Review: The Green Hornet Blu-ray

The Green Hornet Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Sony | DIRECTOR: Michel Gondry | CAST: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz, Tom Wilkinson, Edward James Olmos, David Harbour
RELEASE DATE:
5/3/2011 | PRICE: DVD $28.95, Blu-ray $34.95, Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD $49.95
BONUSES:
commentary, featurettes; Blu-ray deleted scenes, additional featurettes, movieIQ; Blu-ray 3D adds 3D animated storyboard comparisons
SPECS: PG-13 | 113 min. | Action comedy | 2.40:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1; DTS Surround Sound | English, French and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The Green Hornet is big and colorful and sometimes fun, but ultimately it’s an overlong and unexceptional movie in the fast-filling Hollywood cupboard of large-scale costumed superhero adventures. Green Hornet was originally a radio serial that has been adapted for screens big and small a bunch of times over the years (most notably as a campy 1960s TV show), and the whole of this latest version doesn’t equal the sum of its respectable parts.

The Green Hornet movie scene

Seth Rogen (r.) and Jay Chou sprint into action in The Green Hornet.

The film stars Seth Rogen (Knocked Up) as the spoiled heir Britt Reid who comes into his own as a masked, gadget-toting crimebuster following the death of his father, and Jay Chou (Curse of the Golden Flower) as his kung-fu-kicking driver/partner Kato, Cameron Diaz (Knight and Day) as the gal and Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) as the baddie.

The action comedy has more than enough talent on the screen. Ditto for the creative teams that mounted the film’s razzle-dazzle visual effects, car chases, cinematography and pyrotechnics.

But, overseen by French director Michael Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), the movie simple doesn’t deliver or gel with any comfort or breeziness. Perhaps the dictates of a big-budget Hollywood commercial enterprise are too confining for an arty filmmaker like Gondry. Or it could be that the fights and cars get a bit tiresome by their third go-round. Hell, maybe the movie’s just too long and we’ve seen it all before to better effect in Batman and Spider-Man franchise entries.

The content notwithstanding, The Green Hornet looks and sounds pretty nice on Blu-ray. The nighttime sequences, punctuated with lots of inky greens, play exceptionally well on a good system, and countless explosions, screeching auto pursuits and gunshots give all the speakers a healthy workout.

As for bonus features, there are a whole bunch of featurettes dealing with the film’s stunts, pyrothechnics, casting and creators. The Black Beauty: Rebirth of the Cool, a look at the Hornet’s tricked out 1965 Chrysler Imperial, is the best of the bunch. And it clocks in at a lean seven minutes, a spare approach that the filmmakers should have had in mind for the main event.

For me, the commentary track featuring Rogen, Gondry, co-writer Evan Goldberg and producer Neil Moritz was more fun than the movie. Good-spirited, loose and talkative, the gentlemen recorded the track several months before the film’s theatrical release and they appear to be having a genuinely good time. Candidly offering opinions on their favorite bits, as well as sequences they were weren’t happy about — Rogen describes one scene as “bumpy” and Moritz declares another one to be “irrelevant” — it’s nice to hear a relatively no-bullshit chat about a huge-budget movie by the people who made it.

At one point, Moritz even goes to the bathroom, allowing co-producer Raffi Adlan to take his place, but not before making a very memorable remark. “Sometimes cool wins over logic,” he says about a striking but unrealistic action sequence. Coming from the producer of the Fast and Furious series (including the new hit Fast Five), we’ll buy what he has to say.

 

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.