Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Knew Casting Seth Rogen as The Green Hornet Was a Bad Idea...

The reviews are starting to come in for The Green Hornet and they are not pretty. As anyone who reads my site knows, I despised this idea from day one. Comic book heroes are not supposed to be slackers-- ever.

Kurt Loder, at Reason.com backs me up on this.

Although Sony denies it, one can imagine the studio’s dismay upon first seeing this mess. The picture was originally scheduled for release last summer; then, in order to (what else?) convert it into 3D, it was rescheduled for December 23. Now, here it finally is, in the depths of January. Where it belongs.

But that's nothing compared to what the San Francisco Chronicle has to say about the film.

The film's insurmountable problem is that Rogen and Goldberg are committed to the comic notion that Britt is an idiot. This becomes a box that the character and the movie can't escape. At no point does Britt's strategy of doing good while pretending to be evil ever reveal itself to be coherent. On the contrary, Rogen's Green Hornet doesn't do anybody any good, not even by accident - he just wreaks havoc. Britt is a joke, a parody of a fatuous rich heir. That provides the occasional laugh, as when Britt comes on to his secretary (the long-suffering Cameron Diaz), who loathes him. But when the violence comes, who cares if this fatuous, ineffectual, trouble-making idiot survives?

It's strange, but even in an action comedy, if the audience doesn't care whether the protagonist gets killed, it's a big problem. Without that one human element, all the carefully orchestrated action becomes mere commotion - and sleep-inducing.


Oh boy.

There are a handful of good reviews over at Rotten Tomatoes, so there may be an audience for this. But, from what I've read, many reviews are backing up my initial assessment that Rogen was never going to be the right guy for this role. But Dana Stevens over at Slate, who has had a chance to actually see the movie, sums up the basic problem.

Seth Rogen must be a master at creating a Rat Pack-like atmosphere of dudely camaraderie on set, because in movie after movie he's given a huge amount of creative control. While he and Goldberg have proven their gift for writing amiable guy-on-guy repartee, they haven't yet been challenged to structure a story, and The Green Hornet doesn't suggest they're about to start challenging themselves. This movie is about a pampered, arrogant young man who rushes to don a crusader mask he's nowhere near ready to fill. Rogen—who's far from untalented, both as an actor and a writer—should take care that the film's story doesn't become his autobiography.

I doubt I'll even rent this one...

15 comments:

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Dude, I knew this movie would suck -- and for that reason.

I can smell a stinker a mile away.

Brenda said...

I too was a little confused about the casting on this one. I love superhero movies, but this isn't one I'm rushing to see.

S.M.D. said...

I was out the second they said "starring Seth Rogen." He isn't and never will be Green Hornet material.

And then Sony hated it. So I knew that was bad too.

And then the Carl's Junior commercials came out...

Honestly, I think 2011 is going to be a really disappointing year for genre movies. Books will hit it big, I think, but SF/F movies are mostly going to suck. Even Green Lantern looks like it's going to be stupid now...Bleh.

SQT said...

Shaun-- I know. It sucks. Green Lantern is not working for me either. I might be on board for "Cowboys vs. Aliens" but that could suck too.

There is such a weird disconnect in Hollywood these days. They pump out loud, busy garbage hoping for a quick buck, but the audiences aren't buying. But do they learn from that? No. They just lather-rinse-repeat. Christopher Nolan cannot make enough movies to balance out the scales...

wheels209 said...

Hi SQT,
I saw an ad on tv that gave this movie 4 stars. I was so shocked. I smell a rat in the marketing department. I will never see this movie.
Take care my friend.
Steve

SQT said...

Wheels-- Yeah, something stinks if anyone is giving this 4 stars. I think first impressions are accurate on this one.

Harry Markov said...

You know, I think I will sacrifice myself and watch it. I want to see how bad it is + I've not read any of the Green Hornet comics, so I won't know how badly it screws up.

BTW who else thinks this is a bad Tony Stark imitation?

SQT said...

Harry-- You're braver than I am. I actually don't think this is very Tony Stark-ish. Rogen seems to be playing the idiot while Stark is brilliant. Stark has his flaws, but he's very capable. The reviews I've read suggest that Rogen's Green Hornet is useless and Kato does all the work.

That's one of the reasons I'm so annoyed at this. Rogen took a perfectly good character and wrecked him.

Charles Gramlich said...

Seth Rogen is anothr guy who I'm not sure how he has a career. I won't be watching it because I want to remember the Green Hornet in a better light.

mcgriffmusings said...

Yeah, I wasn't thrilled with the casting choice either. When I saw the trailer it looked more like a comedy to me instead of a super hero movie. I think I'm with you - I don't see myself renting this one either!

Jamie (Mithril Wisdom) said...

Ouch, that's pretty damning. I'll likely still see Hornet, but doubtful it'll be in the cinema. I wonder if I can get a decent price on the original series?

Carl V. said...

I'm pretty much with you SQT, I don't see myself ever being that desperate for genre entertainment that I need to ever see this, even once it eventually ends up streaming on Netflix.

I wasn't a fan of the character but would have been interested in seeing it had they decided to make something with less camp and a better choice for the lead. I don't dislike Seth Rogen, this is just the wrong roll for him.

And if the early trailers are anything to go by, Green Lantern (featuring another actor who I enjoy, Ryan Reynolds) is going to be another one to avoid.

SQT said...

Carl-- I'm really disappointed in where the genre is going right now. I'm sure the studios are attempting to pander to a younger audience, which is why we're getting the "cute" treatment.

What they don't understand is that respecting the story is all they really need to do. Comic book heroes aren't the most high-brow characters to tackle, but they do connect to the audience on so many levels. It shouldn't be hard to create something much better than what they're currently churning out.

You can tell when the source material isn't being respected. They're just cynically trying to make a buck.

Stewart Sternberg said...

I am going to reserve judgement. Consider this...

What if instead of Seth Rogan they cast Peter Sellers, and instead of trying to make things hip and stir a fanboy mentality with a need to appeal to fifteen year old males who still giggle when they hear the word "penis," they approached it as a comedy, an out and out attempt to lampoon the duality of morality and the genre itself.

SQT, I agree about respecting the source, but perhaps they producers didn't know what direction they were heading in...I can easily see this becoming muddied in a conference room as executives are fighting over what should and should not go in the film in the name of appealing to specific niche. Nolan Ryan's "Batman" came off partly because Ryan was allowed the a creative vision and the freedom to follow through with it.

If you want to worry about a movie sucking...wait till you get a load of The Green Lantern.

SQT said...

Stu-- I don't mind the comedy. But I'm not a fan of the frat-boy stuff. You have to admit Peter Sellers would have done something totally different and it would have been much better. This was mis-cast and not very well thought out from the get-go.

I'm afraid you may be right about Green Lanten too.