The Green Hornet trailer was released this past week, answering many questions about how the film will be produced, and raising many more. If you’ve been following the development of The Green Hornet, you’re probably aware that controversy has surrounded many of the producer’s choices over actors and directors. The decidedly un-dashing and un-heroic Seth Rogen has been cast as the titular superhero Britt Reid. And the director is none other than Frenchman Michel Gondry, whose most notheworthy directorial credit so far has been the surrealist piece Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
The trailer can be viewed at http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi616236569/
How dramatic of a departure The Green Hornet would be from Seth Rogen’s previous work was a big question that the new trailer has at least partially answered. The trailer shows Britt Reid as a spoiled rich kid incessantly partying and mooching aimlessly off the fortunes of his father’s media empire-not altogether dissimilar from what we saw of Robert Downey Jr. at the beginning of Iron Man. When his father becomes the victim of a violent crime, Britt reassesses the direction of his life and enlists the help of Kato, who is equal parts martial arts master and gadget whiz.
The action sequences shown in the trailer suggest ultra fast paced and highly stylized fighting; in one quick clip Gondry shows one of Kato’s kicks in such a way that can only be described as fracturing space itself. There’s also a saturation of ammunition that will have viewers recollecting back to the Matrix trilogy.
What’s obvious from the trailer is that we’re going to get a mismatch of Rogen’s shock comedy and Gondry’s highly stylized production techniques (fitting for somebody that has garnered much of his fame through directing and producing music videos). Based on the trailer’s initial viewing, it seems that audiences may be able to buy Rogen as the unlikely superhero. They’re not trying to portray him as a dashing sophisticate in the vain of a Stark or Wayne, just a spoiled kid who hasn’t really found a purpose in life. And newcomer Jay Chou, who plays Kato, seems likely to serve as the straight man to what will surely be a near constant string of Rogen’s sophomorically charming one liners.
What is not at all clear from the trailer is whether or not The Green Hornet will successfully replicate a formula for successful action hero films that requires a measure of dramatic depth from the superheroes themselves. Starting perhaps with the Spider-man series, and spanning X-Men, Batman, Iron Man, and others, the resurgence of critically regarded superhero films has been based upon them illustrating their titular characters as, ironically, highly human and highly flawed.
Will the same great dramatic turn occur in The Green Hornet, or will Rogen and Gondry settle for the kind of slick, mocking shoot em up we would expect from Rodriguez or Tarantino. We may not know until a second trailer is rolled out later this year.
The Green Hornet hits theaters in January of 2011.
The Green Hornet IMDB.com entry. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0990407/. Accessed 6/29/2010.
The Green Hornet official site. Sony Pictures. http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/thegreenhornet/. Accessed 6/29/2010.
The Green Hornet entry at comingsoon.net. http://www.comingsoon.net/films.php?id=19507. Accessed 6/29/2010.