Monday, January 3, 2011

The Green Hornet - or the Green Bee if you think that sounds better...

The Green HornetThe Green Hornet - (4 Stars)

When first we meet Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) he is a spoiled playboy. While his father operates the respectable and integrity filled newspaper "The Daily Sentinel," Britt parties and acts the all-around fool. However, when his father dies, everything changes for Britt and he becomes the Green Hornet in order to seek vengeance. At least, that's how you'd expect it to go if this were a typical superhero movie. Instead, Britt is shaken up but not particularly sad. In fact, instead of trying to honor his dead father he seems to go the complete opposite direction. Green Hornet is not your typical superhero movie.

Hornet plays mostly against genre norms by changing our expectations for things such as the hero's origin, his motivations and even his skill level. In fact, for the most part, Britt Reid starts out as a very selfish "superhero." Bruce Wayne he is not. But this is why the character works so well.

Co-written by Rogen and directed by Michel Gondry, Hornet is the funniest movie I've seen all year* and contains some of the better actions scenes as well thanks to Gondry's direction. Rogen brings his usual type of humor (minus the drug references) but instead of being the likable loser, he's more of a selfish jerk. Think Tony Stark, but not as capable. Jay Chou complements Rogen extremely well as the sidekick Kato and the two play comically well off of each other. After his fantastic performance in Inglourious Basterds, Christoph Waltz is once again playing the quirky villain. Chudnofsky is shades of Hans Landa, but a little less secure in his ability to make an impression. Cameron Diaz is the only casting misfire. I really wish they had cast someone else. I've never been a fan of her, and her role here didn't change my mind any.

The movie is a great example of an action comedy as it balances the line between serious and ridiculous perfectly, keeping the story interesting and the jokes natural. The fighting and action is over-the-top, but it fits the film and it's not the blatantly fake, obvious green screen type of action where it looks like actors in the middle of a computer game. With all this being said, don't go into the movie expecting to be cinematically blown away like "The Dark Knight," but rather enter on the prospect of simply having a fun time with a movie that is equal parts humor and action.
(108 minutes - Rated PG-13 for sequences of violent action, language, sensuality and drug content - 2011) (Netflix - Estimated for May) (Release Reminder - VideoETA)

*I saw this in 2010, remember, so I'm not trying to make a joke relating to the beginning of the year.

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