Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yes, No, Maybe So: Green Hornets and Blue Smurfs

Stepping away from the Oscar bait trailers for a moment, let's take a spin on the color wheel. Will you have blue (The Smurfs) or green (The Green Hornet) or will you going to hold out for something red or purple?

Let's apply the Film Experience's trailer treatment Yes, No, Maybe So™ to both starting with The Green Hornet (2011).



Yes It's directed by Michel Gondry who made movies as visually singular as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep and as energetic and fun as Dave Chappelle's Block Party. Plus, Christoph Waltz is the villain and we already know what he can do in that department.
No But... I'm confused. Could this look any more generic? It looks like Stephen Sommers or Mark Steven Johnson directed it, yes? The plot seems to be some weird mishmash of Batman and Kick-Ass instead of a Green Hornet story. Finally that 3D tag at the end just depresses. I have nothing against 3D but it's just starting to feel like a desperate peer pressure crutch at this point, like wearing the same brand name jeans/shoes as everyone else lest the kids at school make fun of you. If you're a gifted stylist like Gondry, do you really want to be aping other people's looks?

Maybe So Perhaps the trailer purposefully looks generic to rope in people who are scared of visual originality (i.e. unfortunately large percentage of moviegoers)? Also, remember when Jay Chou (Kato) was lusting after his hot mom Gong Li in The Curse of The Golden Flower. No? Okay I'm stretching but maybe he'll be good? But then I'm back to no. Because why does Kato still have to be a manservant in 2010? Think about it: Kato has the knowledge, the weapons and mad crime fighting skill. Plus he has to teach the bumbling rich white boy. So why isn't the white boy the sidekick? Please to explain.

And... The Smurfs (2011)



Yes Well, the cast (not featured here but for Neil Patrick Harris) is interesting.
No Jesus! Is that really Tone Loc's "Wild Things" playing underneath the lalalas? This was made in what decade exactly? If this is all they got did they really need to release a teaser already?
Maybe So Live action mixed with animation once produced Who Framed Roger Rabbit and that's a totally classic comedy so maybe...

oh, never mind. NO to the lot of ya.

Are you a yes, no, or maybe so on these two?
*

22 comments:

The Man Behind The Curtain said...

The Green Hornet: Every year, I make a list of the 10 films that I absolutely want to see during the given year. I've only seen all 10 in the calendar year once. Last year's was ruined by the limited release of The Road. So I was really looking forward to completing the list again this year until The Green Hornet moved to 2011 in order to be converted to 3D. This isn't actually a complaint against the movie, just another reason why I can't stand 3D.
Otherwise, The Green Hornet is now a maybe.

The Smurfs: Never in a million years.

Andrew R. said...

Green Hornet: Maybe so.

Smurfs...not going to justify that with an answer.

Volvagia said...

That trailer for the Green Hornet?

Yes. I'm not certain based on that trailer that either character is more talented at heroics than the other. And, as you said Michel Gondry can make visually well executed pictures and vitally energetic ones.

No. On the construction of this trailer, the villain seems to be utter background trimming. And considering this is the second attempt to actually be funny within a genuine superhero movie, they need a villain to match if they want to draw in an audience.

Maybe So. The January release date has me debating: Is Hollywood going insane, or is there a lot less action in this movie than the trailer's convincing us of?

James T said...

No and No. Enough said.

Volvagia said...

The Green Hornet: Maybe, leaning on yes.

The Smurfs: You have to ask?

D said...

AICN posted a short interview with Rogen about "Green Hornet" today, and the most amazing part is when he explains how Cameron Diaz came to the set on additional days to help Chou work on his English, to make sure that their scenes went smoothly despite some language issues. And Rogen brought this up as evidence of how great Diaz is, not as evidence of how troubled that production must have been. Honestly, "Cameron Diaz teaches English" is the premise for a bad SNL skit; it's not how you make a movie.

JA said...

Granted I haven't even watch the Green Hornet trailer yet but nothing but death can keep me from it, to get all inappropriately Nettie from The Color Purple up in here. Michael Gondry made Eternal Sunshine, and Eternal Sunshine equals a lifetime pass of me seeing whatever he makes.

As for The Smurfs, well... I loves Smurfette, God knows I do. But I'll kill her dead fo I let her beat me.

The Man Behind The Curtain said...

D: "Honestly, "Cameron Diaz teaches English" is the premise for a bad SNL skit; it's not how you make a movie."

Check plus for you!

Alex Ho said...

All I can think about is the Simpsons episode that was co-written by Seth Rogen and Even Goldberg about "Everyman", and how I really wish it's not a reflection of their frustrations from making this movie. Also, I understand that they needed someone like Jay Chou, after Stephen Chow dropped out, to secure the Asian market. But I still cannot forgive Hollywood for denying some worthy Asian American actor out there a star-making role, especially after the M. Night Shyamalan "Avatar" debacle.

NATHANIEL R said...

@Alex -- but this movie shouldn't be blamed for AIRBENDER's problems. But i agree as in WTF M Night? And why would an Asian American be better than Jay Chou?

or maybe you don't like Jay Chou?

