TAKE TWO: The Green Hornet (2011)

21 Jan

The Green Hornet

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz

Director: Michel Gondry

Chris’ Take: Well, my most anticipated films of 2011 did not get off to a very auspicious start. As some of you know, The Green Hornet ranked #5 on my most anticipated films of 2011, not so much because of the subject matter or its leads, but because I had lofty expectations for director Michel Gondry. While the film as a whole is not necessarily bad, as a Gondry film, it was a disappointment.

Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) led a wandering existence, living off the wealth of his strict father’s large newspaper company. But, after his father dies, Britt is left in charge of the empire and realizes that his wayward life might need a change. Britt strikes up a friendship with the mysterious genius Kato (Jay Chou), his father’s mechanic, and decides to strike back against the criminal underworld, that had been the thorn in his father’s side, as masked vigilantes posing as criminals.

First off, I want to address the most obvious problem with the film, the 3D (or lack thereof). Michel Gondry is one of the most visually inventive directors on the market today (if you get a chance watch any “Behind the Scenes” features on his films) and when I heard that this film was in 3D I thought, “Finally, someone will do it  right.” The problem that I have with the 3D in the film isn’t that Gondry used it poorly, he didn’t use it at all. Why even put it in 3D in the first place?

Oh....yeah.

On top of that, I convinced Pac and his girlfriend to go to the IMAX 3D version with me. Pac, the voice of reason sometimes, questioned my decision. He pointed out the difference in ticket price for the IMAX 3D and regular 3D was $4.50. This film had even less right to be in IMAX than it did being in 3D. The cinematography was very plain, very standard, nothing so spectacular that required a larger screen or 3D effects. I bought Pac a beer after the movie to make up the difference in ticket price.

Now that I have that out of the way, I can address the rest of the film, which wasn’t that bad. The film was written by the same team as Superbad and Pineapple Express, and they were able to keep a pretty jovial tone throughout, which is what made it different than other hero films, and it worked. However, I think because they had to tone down the humor from their usual “R” rating, it didn’t have the biting humor of their other films and peaked in the first 5 minutes with a hilarious cameo by James Franco. I also think the film would have been funnier about three years ago, when seeing Seth Rogen’s rambling “every man” character was still fresh.

 Cameron Diaz managed to stay off the screen for the first 45 minutes or so and appeared sparingly, so she didn’t have a whole lot of opportunity to ruin the film. Christoph Waltz was a little bit of a disappointment as well. He was decent, but I thought it was a waste of his talents.

It will definitely be difficult topping this.

Jay Chou, as Kato, was really what kept the film interesting. Despite his thick accent, he kept up a quick repartee with Rogen, and they really did have great  chemistry as a comedy-action duo. I liked how they addressed the issue Kato had being dubbed as a “sidekick”, even though he was the more talented and smarter one of the crew. But, they did take a little bit too long showing that about 2/3 of the way through the film, and there could have been a good 5 minutes cut to keep a good pace up.

Overall, while I enjoyed the film, it was a disappointment for me because of the wasted use of 3D and IMAX by Michel Gondry. It is by no means a good film, merely an entertaining diversion in the cold winter months. Wait for the small screen for this one, people.

  • Characters: B+
  • Cinematography: B-
  • Directing: B-
  • Plot: B-
  • Performances: B
  • 3D: D
  • OVERALL: B-

Pac’s Take:

Even good directors stumble from time to time, here are a few of my favorite directors and some of their films accompanied by their Rotten Tomatoes percent rating: Brian DePalma (Carrie – 97%, The Black Dahlia – 33%) Martin Scorcese (Raging Bull – 98%, Boxcar Bertha – 45%), Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street – 95%, My Soul to Take – 9%), and Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather – 100%, Supernova – 10%).  So it is expected for a fantastic director to stumble from time to time, especially when they feel like they have no control over the film.  All that being said I can understand why Chris put this film on his most anticipated list for 2011, but I don’t hold any remorse toward him for convincing me to see it.

I still owe you a few beers for this one

I don’t need to restate the complete lack of 3D or IMAX in the film as Chris already covered it and I plan to write a separate article on the use of 3D and IMAX all together (check back for that please), but at least they used it in the credits.  The only thing the 3D accomplished during the entire experience was that I may now go see Sanctum in 3D after watching that trailer.   The biggest disappointment for me leaving this film, besides the ticket price, was that I may have enjoyed this film more than Chris did.  I didn’t approach The Green Hornet as a Michel Gondry film; while I liked Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, it isn’t one of my favorite movies (I may go as far to say I liked Be Kind Rewind better).  I went to see a mixed reviewed Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg action/superhero film…

Like if these guys went all Boondock Saints on everybody

…And that’s exactly what I got.  There was nothing special about the direction or the cinematography, some of the slow motion fight scenes were pretty cool, but that’s about all.  Sure I wanted some awesome 3D, incredible cinematography, and ground breaking special effects; was I expecting it? No.  Here is exactly what I was expecting:

  • Annoying Seth Rogen everyman character that somehow works for the plot (check)
  • Good chemistry between Rogen and Chou necessary to drive a “bromance” comedy (check)
  • An interesting and charismatic villain played by Christoph Waltz (check)
  • Cameron Diaz to annoy me (check)
  • At least one awesome cameo from one of the following: Danny McBride, James Franco, Jason Segal, Paul Rudd, Bill Hader (check)

I’m not disappointed by the film. I had fun watching it, never lost interest in what was going on, had a few good laughs and left the theater satisfied.  I wish there was more Christoph Waltz because he and Jay Chou were the highlights of this film, but that may just be nitpicking.  At a matinée price or a rental The Green Hornet is a great value, just don’t bother seeing it in 3D.

Here are my grades:

  • Characters: B
  • Cinematography: B-
  • Directing: B
  • Plot: B-
  • Performances: B
  • 3D: F
  • OVERALL: B-
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2 Responses to “TAKE TWO: The Green Hornet (2011)”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. TAKE TWO: The Green Hornet (2011) (via Chris and Pac Take on Hollywood) | The Calculable - January 22, 2011

    […] TAKE TWO: The Green Hornet (2011) (via Chris and Pac Take on Hollywood) Posted on 22 January, 2011 by Jarle Petterson The Green Hornet Rated: PG-13 Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz Director: Michel Gondry Chris’ Take: Well, my most anticipated films of 2011 did not get off to a very auspicious start. As some of you know, The Green Hornet ranked #5 on my most anticipated films of 2011, not so much because of the subject matter or its leads, but because I had lofty expectations for director Michel Gondry. While the film as a whole is n … Read More […]

  2. New to Blu-Ray/DVD this Week (March 3, 2011) « Chris and Pac Take on Hollywood - May 13, 2011

    […] Take:  Though I thought The Green Hornet was a disappointment, I certainly believe this film is worth at least a rental.  The 3D in the film was extremely […]

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