Recently, the first trailer for the new Green Hornet film was released. I gots me some opinions on it!
First of all, I had some hope for this film. Casting Seth Rogen as Britt Reid/The Green Hornet hardly seemed like a good idea. But, Michael Keaton, who previously played mostly comedic roles, was cast as Batman in the Tim Burton movies and those turned out pretty good. So, I decided to withhold judgment. Now that the trailer's been released, I think those doubts about Rogen as the Hornet were justified.
I really don't like what they did with Reid's character. Like most people, I came to know about the Green Hornet through the '60s television series with Van Williams as the lead role and, most notably, with Bruce Lee as his faithful valet Kato, the role that introduced him to America. Though it was made by the same people who did the campy Batman show, it was played straight and felt more like a crime drama than a superhero show. It only lasted one season, but it had enough of a following that it got reruns all the way into the '90s, when I saw it as a kid. I've watched the film serial from the '40s recently. In both of these, Green Hornet is a fairly serious character who occasionally cracked jokes and as Reid, feigned ignorance and played the role of the rich playboy as part of his cover. Why in the world did they feel the need to take this character and make him a complete goofball as well as genuinely incompetent? Most of my hope for this new film was shattered when the trailer showed Britt shooting himself in the face with the gas gun, the Hornet's signature weapon.
Yes, the Hornet didn't have that much of an origin story and this movie is obviously going that route. But this trailer makes Reid look childish in putting on the mask and trying to be a hero, rather than heroic. That may work for something like Kick Ass, but not for a classic pulp hero. Kato is a better fighter than the Hornet in the TV show and in the serials he's the one who designed the weapons as well as the Black Beauty. Plus, he was played by Bruce fucking Lee. So it's understandable that they want to take him out of the servile role and put him onto a more equal footing with Hornet. But in trying to do so, they've made the title character look incompetent. It's like Hornet is playing the Watson to Kato's Sherlock Holmes.
I've already read some comparisons to Batman, which I feel are a little unfair considering the Green Hornet (1936) premiered three years before Batman (1939). This may be an attempt to try to distinguish the Hornet from the Bat, but it doesn't seem to be working. I've heard some other compare this trailer to Iron Man and I can defiantly see that.
I also don't like how the Hornet and Kato have this huge arsenal of weaponry. While it's not as explicit as with Batman or Superman, Hornet is adverse to deadly force which is why he used a gas gun that only knocked people out and the Hornet's sting which fired electric shocks and was mostly used for breaking locks and disarming enemies. The Black Beauty should not have a pair of mini-guns on it.
Another thing that really bothers me about this trailer is the music they use. I have to assume whoever made that decision knew very little about the source material. “Hmm, what music should we put in the trailer? Let's see, the theme in the radio program was 'Flight of the Bumblebee', the theme in the film serials was 'Flight of the Bumblebee', the theme in the TV show was a completely AWESOME jazz arrangement of 'Flight of the Bumblebee'. I've got it! Get me Royce da 5'9 on the phone!” Christ. Even the 2007 fan film had "Flight of the Bumblebee" in it.
Now there are some good things about the trailer. Jay Chou, the guy playing Kato, looks pretty good, the action looks decent as does the cinematography. Though if any movie should have had a more retro kind of noir look, it's a Green Hornet movie. Plus, the basic story as laid out by the trailer is something one would have expected a Green Hornet film to be. Though it's execution looks like it will leave a lot to be desired. This is just the trailer after all, I don't want to declare the movie bad (though I expect it to be) until I've seen it.
This is cross posted at my new blog Nerdo Flux. Go check it out!