@JA -- you always make me lol.

@The Man Behind -- isn't that weird how the most anticipated gets all changed up throughout the year.

@D -- probably a good point, yes.

/3rtfu11 said...

Maybe So Perhaps the trailer purposefully looks generic to rope in people who are scared of visual originality (i.e. unfortunately large percentage of moviegoers)?

Nathaniel -- I hate to inform you but Michel wants to move away from his pretentious auteur stature. When Seth approached him about the direction of the project – he said he could go anywhere -- including making a version of the movie that was all paper cut out people based – Michel rejects the idea that he can’t work in more conventional methods. He also wants to direct Hip Hop videos!

Alex Ho said...

In response to "why would an Asian American be better than Jay Chou?":

Maybe I'm putting too much weight on the Kato role. I never saw the original Green Hornet, but since it seems to have made Bruce Lee a star, I'm assuming it's very iconic, and the thought of an unknown Asian American in the role today, when there's such a dearth of them, is exciting to the identity-politics side of my brain. Since this is a Seth Rogen-conception of the Green Hornet, I was hoping for an actor who could be Rogen's equal in the comedy side of things, and comedy strikes me as being really language-specific. But you're right; that doesn't necessary mean an Asian American would be better than an international star. This is an action movie after all, and Jay Chou has done a lot more action roles over the years. Chow Yun Fat and Gong Li have somewhat crossed over in memorable roles. Maybe you pinned it down, and it just comes down to me not liking Jay Chou, whom I know first as a pop singer/rapper and second as an uncharismatic but passable actor.

Josh said...

"It looks like Stephen Sommers or Mark Steven Johnson directed it, yes?"

Hell, no! The trailer is full of beautifully composed images that neither of the above directors could pull off on their best day. There aren't many Gondry-esque flourishes, but sometimes a great filmmaker working in a classical mode is plenty pleasurable enough.

I was mixed/negative toward this film before the trailer - now I can't wait to see it. I'm really surprised at the mixed/negative response so far.

Henry said...

I saw the Smurfs teaser for the first time before Toy Story 3 this past weekend and actually wondered aloud whether ANY of the kids in the audience even KNEW what the Smurfs were. I doubt many did sadly...

No thanks on either movie. And I liked the Smurfs cartoon when I was a kid. And are people serious about actually buying into the fact that Seth Rogen can be a credible superhero? Come on! Doubts about Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man was one thing, but Rogen I just can't see as a superhero.

jessica said...

I'm still curious what Stephen Chow would have done with the movie, had that not fallen through.

Volvagia said...

They may, and this is only a may, be going the "superheroism is really juvenile" angle without drenching themselves in blood and torture, like every critic notes Kick-Ass does, whether they liked it or not. Taken like that, casting a non-charismatic, way atypical choice like Rogen is a way at advancing that theme without having to state it continually throughout the story.

NATHANIEL R said...

<3rtfull -- "pretentious" is about the last word i would use to describe Gondry's auteur stamp. I don't know why anyone would want to move away from such joyous abilities. I don't begrudge anyone making some money on something more mainstream but hopefully he'll elevate like he did Block Party which in lesser hands wouldn't have been as well executed.

Josh -- i'm glad someone liked it. Maybe I'll watch it again and try to spot those images but it looks horribly generic to me all the way down to its color palette and obsessively catalogued weaponry.

henry -- agreed that the Smurfs brand doesn't really seem to be that cross generational.

Flat said...

Because why does Kato still have to be a manservant in 2010? Think about it: Kato has the knowledge, the weapons and mad crime fighting skill. Plus he has to teach the bumbling rich white boy. So why isn't the white boy the sidekick? Please to explain.

Maybe it'll be kinda like Big Trouble in Little China, and Kato will be the sidekick in name only.

chris na Taraja said...

A maybe on the Green Hornet, because Kato is a hottie! In China they used to call the Green Hornet the Kato show or the Bruce Lee show.

I wouldn't go see the Smurfs if you payed me to see it! that looks truly stupid.

Glenn Dunks said...

Yes, I want to see Green Hornet. Michel Gondry making an action movie is fascinating and this one looks very Dick Tracy meets Darkman to me. And I have an incurable crush on Seth Rogen. I just do.

The Smurfs on the other hand. You mention Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but fail to include that it is directed by the man who made another live action/animation cross breed, Scooby Doo. Yikes.

JP said...

I doubt I'll see either one in the theater, but I have a question:

Why not give a "Directed by Michel Gondry" mention in the Green Hornet trailer? It couldn't hurt (it's not like the core audience for this even knows who he is), but might make the more "sophisticated" film fan more interested.

NATHANIEL R said...

JP -- i think hollywood shoots themselves in the foot there all the time when it comes to directors. For instance shouldn't the name CHRIS NOLAN instantly put asses in seats. And yet they promote everything as "from the director of The Dark Knight" and that just trains people to never learn the names of the directors.

M Night Shyamalan had it right in using his own name as brand. too bad about the films though.