COMIC-CON 2010: ‘The Green Hornet’ tries to buzz

July 24, 2010 | 3:17 a.m.

Comic-Con attendees weren’t quite sure what to make of “The Green Hornet,” Seth Rogen’s reincarnation of the 20th century radio/television superhero. In Hall H on Friday, the footage played to a decent, if not rousing, reception and afterward, many of the questioners were as eager to talk about their love of the actor as they were about their excitement for the January film.

Greenhorn

It’s not for lack of some heavy-hitting talent. Rogen, who wrote the script with Evan Goldberg, of course succeeded in landing top-tier names, including indie auteur Michel Gondry and Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, both of whom turned up at the Friday panel.

But despite the all-star lineup, the teaser session for the Sony Pictures’ movie about former playboy Britt Reid, his titular alter ego, and his wing man Kato didn’t necessarily bowl over audiences. Footage — essentially an extended trailer — showed action scenes that were reasonably received and several comedic elements that didn’t quite hit. As it did in the original trailer, the movie seemed to confuse some moviegoers by falling in-between kitschy action and more self-serious inspiration (“It’s not dying you and I have to be afraid of. It’s never having lived in the first place”).

Gondry affected a serious tone that didn’t play as naturally to the crowd as other directors have. And while Waltz drew huge applause after his turn last year in “Inglourious Basterds” — and was refreshingly honest with the un-Comic-Con-like admission that he actually wasn’t a comic-book person (most attendees swear they’ve been geeks since birth) — he did prompt some catcalls in the usually appreciative crowd for the admission.

But mostly the questions went to Rogen — some of them from fans on the spacey side, prompting the star to make plenty of stoner jokes (about them and himself).

The movie of course also has the misfortune of arriving at the same Comic-Con as the more straightforwardly superheroic “Green Lantern,” which Rogen — no doubt having encountered the confusion before — acknowledged by emerging on the stage and quipping to the audience that he knew they were expecting Ryan Reynolds. (More here on the entire development and production of “The Green Hornet” from my colleague Geoff Boucher.)

Rogen did put a decent spin on the film’s 3-D conversion, which has been a bete noir for Comic-Con audiences this year, saying that he and Goldberg had wanted to shoot that way from the start.

Maybe the most noteworthy element of the panel, and film, lies with Rogen’s evolution. With his character going from playboy partier to purpose-driven superhero, Rogen did acknowledge he was turning away from the schlubby loser character he had perfected in several Judd Apatow movies. “In this movie my character becomes a lot more heroic than he does in any of my other movies. It’s a little different from anything I’ve done.” It’s still an open question how much audiences will want to see those differences.

— Steven Zeitchik

http://twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: ‘The Green Hornet.’ Credit: Sony Pictures

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Comments


3 Responses to COMIC-CON 2010: ‘The Green Hornet’ tries to buzz

  1. Scarlett Girl says:

    Your article makes no sense. If the footage played to a "decent, if not rousing, reception", how can you also say that the movie seemed to "confuse some moviegoers." It's obvious you have a personal distaste for the movie, but I was in that hall, and from where I was sitting, it seemed everyone was pretty into it. I know I was. You say "It's still an open question how much audiences will want to see those differences." I couldn't disagree more. Everyone around me was pumped and thrilled.

  2. PrayfortheIranianBas says:

    Comic Con was insanely fun just like last year…even better…i expect san diego to fall into the sea from the crush of people.

  3. Sam says:

    Everything about this film's promotion stinks of desperation. Using the Green Hornet Girls out by the railroad tracks with the Black Beauty is like something out of the 40s with a, "When you got nothing, go with some sex." Quaint to say the least. The car is just a weak knock-off of what has been done in the past (Tim Burton's Batmobile). I was at the Con and no one was running around in Green Hornet and Kato outfits all pumped up for this movie. The reason is obvious. This film looks like a mess to everyone, not just a savvy Comic-Con crowd. There is a reason people are confused at what to expect because the trailer swings from camp to…more camp. The studio is stuck with selling this slight bit of nothing and have thrown in 3-D to get some extra bucks during the first weeks just to pump up the ticket costs before it lands in the dumper. Audiences today don't want to laugh AT their heroes but WITH them. Take that scene where Kato blows up the red light camera. Or the one with the gas gun knocking the ineptly stupid Rogen/Reid out. It all seems so tired and so low-brow Hollywood. Hell, the costumes and car offer nothing new on updating from the 60s TV series. What is ironic is that show died because it played the action straight when camp was in. Now this film is going for camp when comic hero movies are expected to be played straight.

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