Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I'll Be Watching TRON on December 17th, 2010 and Avoiding GREEN HORNET Like the Plague

December 17, 2010 will be a very busy day at the movies. That day will see the release of The Smurfs, Yogi Bear, Tron: Legacy, and The Green Hornet. The Green Hornet is the only one of these films that won't be released in 3-D, and it is likely the only one of the December 17th films I won't see at some point. I am eagerly awaiting Tron: Legacy and my daughters will be 33 months old at that point and will likely pressure me into taking them to see the other two.

The reason I will be avoiding The Green Hornet (or should I write Seth Rogan is The Green Hornet?) like it was the H1N1 virus is that of the four movies coming out next holiday season, it is the only one that will be mocking its underlying IP. One imagines that Yogi Bear will be a loving adaptation targeted at 5 year-olds -- and their parents -- the same can be said of the upcoming Smurfs film. One finds it difficult to believe that the studios would turn those animated features into stoner humor parodies of the original cartoons. As for Tron: Legacy, it speaks volumes that the film includes much of its original cast in what appears to be an attempt to capture what made the original so engaging.



None of this guarantees that the non-Hornet films will be any good, but all signs are that the filmmakers are at least attempting to make enjoyable fare that pays homage to the original.

This is not true of The Green Hornet -- Seth Rogan is The Green Hornet -- which seems to not only be meandering through the production cycle with delays in release date and changes in director and actor during the production phase of the film. It is not usually remarkable when a film changes directors or cast during pre-production, but it is remarkable when the film pushes production because of the changes. The film can't even keep Nic Cage on board, and he's a big enough geek to put up with a lot. In fact, the loss of Cage pretty much eliminates any geek street cred this film could have churned up.

The film had already lost Hong Kong star, and director, Stephen Chow. Last December Chow cited "creative differences" as the reason he could no longer direct the film -- a big hint that the film wouldn't live up to any fan's expectations as a "comedy kung fu film." One can accept a comedy kung fu film directed by Chow, he's one of the best directors of the genre, but when he drops out it's a signal of bad things to come. At that time, Chow was staying on as Kato, but as of this July he has dropped out of the project entirely. Now there's footage of an "accident" on the set of one of the shoots (scroll down to the bottom and watch the video). Apparently Britt Reid is giving a press conference when a shoot out breaks out and Kato has to drive to the rescue...or some such nonsense. The accident link also includes photos from the shoot.

It just looks awful, but at least they pushed the date to "post-Comic Con" so we can get extra hype next summer and have people try to convince us that the film will be good. My thoughts are that if you were to create a drinking game counting the number of bong references and fart jokes in the film, you would be dead by the end of act II. On the positive side, at least they are shooting in Los Angeles.
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