Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Superhero Movie: a Flop?

Tonight I saw my first 3-D movie!! I know, everyone reading this is probably thinking, “Jeff, like, where’ve you been? 3-D movies have been the thing ever since Avatar came out. And haven’t you ever seen a film in IMAX?”

Yes, I have been to IMAX, and yes, I am somewhat ‘behind the times.’ That’s true. But did you know that 3-D films were also rather popular in the 50’s? [Apparently, Kiss Me, Kate was once released (successfully too) in a 3-D format.] Or at least, that’s what I learned from Wikipedia: Can anyone confirm this?
Anyways, The Green Hornet (my first 3-D movie) was really great, and not just because it had bullet shells falling on my head and darts flying toward my face. I liked it because it was a funny twist on the not-quite-classic radio-show/TV-series/comic-book hero.

Two things that particularly held my interest:
1.     Interface with 21st century trends in business-technology: Our main villain (Christoph Waltz) aspires to rule the crime world of LA but spirals into a mid-life crisis when young, slick-looking meth dealer (James Franco) doesn’t think Mr. Chudnofsky really looks that scary.

Our meth dealer goes by ‘Crystal Clear’ and his office/den is designed like that of an internet start-up. Whereas Chudnofsky (difficult to pronounce) is said to be old and out of style. He does wield a double-barreled handgun, however.

[Later in the film he’s driven to dress all in red and brands himself “Bloodnofsky” – which only serves to make him seem even sillier.]
2.     A Mixed-Up Sense of Right/Wrong: Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) is the spoiled yuppie-son of a news executive who likes a good party, and good coffee. Like Zuckerberg in The Social Network, Britt is a jerk, and yet our movie’s hero.

Like many a young person inheriting exorbitant wealth and ease, Britt’s egomania lets him have fun without taking on too much (if any) responsibility. Nor does he really care much about the feelings of his ‘sidekick’ Kato (Jay Chou), though he does like Kato’s cool toys – the cars, the guns, the music.

It’s just weird to me that Britt is okay randomly beating up people who live ‘in the hood’ and sensationalizing the news, if it gets him attention, but then is not okay when the friendly but corrupt D.A. (David Harbour) tries telling him what to do. Is it that Britt's afraid the D.A. is gonna keep him from having any more fun?

Britt isn’t so much stopping crime as he is confusing it.
But then, this isn’t really a movie about ethics; it’s a movie about laughs.
So what am I getting at?
The world of comedy ... It's not the place for rules. Nor is the world of vigilantes. [Superheroes fly by the beat of a different drum – in this case, the buzz of a bee.] And so who’s to say this movie doesn’t succeed at being what it is – a bromantic superhero comic-adventure?

It’s got both “Gangsta Paradise” and Franz Lizst’s “Étude No. 39” going on, and it’s got a stunning ’66 Chrysler Imperial or two, and Jay Chou fights like a Sherlock Holmes-Bruce Lee combo, and Seth Rogen fills the film with lame gags:

Britt: “Sit with me, Kato ...Tell me your tale.”
Kato: “I’m from Shanghai.”
Britt: “Aw, man. I love Japan.”

[I have to admit, it made me giggle. And how can you not like what makes you giggle?]
Plus, did I mention? … It’s in 3-D.

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