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Will the 'Green Hornet' trailer win over fanboys or scare them further?

June 22, 2010 | 12:11 pm

Hard-core superhero types have always been a little worried about Sony's "Green Hornet" -- which, with the likes of Michel Gondry and Seth Rogen, isn't overspilling with superhero veterans -- and we're not sure they'll be appeased by anything in the new trailer, which appeared online today.

There's a lot of wisecracking from Rogen, who plays the titular character, the playboy son of a newspaper baron (aren't they all?)  who resorts to gadget-minded superheroism after his father's murder. From the trailer, Rogen plays the part with that gee-whiz, kid-in-a-candy-store face that he worked to perfection in "Knocked Up," an overgrown adolescent who just seems to be delighting in it all (with "it all" here a hip-hop, "Kick-Ass"-style of splashy cartoon violence).

The Green Hornet has never been as rich a character as, say, Batman, and fans (OK, commenters on YouTube) could be heard from miles away lamenting that the film seems to have gotten the lighter treatment instead of the dark fantasy touches that mark much of Gondry's previous work.

Of course, while studio Sony may be concerned about fanboys, there's a much wider audience out there that's not especially preoccupied with fanboy mythology, and they may be more inclined to take notice of this film now that it plays cheeky.

That doesn't necessarily mean the movie will be good -- the pairing doesn't exactly smack of the second coming of Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr.,   another unlikely star-director pairing that imbued a forgotten character with life in "Iron Man" (Rogen doesn't have nearly the range that Downey does). And the character may have warranted something slight, but more serious. But at least it doesn't treat a storyline that was created in early 20th century radio and film serials like the Sermon on the Mount.

-- Steven Zeitchik



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Comments () | Archives (11)

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I know it's hard to do costumed superheros with a straight face, but this is way too comical for my taste. Britt Reid is supposed to be dashing - Don Draper in a mask. Very unhappy.

As a fan of The Green Hornet before the much more serious sixties TV series[at least the TV series was pretty much straight action-adventure], I have to say that I liked the trailer more than I expected.

I'm just not sure that an entire movie shot with that tone will hold up under any kind of scrutiny [critics, fanboys, John Q Public]. I hope Michel Gondry's gift for weird, dark undercurrents surface at some point.

What the hell...???

Seth Rogen has no range.
The mere mention of his name in the same sentence as Downey, yikes!
You made me cringe.

One can only hope that this film will be but a blemish on Gondry's career, and the nail in the coffin for tired note Rogen.

Wow! Can you say "flop"?

Hopefully this will be the end of Hollywood's stupid and wrong-headed obsession with comic books since the public has routinely rejected them left and right (Watchmen, The Spirit, The Hulk (x2!), Ghost Ride, Punisher, Jonah Hex). Even Iron Man 2 was a ho-hum affair that nobody is talking about two months later. ENOUGH ALREADY!

And maybe this will also spell the end for the overrated, overexposed and unfunny Seth Rogen.

Speaking as one who never saw the original series in any form (born late) would have to say that I would at least give this one a whirl. That is from just this quick view. (Who hasn't wanted to blow up those "red light" cameras?) The only thing I know of the series is that Bruce Lee was the original Kato. It looks fun but it better have a real plot otherwise it won't fly.

>>> The Green Hornet has never been as rich a character as, say, Batman

How many of the Green Hornet radio shows, movie serials or TV shows have you listened to or seen? Green Hornet is a crime drama. It is not what you may think of as a "superhero". The character itself is rich because he is posing as a criminal and not a superhero to fight crime. That is some rich character arc, don't you think so?

The radio show ran for sixteen years. There were two movie serials and a cult classic TV show in 1966 starring Van Williams as the Green Hornet and Bruce Lee as Kato. Now that is some rich production history.

Yeah, I lost interest in this film when they announced it would be in 3-D....

Looks like a lot of fun; this is coming from someone who has to sentimental attachment to the source material. I also believe that trailers and other marketing following this trailer here will reveal a lot more. I feel that there may be reason to believe Gondry and company have a few tricks up their sleeve.

"They may be more inclined to take notice of this film now that it plays cheeky."

Oddly enough, comedic movie adaptations of serious TV/radio shows never seem to do that well. Remember Dragnet (1987)? Starksy and Hutch (2004)? Did those films do that well? Did they have sequels? How about Zorro the Gay Blade (1981)? Did that produce a sequel?

Now compare them to The Fugitive (1993) which did very well and produced a sequel-while presenting the story completely seriously. Mission: Impossible (1996) did not completely carry forward the dynamics of the original show, but it did not parody it or spoof it either (in fact, many people found that the 1996 MI did not have a playful tone at all). Also, the serious Mask of Zorro (1998) had a sequel, something Zorro the Gay Blade did not get.

Some people may name Mike Myers and Austin Powers or Leslie Nielsen and Police Squad as counterexamples. However, those started as comedic properties in the first place (Police Squad started as a sitcom on TV, not a serious TV show).

Regarding the comment about not treating the Green Hornet as "the Sermon on the Mount"-actually, this film looks as if it will treat the Green Hornet the way most Christians in America treat the "Sermon on the Mount".

Most Christians in America simply do not follow the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount teaches people not to worry about money, food, clothing or the future. (The Biblical Jesus though that the world would end soon after the Sermon.) Besides, with Seth Rogen as Jewish, this does not serve as a good analogy anyway.


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