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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

trailer break: ‘The Green Hornet’

Take a break from work: watch a trailer…

I thought Michel Gondry was gonna make a superhero movie that didn’t look like every other damn superhero movie. Wasn’t that the idea? Or did Columbia get cold feet at the last minute when they suddenly realized they’d hired a weird-ass French arthouse director and strongarmed him into just xeroxing a dozen other films?

Or — here’s an idea — maybe Gondry has indeed made a weird-ass Euro arthouse superhero movie but Columbia, still with the cold feet, cut a trailer that makes the film look like every other superhero movie, just so the fanboys don’t get scared off? Could that be why it’s getting released in the January dumping ground, because everyone’s terrified that the fanboys won’t get it and it’ll flop?

Or maybe because Gondry did make a regular ol’ superhero movie, and it just plain sucks?

I like the idea of Seth Rogen in this… I’m just not sure now, after seeing this trailer, whether his casting is any longer a sign that we’re gonna get something different.

The Green Hornet opens in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. on January 14, 2011.



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  • JoshDM

    Weird reaction from you on this; I came in with no expectations (never had any, really – no Green Hornet attachment here), and I think it looks pretty good. Also, Rogen appears to have dropped a few pounds.

  • Ryan H

    By several accounts Sony completely freaked out three or four months ago when they saw the initial cuts. Turns out that they were expecting just another superhero movie and got quite upset when Gondry turned in a typical Gondry film. Also, to no ones surprise except apparently Sony’s executives, Rogen doesn’t fit the stereotypical superhero lead image. They hired Gondry and Rogen to make a standard superhero film and are now horrified that they got a Gondry and Rogen film instead.

    My guess is that it is currently undergoing a massive studio re-cut.

  • Rogen has gone on record — months and months ago, way before the rumors that Sony hated test screenings — as saying that he and co-writer Evan Goldberg went up to Gondry and said they were willing to tailor the script to his usual sensibilities and visual style, and Gondry replied that “the idea that you think I want to do that makes me never want to do that again.”

    I think you should expect a Hollywood action picture with dazzling visuals. And there’s a taste — just the briefest glimpse — of “Kato Vision” near the end when a car splits into several pieces.

    Rogen and Gondry also said the first trailer was cut to sell the character and plot, and later ones will elaborate.

  • CB

    @Tyler Foster

    Sorry, I don’t quite get what that quote means.

    Am I to understand that Gondry always wanted to make a by-the-numbers superhero flick, and was mildly offended that the writers thought otherwise?

  • MaryAnn

    Also, Rogen appears to have dropped a few pounds.

    More than a few. He looks good. And I welcome a sort of nontraditional superhero. But it doesn’t really look like this movie is going to offer that: it’s really not enough to just cast an offbeat guy in the lead, you have to do something offbeat with him.

    Maybe the film will do that. But if so, this trailer doesn’t really show it.

  • It does look a bit like a mash-up of Tim Burton’s Batman and Iron Man.

  • bats :[

    Okay, so this isn’t being played as a period piece. As someone who remembers the radio plays (as a kid, a local radio station would play them in the mornings, along with the occasional Lone Ranger one), this looks like absolute crap to me.

    And get off my lawn, you damned kids!

  • Speaking of Tim Burton’s Batman, fans had a conniption when Michael Keaton was cast as Bruce Wayne. Turns out Keaton – who didn’t have the chiseled good looks of say a George Clooney or Christian Bale – was damn good for the role.

    Green Hornet comes to us as less a comic-book hero and was more a pulp thriller hero much like the Shadow of the 1930s. There’s not much of a background to this character other than a crusading vigilante with a cool car and a Asian sidekick with awesome kung fu. So far that’s exactly what I see in the trailer (with the Asian sidekick being smarter and genre savvy than the white lead).

    I’m more worried by the January dump date than anything else.

  • DaveTM

    I read the quote as being more towards Gondry not wanting to be stereotyped as always doing the same thing over and over again. Alot of artists are like that and as soon as something feels safe or expected they move on to something else. Otherwise they get bored.

    That doesn’t mean he’ll give you a standard superhero movie just that he won’t give you a standard Gondry movie either.

  • @Tyler Foster

    Sorry, I don’t quite get what that quote means.

    Am I to understand that Gondry always wanted to make a by-the-numbers superhero flick, and was mildly offended that the writers thought otherwise?

    I read the quote as being more towards Gondry not wanting to be stereotyped as always doing the same thing over and over again. Alot of artists are like that and as soon as something feels safe or expected they move on to something else. Otherwise they get bored.

    That doesn’t mean he’ll give you a standard superhero movie just that he won’t give you a standard Gondry movie either.

    Sort of. Basically the gist is, you don’t sign onto a big-budget studio movie and insistently make an art picture. I mean, he could, but that creates fights and bad blood and recuts and all of that. And DaveTM is right, it’s not like Michel Gondry goes around insistently trying to be Michel Gondry, forcing his nature on other people.

    I think he wants to try to make a studio picture, and not necessarily in a bad way. I think he could bring plenty of crazy, interesting vision to The Green Hornet while still playing by Hollywood’s rules and delivering crowd-pleasing action, if you see what I’m saying. That’s the challenge. Lots of people would say that, I dunno, Terry Gilliam directing Transformers 3 would be selling out, and yet, I would love to see what Gilliam saw in that movie and what he was trying to do, and despite a lot of history where studios and filmmakers don’t get along, there’s no reason you can’t make a visionary movie that is also what the studio wants it to be.

  • Rykker

    I have a feeling this is gonna tank so badly.

    If you’re jonesin’ for a good comic-book film, Red, with Bruce Willis, Dame Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Mary Louise Parker, Richard Dreyfuss, Ernest Borgnine, Brian Cox, Karl Urban, plus a few others, looks like it’s gonna rock.

  • MaryAnn

    you don’t sign onto a big-budget studio movie and insistently make an art picture

    But the flip side is, Why does a studio hire an art director if they don’t want an art film?

  • Orangutan

    Why does a studio hire an art director if they don’t want an art film?

    Isn’t Rogen the one who brought Gondry on to the project? If so, then the answer is ‘marijuana’.

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