'The Green Hornet' attempts to dissect an oddity in the superhero universe (well, he really isn't a superhero since he doesn't have any super powers, but we'll use it for lack of a better term). What if the sidekick was actually the brains and the brawn of the operation? What if the superhero's sidekick was in all respects much better than the superhero? It's an interesting premise, one which is largely overlooked in 'The Green Hornet'.
I think we've reached a Seth Rogen saturation point. He's dropped some weight for the role as the masked vigilante, but he's still the same old Rogen who yells his way through most of his dialogue. One lesson that can be learned from 'The Green Hornet' is to never allow a star who already talks too much to write the script. Rogen, along with co-writer Evan Goldberg, gives the main character character, Britt Reid, way more lines than he deserves. Like the recently released 'The Dilemma,' we find Rogen seemingly unable to shut up, just like Vince Vaughn. His overbearing yelling becomes tedious and grating as the movie labors through its bloated near-two-hour runtime.
Britt Reid is the son of media magnate James Reid (Tom Wilkinson). Reid owns a newspaper in Los Angeles, but lives in a house that makes Aaron Spelling's estate look like a doublewide. Perhaps the most unbelievable aspect about 'The Green Hornet' is its rosy optimism about the newspaper industry. In this movie The Daily Sentinal newspaper is treated like it's the only news outlet in the country. There's a brief mention about how the internet has slowed newspaper sales, but you'd never be able to tell. The Reids live a lavish lifestyle, full of endless supplies of money, fancy cars, and yummy coffee delivered bedside every morning.
Britt is a lousy, good-for-nothing trust fund baby who spends his nights partying and his days recovering from hangovers. He doesn't care much for his dad's business other than the fact that it keeps the family flush with cash. Then his father dies, but Britt doesn't really care, cause his father was a douche. After meeting his father's mechanic, Kato (Jay Chou) who just so happens to be a super martial artist, inventor, and killer piano player, the two decide the only logical thing for them to do is become vigilantes.
Why they decide this isn't quite clear, other than Britt is extremely bored and needs something to occupy his time. The main criminal in LA is Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz) who delivers a somewhat shiny performance mired in a dingy movie. Chudnofsky wants to rule the LA crime scene, and he plans to do so by killing his competition. Britt and Kato plan to act like criminals, but in reality they're trying to save the town. I know, it doesn't make much sense, but it's a way for them to eventually meet up with Chudnofsky and destroy countless amounts of public property in the ensuing car chases and shootouts.
By the way, what happened to heroes that actually care about innocent bystanders? Heroes nowadays are content with smashing up a town and driving through any number of buildings without the slightest thought that there may be someone on the other side. Whenever I see these types of action scenes with would-be heroes I'm reminded of the scene where Will Smith and Martin Lawrence barrel down a mountain side covered in shanties in 'Bad Boys 2' without regard to who might actually be in those houses.
When all is said (and said, and said) and done, 'The Green Hornet' is an overly long jumble that doesn't go anywhere in particular. It seems like just another vehicle to let Seth Rogen shout his lines at us.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment brings Michel Gondry's 'The Green Hornet' to Blu-ray as a 3D combo set with two Blu-rays — one with the movie presented in 3D while the second a 2D disc with all the special features — and one DVD copy of the film. All three are housed in a transparent keepcase with liner art inside that creates a cool 3D effect on the outside.
The Blu-ray 2D disc opens with a series of skippable trailers for Sony products, 'Just Go With It,' 'Battle: Los Angeles,' and 'Das Boot: Director's Cut.' The 3D disc, on the other hand, goes straight to the main menu in 3D. Both show the same menu selection with music and full-motion clips playing in the background.
Michel Gondry's 'The Green Hornet' is another in a short line of 2D movies which were later converted to 3D using the new, James Cameron-designed technology. This means the superhero actioner was never originally filmed with 3D in mind until post-production, where Gondry has stated he participated in and observed the process closely. One thing immediately apparent is the general lack of visual gimmicks which normally take advantage of such optical applications — maybe one or two objects throughout the entire runtime actually attempt to break through the screen. However, unlike the movie's other 2D-to-3D converted brethren ('Clash of the Titans' and 'The Last Airbender'), 'The Green Hornet' is far superior to those disasters, though it doesn't quite match the excellence of Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland.'
The 1080p/AVC-encoded picture displays strong contrast levels from beginning to end. Even through filtered glasses, the 2.40:1 aspect ratio frame has plenty of pop and clarity, showing great visibility in the distance. Most of the movie takes place at night or poorly-lit interiors, but background info and delineation remain perceptible amongst the deep, dark shadows. Blacks are inky rich and profound with excellent gradational detail, adding nicely to the three-dimensional effect. The entire image as a whole possesses great definition, although one can't help but feel that a few sequences have been unintentionally softened by the conversion process. Still, fine lines and textures, from clothes and the faces of actors to architecture and random household items, are distinct and appreciably sharp. The color palette is vividly saturated with bold primaries and other accurately-rendered hues.
On the 3D side of things, the high-def transfer shows great depth and spatial acuity, seeming at times like actors are genuinely moving within a three-dimensional space. The distance between foreground and background objects can be clearly made out and discrete. Michel Gondry's unique visual style is a terrific complement to the 3D experience, and the slow-motion sequences create a cool, tunnel-like effect. Ghosting is kept to a minimum with only a few spots of unmistakable crosstalk. Sadly, much of the presentation feels forced rather than natural or immersive, likely a result of the conversion. Mundane, indoor scenes are layered to such exaggerated and fake proportions that it somehow takes viewers out of the picture's more positive aspects.
In the end, however, it's not one of the worst 3D discs available, and fans of the movie are more likely to enjoy this than collectors of 3D media.
Gondry's big-budgeted superhero comedy arrives with the same impressive DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack as its non-3D counterpart. Interestingly, the packaging on the back mentions the track has been optimized for 3D. What this means exactly is unclear since I couldn't pick up any discernible difference between the two presentations.
Aside from that note, this lossless mix is highly entertaining and active, particularly when Britt and Kato take to the streets and fight crime. Directionality and pans are seamless as random objects and debris fly from the screen into the back speakers. Rears are filled with many discrete effects, mostly outdoors or scenes with large crowds, creating a satisfyingly immersive soundfield. The front soundstage shows a wide expansiveness with terrific balance between channels. Dynamic range is sharply detailed and extensive, delivering great clarity in the several high-frequency action sequences. Low bass is powerfully deep and effective, providing strong weight to punches, kicks, explosions and even the roar of Black Beauty as it drives through the city streets. Amid all the chaos, dialogue remains crystal-clear and precise, making this a very gratifying, near-reference listen.
To tempt home-media buyers into adopting Blu-ray, Sony makes the assortment of special features, shared between both formats, rather small and meager. Wonder if it's actually working.
'The Green Hornet' is a bland action-comedy about an awesome superhero sidekick and his bumbling douche boss. Written and starring Seth Rogen as the title character, which was a bad choice from conception, the movie is simply a lame duck caught in the middle of some insane firefight with bullets and explosions. The only saving grace is Michel Gondry's visual style and Jay Chou's ass-kicking performance as Kato. The Blu-ray 3D disc smashes to home theaters with good three-dimensional presentation, but not quite as impressive or immersive as other 3D titles. The audio is a superior, near-reference experience, and with a wealth of supplemental material to sift through, the package makes a surprisingly excellent purchase . . . but only for those who actually liked the movie.
Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of Dunkirk on Blu-ray. This post features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, and Final Thoughts sections.