Aiming to please but getting no respect: the biggest foes for 2011's The Green Hornet might be the hard to please uber-geeks.

Even if I had the extra cash to grab the airfare and dress up like Marvel Comics hero Daredevil or an Imperial Stormtrooper from Star Wars, I must confess that I had no real desire to ever attend the mecca of geekdom, the famous San Diego Comic-Con. Among the films hogging for attention are a few films about to open, namely the very impressive looking sequel TRON Legacy, a film which I already made up my mind I’m paying full price for. I’m also looking forward to the action films The Expendables and Machete, although I had already made up my mind long before the movie news reports from last weekend. The biggest news out of Comic Con, of course, was the upcoming slate if films based on DC Comics properties (Green Lantern, Superman, Batman) and Marvel (specifically Thor, Captain America and The Avengers) . I didn’t hear much about the upcoming Conan film, but I’m sure it was covered too.

But there is one film in question that had a presence at Comic-Con, and nobody really seemed to care. That film is The Green Hornet, which has appeared in various media for many decades, starting from radio and film serials of the 1930’s and 40s, to comics to -where the team of Britt Reid and Kato are best known- the 1960’s TV series and was played by Van Williams and Bruce Lee. The road to getting a Green Hornet film was a long one, and it took, of all people, Seth Rogen to be passionate enough to make it happen. It should be noted that before the project, one of Rogen’s recent films as an actor was the Kevin Smith comedy Zack and Miri. Kevin Smith has near deity quality at any comic-con big or small. Smith was also attached to write and direct a version of The Green Hornet in 2004. Smith’s script would later be slightly altered to appear as a Green Hornet comic book miniseries run. Smith didn’t actually say why the project stalled. But when I read the reports over what happened at this past weekends’ Comic Con, I remembered something Smith once said in an interview with Techland

“Why bother (making a superhero movie) after Chris Nolan made The Dark Knight? Every comic book movie is never going to measure up to that”

And that’s one problem with the upcoming Green Hornet at Comic-Con. Yes, it could be cool, but nobody wants to be late for the X-Men First Class panel or to know whether or not the Riddler will appear in the next Batman film, and then there’s the hoopla regarding Thor. These are not bad things, but with so many pop-culture icons arm-bending people for attention, it goes without saying that someone could end up wanting. And that’s just films that are based on comics properties. There are plenty of other movies and TV show panels and presentations.

Then there’s problem number two-my personal pet peeve never fails to rear its ugly head. Remember way back when in the late 80’s when Micheal Keaton won the role of 1989’s Batman? Or that big stink a few years back over Daniel Craig being “all wrong” for 007 because he had blond hair? Same thing applies to Seth Rogen. He can do drama, but he’s more connected to, for better or for worse, the Judd Aptow raunch comedies. Rogen can be really funny too. If at Comic Con, the news was about Pineapple Express 2 nobody would think twice about it. But Rogen chose Hornet.

Seth Rogen (front) and Jay Chou star in 2011's The Green Hornet

Rogen lost weight, worked out a little, but he still hasn’t really won over anyone one hundred percent, so it would seem

The Green Hornet panel began well enough, with Rogen walking out and instantly apologizing. “I’m sorry if you were expecting Ryan Reynolds,” joked Rogen. Then a more expanded version of the trailer was played, and when it was finished Slashfilm reports “people started exiting the panel.”

What the departed missed was a 3-D clip of the movie that most sites found to be pretty awesome.

That’s a huge problem-but not surprising. The movie news internet sites (most of whom just report news items) have followed the film, and its rocky road to getting made under Rogen’s involvement. It is clear that Rogen wants a more action-comedy and some of that shows in the trailer. In my view, Sony has lost the comics fans at the con, hands down. I don’t think it is a stretch that they have generally have made up their minds. It doesn’t help matters that the film will be released in the January morgue next year. What will matter is the fans who are into pop-culute nostalgia and whatever new crop of audience that can possibly go. There might be a handful among the die hard comic con geeks, but the narrow minded Kool- aid drinkers are going to be hard to sway.

No, I’m dead serious. And I’ll be cold as ice. I said it many, many times before. Not one filmmaker, big or small, can ever fully please a comics fan. It will never happen. Not during prep, not during production, not in post and certainly not in/after a film’s reelease. It is the general, mass moviegoing populace will will ultimately decide on what is a hit or miss. But what gets me is that CC folks walked out of a presentation and will blog/tweet/grumble about how rotten Green Hornet will be.

As far as I’m concerned, they lose that respect. I’m interested to see Micheal Gondry’s film, but I don’t think that Gondry and Rogen have to explain and defend a driven vision for a film. That’s more than I can say for films that fans hype to death and turn out to be duds. If fans are so willing to give actors a chance, films a chance, why is Seth Rogen an exception?

Advertisements