Green Hornet Film and Thoughts on Fandom.

Posted: February 2, 2011 in Movies

The Green Hornet is a big screen adaption of a classic if somewhat obscure superhero. He originally debuted in 1936 (predating Batman) as a radio show, created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker. Trendle also created the Lone Ranger, who in the stories was an ancestor of the Green Hornet. Over the years the character appeared in various comic books, movie serials, and is most known from the 1960s TV series, where his sidekick was played by Bruce Lee. Lee’s Kato and the Green Hornet appeared in one episode of the Adam West Batman TV show.

This film gives a modern update of Britt Reid, a bored playboy whose father James runs a newspaper. He has a strained relationship with his father, who dies mysteriously. He then meets his father’s servant Kato, both of whom did not like the late James Reid, who has a statue over his grave. Britt and Kato decide to deface the statue out of spite, and in the process witness and save a young couple from a mugging.  Exhilarated by the experience, they decide to become heroes for kicks. Britt on camera calls out many of the superhero conceits, and decides to use the newspaper he’s just inherited to play up the idea that this vigilante is a menace. He suggests the name The Green Bee, but a staff member pushes for Green Hornet. Kato is frustrated as he receives little to no mention in the press, and doesn’t even get a comic character name, he’s still just Kato. The pair continue to fight the mob, running afoul of a mob and old school Russian mob boss, who fears he’s falling behind the times and that people don’t really fear him. There’s a reveal at the end to who the true villain is, and the relationship between that villain and the Hornet could have been built up more early on.

Green Hornet shows one thing I’ve never seen in a superhero film, and maybe something I’ve never seen in comics, which is the hero and sidekick vying for a girls affection. That girl Cameron Diaz, who plays a great part on the paper’s staff who knows criminology. There’s also a scene where Kato and the Green Hornet fight. Their relationship grows strained as Kato is frustrated knowing he’s the real man behind the outfit, he has the real fighting skills and the mechanical knowledge to build all the cars and gadgets etc. The last scene was laugh out loud funny to me, which built of something I’ve maybe never seen in comic movies, and rarely happens in comics.

Needless to say the 3D effects were nothing special, I am so sick of writing this sentence.

Green Hornet does what it sets out to do, which is provide a fun goofy exciting film going experience.  8.5

Which brings me to a point I’d like to address. I watched this movie in Vietnam, and the audience loved it. They laughed out loud and had a great time. They especially liked when Kato said he was born in Shanghai (China) and Britt says “Oh I’ve been to Japan.” That got a big laugh. 

However some in fandom fiercely object to the comedic aspects of this film, perhaps fearing another Batman and Robin. Apparently fans walked out of a presentation of this movie during last summers San Diego Comicon. Director Michel Gondry said

I usually identify with the nerds, but these ones just reinforce the social rules. Their values are fascistic,” he said. “All those people marching around in capes and masks and boots. The superhero imagery is totally fascist. When you step into this genre, they feel it belongs to them. They want you to conform, or they won’t like you. They want the conventional. But it’s fine. The movie’s been doing very well, I think, whenever we’ve screened it to normal people.

At the time of this writing the film has been at least moderately succesful, and the audience I saw it with definitely enjoyed it. It’s moments like this I find myself walking away from nerdom. It just seems to be too much complaining, everything sucks, which is why I rarely go on message boards to talk about anything. I know the older comics and radio shows etc were of a more serious tone, but lets be honest, Green Hornet is a mostly obscure character with a goofy name. Batman could also be considered a goofy name, but he’s a household name so it slides. In this case, and most cases, if Hollywood appealed only to the hardcore fanboys the movies would fail. This film is an updated version of an old character that’s funny and energetic. To the hardcore Green Hornet fans out there, ask yourselves, is it not just a good fun movie?
  1. Christiana says:

    You put the lime in the couocnt and drink the article up.

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