Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011, #4

The Green Hornet

Here's all anyone really remembers about The Green Hornet: Bruce Lee as Kato. Who played the title character on the TV show? You don't remember. You looked it up on Wikipedia just now, like I did. I only saw an episode for the first time about a year ago. It hasn't aged well. Aside from Lee and the killer theme song, it was boring as hell.

Despite very separate origins, The Green Hornet and Batman are now forever linked because of their television incarnations, which shared a network, production company, sets, and a narrator. Batman of course was famously campy, while GH played it straight. So now that Frank Miller and others have turned Batman into a crabby psychopath, it only makes sense that The Green Hornet takes a lighter touch.

Rogen's Britt Reid is a slacker billionheir to a newspaper fortune. When his dad dies, Britt meets the old man's mechanic/barista, Kato (Jay Chou), they start hanging out and become costumed vigilantes. People are skeptical, as I was, about Seth Rogen in an action movie, but Rogen & Evan Goldberg apply much of the same sort of comedy + buddy + action-violence formula that worked (at least for me) in Pineapple Express. Less blood this time, but more explosions and kung-fu. I was able to suspend enough disbelief for all this. Once you get around the idea of a powerful newspaper in 2011, other things are easy to roll with.

Michel Gondry has some nice moments here. There's an especially cool montage of gossip spreading through the LA underworld that's reminiscent of his music videos. It's a pity the film was converted to 3D. I'd think a director like Gondry would do interesting things with the medium if allowed to shoot in 3D; why not give him the toybox?

*it was Van Williams. You did not know. Liar!



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