The Videogum Movie Club: The Green Hornet

There has been a lot of insidery media speculation this winter–although maybe this happens every winter and I just never noticed it for some reason–about the foresaken dumping ground of a January release. We are told that movies like Season of the Witch and The Green Hornet are unceremoniously shuttled off to this cinematic no man’s land because Hollywood knows garbage when it sees it (does it, though?) and the studios just want to make these disasters quietly disappear. Of course, what is hilarious about this is the idea that Hollywood refuses to release bad movies ALL YEAR LONG. Sure, Hollywood. You definitely only put out bad movies in January. Every other month is SOLID GOLD with you guys. But The Green Hornet is now the #1 movie in America, and it made a bunch of millions of dollars, so I’m not even sure what anyone is talking about anymore. That being said, it was super boring and kind of terrible in most ways, so I guess Hollywood wins again by staving off embarrassing disaster while still collecting ALL THE MONEY. Congrats, fat cats. Give yourselves a Golden Globe for something.

The Green Hornet is about a really rich chubby kid who loves coffee and somehow doesn’t know what the Internet is.

So, Brit Reed (Seth Rogen) is the hard-partying, no-ambitions-having heir to a iPadd app newspaper fortune, which is left to him when his dad (In The Bedroom’s Tom Wilkinson) dies from…a bee sting? Oh good. At least this movie starts out STRONG and SMART. Seth Rogen doesn’t care about newspapers at all, he just wants to fuuuuuuuuuuu. But then one day he drinks a bad cappuccino, so his life is a nightmare, and that is how he meets his dad’s mechanic, Kato. (I know this whole synopsis thing is going a little long, but can we mention how lame and random it is that our introduction to Kato’s engineering wizardry is some over-large coffee maker he “invented”? Buh.) Kato and Britt become friends, and then they become drunk friends, and then they go on a caper and now basically they are crime fighters, I guess. It’s all a bit odd. Their plan is to pretend to be bad guys? But actually be good guys? It’s a very confusing plan to be honest. Meanwhile, all of the cream I MEAN CRIME in Los Angeles is controlled by Christop Waltz. Stuff happens. Cameron Diaz. At one point, the bad guy kills everyone in Los Angeles who is wearing a green sweatshirt. This movie. In the end there is something to do with the district attorney and Seth Rogen’s dad was or was not corrupt and a USB THUMB DRIVE THAT LOOKS LIKE A SUSHI ROLL DON’T EVEN GET ME GOING ABOUT THAT, and Seth Rogen cares about newspapers now and Kato shoots him in the shoulder but in a good way.

All in 3D. Sort of.

There are a couple of good things about The Green Hornet. Christoph Waltz, for example. He’s great! It’s weird that this is the first movie he’s in since Inglosfurious Badersds. He should be in more movies. There are plenty of good jokes in the movie, too, although that’s actually one of the movie’s problems. It’s too funny. But we’ll get to that in a moment. Did I mention Christoph Waltz? OK, so let’s move onto the movie’s problems then:

For one thing, what is it? It’s neither really a comedy nor an action-adventure nor a superhero movie. Look, I’m not trying to force movies into specific boxes, I’m all for upending genre conventions, but not just for the sake of it, and I feel like this has been a problem with a lot of movies over the past few years (Kick-Ass and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World as two examples) where they don’t satisfy on any of their given levels because everything is too thin. The Green Hornet is funnier than it needs to be, to the point of distracting, but it’s not as action-adventury as it should be, and I’m not even sure the word “superhero” applies at all. Just a muddle, then.

Speaking of muddle: the 3D was such an afterthought that it was almost offensive? I’m probably using the word “offensive” wrong, but it WAS badly done, and it DID cost extra dollars for the privilege, so I’m not OUT OF LINE.

But the movie also had lots of very specific problems. For example: when Reed and Kato go out on their first adventure (which is basically just a teenage prank) and end up in a car chase with the police, the very first impulse these two guys have, guys who we are led to believe are mostly just normal guys and not sociopaths, is to basically fucking MURDER A COP?! Whoa. Very intense choice, boys. There are lots of things like this in the movie that are completely unmotivated–even for a comic book movie. Like, it’s one thing to accept that a District Attorney has made a back-room deal with a violent crime syndicate, but are we really supposed to believe that he would pull out a handgun and lead a gang of thugs into a shoot out in the offices of the city’s largest newspaper? In general, everyone is very prone to extraordinary acts of violence in a way that is surprising. Like, at the end of the movie Britt and Kato are actual for real murders, NOT THEORETICAL. That’s scary. Murder is awful? And how come all of a sudden Seth Rogen is super good at fighting in the end? There is nothing that he has done throughout the entire movie that would suggest he has developed any kind of fighting skills whatsoever. And has anyone ever inserted a USB thumb drive into a computer’s USB hub and immediately gotten a “data loading” sequence? Some of these are just nit-picky details, but they’re not THAT nit-picky. I mean, sure, the movie is set in a cartoon world, but even cartoon worlds need to have some kind of basic in human logic.

Meanwhile, Michel Gondry seemed to be having a tough time. Like, he couldn’t just make a straight up “Michel Gondry movie,” but he also didn’t seem to have the heart to make a “normal movie,” and so he couldn’t keep his impulses (built mostly out of felt, pipe cleaner, and MEMORIES) in check without getting real distracting. By the end, everyone seemed kind of exhausted and like maybe they didn’t want to be in this movie anymore.

Mostly, though, The Green Hornet was just boring. And when it comes to comedic action-adventure movies with superhero elements, the very worst thing you can possibly be is boring. IT IS THOSE MOVIES’ KRYPTONITE! Get it? Kryptonite is a superhero thing or whatever. And it’s, like, really bad, I think? You probably get it, but email me at [email protected].

Did you guys see this movie? DID YOU SEE THE #1 MOVIE IN AMERICA?