Green Bees and Ham

The Green Hornet ★★
(USA, 119 min.)
Dir: Michel Gondry; Writ: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz, Tom Wilkinson
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! Is that the sound of The Green Hornet buzzing into theatres to save the day? No! It is the sound of audiences, bored to death by this mindless superhero misfire.

Seth Rogen stars as Britt Reid, a drunken oaf who quickly assumes the role of the Green Hornet. Like most superheroes, Britt is an over privileged loner with daddy issues, but he gains some self-confidence by donning a mask and blowing shit up. The main problem with The Green Hornet is that Britt is neither hero nor anti-hero: he is just a fool. In films like Iron Man, the hero’s playboy antics are forgivable due to his unwavering desire to deliver justice. Alternatively, in films like the revamped Batman franchise, the interplay between good and evil is complicated by the fact that the hero possesses many of the same qualities as the foils he encounters. The Green Hornet, however, goes on an action spree just for the hell of it. Sure, the film tries to work Britt’s antics into a storyline about family honour and the integrity of the news media, but that all gets muddled during the Hornet’s incoherent rampage.

Britt’s obnoxiousness is drastically heightened by the arrogance of Seth Rogen. Rogen's boorish antics work well in a Judd Apatow movie, but they quickly grow tiresome in The Green Hornet. Rogen is so caught up in his pompous/arrogant frat boy routine that The Green Hornet often falters in the funny bits. It all seems juvenile and desperate, and a complete waste of ninety million dollars. (And significantly more brain cells!)

The Green Hornet becomes more disastrous via the stylistic efforts of art house director Michel Gondry. While Gondry’s quirky superimpositions and kinetic editing work wonders in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, they prove fatal to The Green Hornet. Gondry’s visual flairs, moreover, only appear sporadically and thus disorient the viewer. They also make the film uneven and cheesy. Actually, Gondry’s cheese complements the hamminess of Rogen’s performance quite nicely.

The Green Hornet offers a perfect example for any film snob eager to lament Hollywood as an offensive assembly line producing nothing more than idiotic garbage. The sad thing is that The Green Hornet makes that appear to be the case, for despite all the razzle-dazzle of the production, the film is pretty dull. Regardless, The Green Hornet will undoubtedly be back for a second go, as the ending of the movie suggests. At least bees die after their first sting!