Kinda-Review: Green Hornet (In Which I Become An Old Fuddy-Duddy)

I wanted to go see Tron again.

Heather was going out for a girls’ night with some friends, so the boys and I were having a guys’ night — dinner and a movie. There aren’t many kids’ movies out right now; and they’d pretty much seen them, except for Yogi Bear, and I do have some standards.

I’d seen Tron thrice before, and the boys had seen it twice. They’d seen Green Hornet once before, and I’d not seen it at all, and Finn really pushed for Green Hornet (because he wanted me to see it) over Tron.

I normally would have balked at the PG-13 rating — the recommended age is older than both boys put together — but their granny had already taken them, and all involved swore it wasn’t that bad. So I’m not going to be exposing them to anything they haven’t already seen. Well, OK, then, Green Hornet it is.

I should have stuck with Tron.

The thing that I’ve been wondering since then is whether it was really that reprehensible, or whether it was just my perspective was different watching it with the boys. What would I have thought if I was watching it by myself?

And it was reprehensible. The “heroes” treated each other badly. They treated women badly. Their language was awful. They fought police and put them in mortal danger on a lark. (And these are the good guys.) They were cavalier about destruction of property and endangering bystanders. Arguably, they had no redeeming traits at all. Sure, there’s a “redemptive” level of “helping others,” but it’s really far more about their own self-indulgence; their “help” is self-centered, dangerous and largely unproductive. Even their climactic battle, presented as being important, is ultimately pretty whimsical.

And I’ll admit a further bias that, while I’ve never been a huge Green Hornet fan, I felt like the movie was disrespectful to the original source, which is something that’s a big turn-off for me in movies. If you want to remake  a property, remake it in the spirit of the original. If you want to make something in a different spirit, then use some creativity and do it with your own invention instead of someone else’s.

So I can’t swear that I wouldn’t have enjoyed Green Hornet if I had seen it by myself, but I would imagine probably not. (Adding to this theory — I’ve never seen, nor had any desire to see, any other Seth Rogen movie.)

But it’s another piece of evidence for the state in the growing case that being around the boys is making me an old fuddy-duddy. Exhibit #193 — Last week, I was at the comic book store, picking up my weekly comics. (A good exhibit for the defense, let the record show.) Caden wanted a book, and I grabbed a Star Wars comic off the shelf because it featured on the cover a large number of Clone Troopers, which Caden loves. (I’m not sure whether the prosecution or plaintiff arguments are supported better by the fact that part of me finds it wrong that their post-prequel upbringing makes them think stormtroopers are good guys and not care about Han Solo.)

Flipping through it, I saw that it showed Anakin, sans a good chunk of his arms and legs, dangling from the ceiling, having his cybernetic systems replaced. Later in the book, and somewhat subtly, a minor character’s head is visible mid-frame, having been removed from its proper place via lightsaber. Is this appropriate for a five-year-old? How am I supposed to know? Is it any worse than the last Star Wars movie, which he’s seen?

And I found myself thinking a weird thought, that I never thought I would think.

And let me point out, I think it should be optional, I think you should be able to publish whatever sort of comic book you want, but I think there should be a way of knowing what comic books are appropriate for what audiences.

But, dadgumit, I miss when books were approved by the Comics Code Authority.

6 Responses

  1. Good review on Green Hornet. I think I’m right there with you on comtemporary movies and their sub-par standards when it comes to morality in general. I would say that it is probably a good thing to be classified as a “fuddy duddy” because it shows that you are seeing things are not spiritually right with the message and what they are feeding to the youth. The sad part is that a lot of people (Christians included) are so de-sensitized to this norm of low-grade morality that they are not phased by it and think these types of movies are great. So maybe I am not the only critic of today’s movies and how they have really changed for the worse.

  2. Wow. Three times. You really DO work for NASA.

    I would enjoy someone exploring a two-tiered system allowing characters to wander back and forth between DC and Vertigo (for example), so that kiddies could enjoy a li’l harmless Adam-West-esque “BIFF! WOMP!” while adults could see a criminal-crushing Bruce Wayne who, let’s face it, was bound to be the grumpiest, foul-mouthiest sailor ever to jump ship.

  3. Zack — Thanks for the feedback. Good thoughts.

    Mark — Four, now. And, to be fair, DC does this a little. They do have a kids line more in the style of the animated Batman on one end, and then do stuff like Arkham Asylum on the other. Marvel has their kids line, and then their Max line on the other end. And, really, Dark Horse does kids Star Wars series. So my complaint is a little unfair, save that the middle ground between the two is pretty huge and can be hard to navigate.

  4. I only recently learned that DC – the last holdout with the CCA – is in the waning moments of phasing it out. In fact, it may be “phased” as of this writing. My understanding is they will have an age-appropriate rating in the UPC box that is modeled after video game ratings (E for Everyone, etc.)

    I’m feeling you on the Seth Rogen.

  5. I actually tried to gin up some excitement for the Green Hornet movie, but I’ve never seen enough of the old show to have any nostalgia for it, I’ve never been super-compelled by the concept, and, joining the chorus here, I’m not crazy about Seth Rogan. I have seen several of his movies, and I’m convinced his strengths, such as they are, are in the area of “stoner bad-example buddy” and not leading man. But, then, that’s what they said about Pauly Shore, and he went ahead and made movies on his own, and darned if today he isn’t the brightest star in the Hollywood firmament.

    Oh, wait.

  6. Kids have a way of making you rethink everything.

    Like when your neighbor’s 7-year-old is playing Rock Band at your house and chooses to sing “Roxanne”. Everyone gets an education, lol (and now we only play Lego Rock Band when children are playing).

    So many TV shows at our house have been banished to after 9pm – things I never would have thought otherwise about watching.

    It’s like looking at the world in a whole new light – but there aren’t any strong and fast guidelines (“Well, I watched that as a kid” doesn’t fly all the time, really). Good luck muddling through – like the rest of us 🙂

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