DIRECTED BY MICHEL GONDRY
STARRING: SETH ROGEN, JAY CHOU, CAMERON DIAZ, CHRISTOPH WALTZ, TOM WILKINSON, EDWARD JAMES OLMOS, ANALEIGH TIPTON, DAVID HARBOUR and JAMES FRANCO
I’m still not past my Rogen-trance and neither is he. I guess that’s two good things for the film world, giving a sort of double scope for appreciation and a little less of a chance to look/be looked down upon. One of the predominant reasons why I actually chuckled when looking through the roster of actors who could have played ‘the Green Hornet’ in versions that so rightfully fell through. Mark Wahlberg? George Clooney? Nothing on the old man, of course, but I cannot see the foolhardy, clumsy-to-death villain of a hero being played by anyone else. I mean, if not Seth Rogen, it’s no one else. And that’s not a measure of magnanimity that he thrusts into character, but a mark of his own cartoony persona – Jonah Hill could perhaps play the Hornet, but he’s not old-looking enough for Tuxedos. Or so I feel.
Once it’s clear that the Hornet would most definitely distinguish himself from the long list of superheroes who have literally scraped the bottom off of Hollywoodland, there’s not much for the director to do except to play his set-pieces well, and that pretty much involves getting them right in the first place. Christoph Waltz is hilarious; ingenious even, at times. In a performance where he barely cracks a smile, his Bloodnofsky shows to be one of the funniest supervillains of all times, comparable to Steve Carell’s Gru in ‘Despicable Me’. He comfortable abstains from thrusting any vicious energy into his role, even for an alarming second or so, thus helping the film with its lethargy – a direct indication at the Hornet and most definitely, of Seth Rogen.
A few may commend Jay Chou for his inimitable presence as the unnamed sidekick. Well, I do not commend for presence, I commend for meaning and though the role had meaning, he didn’t. I could replace him with ‘Bolt’ the superdog and it wouldn’t make a difference. Cameron Diaz, on the other hand, I found commendable. She’s a subtle mix of shrewdness and stupidity, a spark of charm, as well as an on-your-toes comic action that makes her Lenora nearly perfect – “one hell of a brainy broad”, as Britt Reid himself puts it. And James Franco exasperates in a cameo, I’m frankly seeing too much of him these days, give me a break! Barring the usual ‘two-faced’ DA, murdered Dad and the wise guy who pats on your shoulder (even if bullet-wounded), there’s nothing else.
A fairly good music score, some nice action and a whole lot of comic effects hovering around, I would give this film writing credits at the most. For all I know, Sam Raimi could have made this film and I’ll still feel the same. I guess it’s more or less a Seth-or-no-Seth thing, the dependence being only too much on him in this than anything else he’s ever been in before. Kind of does a Sacha Baron Cohen, but with a bit of focus about him – guess that’s where Gondry would have come in, to make sure his winning horse doesn’t coke up too much and run the last lap backwards. And he didn’t run backwards – that’s about all that I can say.