Green Hornet

The Green Hornet on Blu-ray

A slacker as a superhero? Who'd have thought.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, it just doesn't work. While it's kind of interesting seeing this Green Hornet camp it up as compared with the current Batman franchise's serious turn – almost a reversal of how the 1960's TV series was an "uncamped" counterpoint to the ultra-campy Batman TV series – but it just doesn't work.

It's too bad; we were hoping for another terrific entry into the superhero movie world.

Here, we have Britt Reid (Seth Rogen), a rich kid socialite – kind of a less-drunk "Arthur" for the new millennium – who's never made anything of his life. His father, newspaper baron James Reid (Tom Wilkinson) seems to own an single paper, in Los Angeles, but at a time when newspapers are laying off and becoming increasingly irrelevant, The Daily Sentinal appears to be a huge success.

This allows the Reids to live a lavish lifestyle, with the big house and a stable of wonderful cars including a Bugatti Veyron.

Then the patriarch dies and Britt inherits his empire. Like most people today, he doesn't care a whit about the newspaper business, but he does start a friendship with his father's "human Swiss army knife" of a mechanic, Kato (Jay Chou) who not only tweaks wheels but who also is a super martial artist, pianist, inventor, and barista. What else can the two do than become a superhero team?

Except here, of course, the sidekick Kato is the brains – Reid's really just the money and the attitude.

This is where the film really fails in the suspension of disbelief department. Whereas in the Christopher Nolan Batman films so far (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight), the Bruce Wayne playboy character is an act meant to hide the actual persona (a haunted man whose character drives him to do good, helping protect the good citizens of Gotham), Reid's Green Hornet seems more like a lark, a persona he adopted because he was bored and looking for some excitement.

The bad guy is Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz) who, not surprisingly, wants to rule the Los Angeles crime scene by killing off his competition. Hornet and Kato's plan is to act like criminals so they can meet Chudnofsky and curb his criminal appetite. In the process, there's much mayhem.

In the end, which doesn't come nearly quickly enough, The Green Hornet is a mess that doesn't really go anywhere. It's too bad; the idea is a neat one, but the movie comes off as just an excuse for a studio to try cashing in on the popularity of superhero flicks.

The Sony Blu-ray is far more worth looking at than the movie. The 1080p widescreen picture, presented at an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, is very clean, sharp and colorful. The movie is quite dark, but if nothing else that gives blacks a chance to shine and they definitely do here. There's also excellent detail.

The audio is presented in a dts-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that's also very good, dynamic and immersive and enjoyable. Dialogue is treated, unfortunately, very well; it's very clear and the sound effects move around the home theater nicely.

Extras include an audio commentary as star/writer Rogen, co-writer Goldberg, producer Neal Moritz, and director Michel Gondry get together for a group gab on the movie. This is actually a fairly informative track for anyone who wants to know more about the process of bringing 'The Green Hornet' to the silver screen and learn about shooting techniques and such.

There are nine deleted scenes, a gag reel that pretty well consists of actors laughing at each other when they screw up, a feature on the writing of the film – such as it was – and a kind of neat featurette on the building of the very cool Black Beauty car.

"The Green Hornet Cutting Room" lets you to put together your own series of clips to share online with others, "Trust Me": Director Michael Gondry has the cast talk about how wonderful the director and his vision are, "The Stunt Family Armstrong" looks at the Armstrong family and their stunts for the movie, "Finding Kato" looks at Jay Chou, and "The Art of Destruction" looks at how sets and other stuff were destroyed.

You can also access a Green Hornet theme for your PS3.

We remember the 1960's Green Hornet TV series fondly, but there isn't a lot to recommend about this movie version, which is more a kind of inept buddy flick than a superhero movie.

The Green Hornet, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
119 min. 1080p widescreen (2.40:1), dts-HD Master Audio
Starring Seth Rogen, Cameron Diaz, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz
Written by Seth Rogen & Even Goldberg, directed by Michel Gondry.

Jim Bray's columns are available from the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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