‘The Green Hornet’: The Reviews Are In

Movie is 'as much a comedy as it is an action movie,' Cinema Blend's Josh Tyler writes.

Seth Rogen might be laughing that throaty, unmistakable laugh of his at the end of this coming holiday weekend. After a hellish development process, a troubling game of release-date musical chairs, and the seemingly collective declaration from the Internet that his movie would suuuuuuck, Rogen’s “Green Hornet” is set to win the upcoming box-office crown.

Projections put the superhero action/comedy’s opening haul anywhere from the low $30 million range to the low $40 million range. Whether it hits that higher number — making it the first movie to cross the $40 million opening mark since “Tron: Legacy” in mid-December — might well be decided by word of mouth. Thus far, critics seem to be of two minds: those who just don’t dig how Rogen has transferred his slacker-dude comedic stylings to a whiz-bam-pow action flick, and those who, well, totally dig how much fun that transference turns out to be.

Which camp do you fall into? Check out what the critics are saying about “The Green Hornet” and decide for yourself.

The Story
“Rogen plays Britt Reid, a spoiled and irresponsible twenty-something who inherits an independent Los Angeles newspaper after his father James (Tom Wilkinson) dies under mysterious circumstances. Unprepared for the responsibilities of the job, he commiserates with one of his father’s mechanics, the preternaturally gifted Kato (Jay Chou); but when they’re interrupted by real criminals while trying to deface a statue erected in his father’s honor, the duo decides to launch new careers for themselves as superheroes. Branding his alter ego ‘The Green Hornet,’ Reid uses the newspaper to establish himself as a criminal, hoping to protect his real identity from the authorities; but when an actual crime boss named Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz) believes that the Hornet is horning in on his territory, Reid and Kato find themselves under attack from both crooks and the authorities.” — Todd Gilchrist, Cinematical

The Direction
“Michel Gondry has crafted an irreverently funny, ultramodern take on the 1930s radio serial, with a vibe so casual you half-expect star Seth Rogen to amble offscreen and put his feet up on the seat next to you. … Gondry is surprisingly well-suited for a big-budget popcorn adventure. While his projects occasionally threaten to float away on a cloud of whimsy, the outlandish requirements of this genre — like explosive action scenes — somehow keep him grounded. At the same time, his sense of humor and acute visual skill turn a cheerfully unfocused superhero flick into an unexpectedly fun ride.” — Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News

The 3-D
“[A] note on the 3-D. It’s good. Bullet casings rain down on our eyebrows. Kato’s kicks fly past our heads. At times, it seems like every possible object in the frame is rendered in 3-D. Which raises the question: Does the paperweight on Rogen’s desk need to be popping out of the frame? It’s an unnecessary contrivance in a movie that’s already made all the right moves.” — Tom Horgen, Minneapolis Star Tribune

The Dissenters
“The film’s insurmountable problem is that Rogen and Goldberg are committed to the comic notion that Britt is an idiot. This becomes a box that the character and the movie can’t escape. At no point does Britt’s strategy of doing good while pretending to be evil ever reveal itself to be coherent. On the contrary, Rogen’s Green Hornet doesn’t do anybody any good, not even by accident — he just wreaks havoc. Britt is a joke, a parody of a fatuous rich heir. That provides the occasional laugh, as when Britt comes on to his secretary (the long-suffering Cameron Diaz), who loathes him. But when the violence comes, who cares if this fatuous, ineffectual, trouble-making idiot survives?” — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

The Final Word
“More important than the story being told here, though, is how much fun the film seems to be having in telling it. … The movie’s packed with fun gadgets and crazy visual effects, some of which are so outside the box that in another film they might seem strange. Here though, most of them work brilliantly because Gondry’s movie never takes itself too seriously. When reality gets in the way of having fun with the moment, ‘The Green Hornet’ is more than happy to ignore it. Gondry’s vision is a perfect fit with the comedic tone of the script, written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Their film is as much a comedy as it is an action movie — actually it’s better than that, it’s one of the all too rare modern movies which manages to be both.” — Josh Tyler, Cinema Blend

Check out everything we’ve got on “The Green Hornet.”

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