I have three reviews to get through: 1. The Green Hornet 2. Nights in Villjamur and 3. Firefly.
The Green Hornet (2011, dir. Michel Gondry) is a disappointment to say the least. The movie itself is okay, if you ignore the plot holes or plot idiocies (take you pick).
What most crystalizes the problems in this movie is Seth Rogen. He simply fails at portraying Britt Reid. What he plays is a gregarious buffoon pretending to be a hero. Yes, by the end of the movie, he gets over his daddy issues and becomes a much better super hero. But having to go through an hour and thirty five minutes of Rogen’s roaring juvenile antics is too much.
The bright point of the film is Jay Chou, who does a good job as Kato. While the character has to be goofy to match the silliness of the film, I think that Chou manages to hint at the absurdities within the film.
The plot itself is rather tiresome, though it does not rehash the murdered parent casus that many super heroes go through, but wait, it does! The sudden reveal is interesting, but should have come earlier. But then, there wouldn’t be the joke.
The saving grace of the film is really the action sequences, the thrill and comedy of explosions and fighting. One can almost forgive the film its flaws because of the action sequences. But almost.
And the racial, class, and homoerotic tensions between Reid and Kato make for at times funny, troubling, and annoying moments. Kato really should have beaten the crap out of Reid given all of the indignities that he had to endure. And don’t even get me started on the “not-a-gay” joke that peppers the film.
In the end, The Green Hornet, is ultimately a forgettable blockbuster.
Nights in Villjamur by Mark Charan Newton is honestly even more disappointing than The Green Hornet. I had been looking forward to reading this book, and am bitterly disappointed at how it turns out. Newton attempts to marry the New Weird style of China Mieville’s Bas-Lag with a more traditional epic narrative. In this way, elements of Nights in Villjamur are reminiscent of Richard K. Morgan’s The Steel Remains. But Nights lacks both Mieville’s imagination and the raw emotional power of Morgan’s grittiness. Instead, what you have is a rather standard epic fantasy.
I will admit that part of the reason I wanted to read the novel is because of the inclusion of a gay protagonist (although not the lead) named Brynd. His story is done rather well, and I can agree that he is one of two well realized characters (the other being Randur). But the rest of the cast are rather dull.
The plot is confused and varied. Where Newton fails, I think, is that he does not have a clear focus, despite the fact that all of the plot lines are connected. Perhaps that could be because the over all plot is so over used. Who hasn’t seen an evil chancellor plot to overthrow the legitimate royal family? And in this case, did he really need to? There is such a thing as the Glorious Revolution. . .
The world itself is well done, the approaching Ice Age is an interesting concept, and the design of Villjamur the city is interesting. Pity the world is hampered by the plot.
Firefly, Joss Whedon’s cult classic, is an amazing series. The marriage of the western with space opera, of action with light comedy, is very well managed, although for some, perhaps off putting. I have come to admire this series greatly. However, I am not certain that it could have maintained itself had it had more of a chance.
My problem is the film Serenity. While the film is great in its own right, there are numerous problems that do not quite connect with the series itself. Simon and River are integrated into the crew, but in the film, their place is more tenuous. It really does not connect well, I think. However, does the film really indicate how the series (had it continued) would progress? I don’t know.
Anyway, the acting is generally pretty good, by science fiction television standards. Summer Glau’s one liners are well delivered, Gina Torres is amazing, and Jewel Stait is delightful.
There is not much bad I can say about the series. Watching it over the past week has been a delight.
That’s three reviews down. I am still disappointed about Nights in Villjamur, but I may come back to it later. Don’t know if my opinion will change however. My next post will cover Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel and maybe John Keegan’s A History of Warfare.
Posted on June 19, 2011, in Books, Movies, T.V. and tagged China Mieville, Epic Fantasy, fantasy, Firefly, Mark Charan Newton, New Weird, Nights in Villjamur, Richard K. Morgan, Serentiy, The Green Hornet. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.