Although The Green Hornet has garnered solidly mixed reviews — its Rotten Tomatoes score is a middling 43 percent — high-profile haters have been unequivocal in their dislike of the 3D movie, which hits theaters today. (Watch The Green Hornet trailer.) "Almost unendurable," says venerable critic Roger Ebert. An "atrocity," says The Wall Street Journal's Joe Morgenstern. A "violent, clumsy, jokey, badly plotted and miscast mess," says the Orlando Sentinel's much-syndicated Roger Moore. How did it go so wrong? Here, four missteps:
1. Too much behind-the-scenes drama
Two directors dropped out of the film during its "preposterous" pre-production. Clerks director Kevin Smith and Hong Kong action filmmaker Stephen Chow both signed on as directors at various points but left, citing "creative differences." Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) was eventually recruited to helm the picture. But Gondry was unhappy with Nicolas Cage's insistence, "for reasons known only to him," on using a Jamaican accent in his role as the film's villain, reports The New York Times. Cage quit the film.
2. The casting, and screenwriting, of Seth Rogen
"Seth Rogen deserves much of the blame" for the film's failure, says Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times. The Knocked Up star wrote the pointless dialogue he "hurls" at us "at a modified shout." Having a "facetious costumed crime-fighter" isn't necessarily a bad idea, says J. Hoberman at Village Voice. But why choose a "doggedly unattractive... tubby denizen of Upper Slobovia" to play him?
3. The director's decision to blame "fascistic" fans for bad buzz
Having completed the movie, Gondry opted to blame the "geek community," says Edward Davis at IndieWire, for the "year of bad buzz" surrounding it. "These [nerds']...values are fascistic... they want you to conform, or they won't like you," Gondry told The Guardian. That's just "plain rude," responded Caleb Leland at Shadowlocked. "Is it asking too much for Hollywood to show a little respect to us when they insist on turning our heroes into marquee fodder?"
4. Misguided special effects
The producers tried to save the film by "pouring a fortune into stupid effects" that come off as a parody of the F/X industry's "excesses," says Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal. And the 3D effects, in particular, aren't worth the "outrageous" surcharge for 3D glasses, adds David Edelstein at New York. "In all senses, there's little that jumps out at you."