role in an American movie when he can’t speak English? He had to learn English for the part. But this is no Tilda Swinton learns Italian and then speaks it with a Russian accent. This is Jay Chou in the process of learning English. He’s about 70% there. So therefore his character is about 70% there. There’s never any real explanation of why Kato is talented at what he is, nor for why he forgives Rogen for over reacting. The way Jay Chou is redeemed? He does act like someone who has lost their personality due to a language barrier.

I shall finally say three nice things about the movie. I did laugh every now and then. The best scene was when Rogen’s character suggested the name “The Green Bee” and the room of… news people (?) told him it was awful – “It sounds like a grandmother’s knitting store.” Cameron Diaz also was a little spot of sunshine. She had the easy role of flawless, but managed to bring just a little bit more humanity to the role than any one else. I also want to congratulate the film editor, Michael Tronick. He clearly had to do a lot with very little. He took poor moments in the screenplay and boosted them by telling those parts of a story in a unique and easy to follow fashion. We’ll just forgive him for the fight scenes.


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