Saturday, January 15, 2011

THE GREEN HORNET - in which Hollywood pisses on my eiderdown once more

I am HUGELY disappointed by THE GREEN HORNET. I know it had a "troubled" journey to our screens, with Kevin Smith's scripts hacked and directors dropping out like so many milk-teeth. But when it got to the final credit list, I was full of anticipation. After all, this was a superhero movie that was going to be set square in the tradition of fond mockery - the tradition that produced the brilliantly funny KICK-ASS and genre-pastiches like PINEAPPLE EXPRESS. And who better to mock fondly than director Michel Gondry - the guy behind the wonderfully sweet, adorably goofy BE KIND, REWIND, not to mention quirkier, stranger, more brilliantly crazy THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP. The cast looked fly too - the newly trim Seth Rogen - hilarious in PINEAPPLE EXPRESS was going to bring that child-like enthusiasm and general all-round good-egg persona to the role of Britt Reid/The Green Hornet, playboy millionaire turned masked-crime-fighter. Cameron Diaz - always willing to take the piss out of herself - was going to play the love interest, Lenore Case. We had the promise of INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS' Chrisoph Waltz as the evil villain Chudnofsky. And best of all for Battlestar Galactica geeks, we had Edward James "Adama" Olmos as the editor of the Daily Sentinel. Okay, so I'd never heard of the Jay Chou, guy who plays The Hornet's sidekick, Kato, but I was willing to roll with it. So there it was - I was all ready for a superhero pastiche/homage full of good jokes, ridonkulous super-weapons and a general good-time.

But what did I get? Joke-free boredom. And without jokes, all this movie becomes is a Batman/Superman knock-off. Derivative, predictable, silly, emotionally involving, and absolutely no stakes. And when the jokes don't work you have to blame either the script or the actors or, in the case of physical humour, the director. So, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz, Michel Gondry, I know want you to go and stand in the corner and think VERY carefully about what you've done. Especially Gondry. I mean, I am genuinely amazed that Gondry even knows how to direct something this banal.

Evidently, somewhere in Hollywood, in some drawer, there is a Kevin Smith script for THE GREEN HORNET that is frackin' amazing. Somewhere, years ago, in some producer's office, there was a dream of a brilliantly witty, action-filled movie. The dream, ladies and gentlemen, is dead.

P.S. I got so angry when I was writing this review that I forgot to mention the biggest insult of all! This movie has been retro-fitted with 3D after principal photography was completed. The result is a film that costs an extra few pounds to see, and where the only material impact of 3D is that it looks several shades more dull than if you were watching it without the glasses.  There are no cool action shots that are enhanced by it. There's no immersive, subtle enhancement of depth of field. Just cynical commercial decision-making at its most brazen.

THE GREEN HORNET is on release in Belgium, Chile, Egypt, France, Belgium, Chile, Egypt, France, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Canada, Estonia, India, Spain, the UK, the USA and Venezuela. It opens next weekend in Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Japan. It opens on the 28th January in Greece, Singapore and Italy. It opens on February 3rd in Russia.

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