The Green Hornet 3D Blu-ray Review
The disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 2.40:1 1080p 3D transfer and is Region free. What we have here is another 2D to 3D convert and whilst this is immediately obvious once you know what to look for, it is also one of the most accomplished efforts I have seen to date. As with all converts the major problem is with lack of depth to the frame due to a distinct flattening of the layers, the layers themselves have little or no depth, so the whole thing comes off like the old anaglyph system, much of this can be applied to the picture presented here, but, as stated above, it is also one of the most accomplished as the conversion process has taken the above problem into account and tried to compensate by adding depth, or solidity, to the layers and sometimes it works. During static shots, such as in offices, where the furniture is arranged to give a layered 3D effect, i.e. fore, middle and back ground you do get a sense of space, there is noticeable distance; also people’s faces sometimes show a deal of three dimensionality, i.e. their nose sticks out from their face; as well as some establishing shots, such as Reid’s mansion whose driveway and grand porch-way show dimensionality away from the building whole. These effects do look quite convincing, however, you notice them and that takes away from the whole naturalness of the frame – the overall effect looks unconvincing or false and that brings you out of the picture and thus the film. There is never any real sense of distance to establishing shots and ‘in your face’ moments, such as the debris scattered during the many explosions, look gimmicky, as if the 3D artists are trying to force the dimensionality on you. Shots that should look entirely natural, simple over the shoulder two shots for example, fail to engage with any tangible distance between the characters, and the characters themselves fail to hold that solidity in real space – and when the effect does work it is a little jarring as it’s an “ooh, 3D” moment. Now this is nowhere near as bad as many of the other converts, like I say when it works it does work extremely well, but the inconsistency, general flatness of the rest of the frame and over all unnatural look do pull it down.
The rest of the picture though is extremely good. Detail is excellent from close up clarity such as skin pores, or clothing weaves, to distant city street shots of buildings etc. Look at the intricate nature of the Black Beauty’s engine and armaments, each individual shell as it is ejected from the various guns has a terrific metallic sheen to it.
Colours are bold and strong, the primaries, particularly green, come off with eye scorching clarity with no hint of wash of bleed. Flesh colouring is pretty natural though does redden slightly in places.
Brightness and contrast are set to give wonderful blacks (with the usual 3D caveat), deep and inky containing plenty of shadow detail, look at the Black Beauty during the night time chase scenes, terrific stuff.
Digitally there were no compression problems, no banding or posterization though I did spot a little edge enhancement in places. Crosstalk was very limited, never intrusive and gone within a scene cut. For the most part this is a great picture, if it had been shot in 3D I’m sure it would have been spectacular, but as it's a convert, and therefore lacking the naturalness of native 3D fails to fully engage.
Whatever the short comings of the picture it is more than made up for in the ‘3D enhanced’ (whatever that means) English DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound track, which is an absolute blast. Always placing you in the centre of the action the surrounds have plenty to do be it dialogue directionality, gun shots, explosions, bullet ricochets or the thumping score, they really bring the room alive, always with pin point accuracy and always matching the on screen action. Bass is handled extremely well, grounding everything reality, with plenty of LF effects to keep the sub happy, be it gun shots, explosions, of which there are many, or Kato’s kicks, of which there are more. The score is a mixture of original material and popular music, and comes through with heart pounding ferocity when called for; the bass on Coolio’s Gangsta's Paradise was enough thump the air out of the room! Dialogue is handled very well and as well as sounding very natural is never in any danger of being drowned out, despite the mayhem happening on screen. In all, a very well engineered, action orientated track that is extremely lively and will definitely give your system a workout.
- 3D Animated Storyboards Comparisons (8.26, HD) – Seven animated storyboard scenes play below the finished film, the native 3D of the storyboards far outshine the converted finished film it’s compared against.
- Audio Commentary – Seth Rogen, Neal Moritz (who disappears half way through), Michel Gondry and Even Goldberg chat with enormous enthusiasm in a commentary that was recorded in November 2010, during the 3D conversion process and before it was released, when, clearly, they still thought they had the best film ever made on their hands. The four discuss much but there is no real structure and the talk meanders from one topic to another, which, on the one hand can make for an interesting listen, but on the other can be rather frustrating. The four, then three, never waver in the chat and there is plenty to gleam from their often inane chatter.
- The Green Hornet Cutting Room – Use the tools and create your own video clips from elements of the film and share them with the BL Live community.
- Audio Commentary – The same as the one above.
- Deleted Scenes (26.33, HD) – A total of nine scenes that can be watched individually or all together with the play all function. Most are slight scene additions that are small character moments that, in places might have helped the motivations seen, but did reduce the flow of the film and were thus excised.
- Awesoom Gag Reel (7.18, HD) – ‘Humorous’ fluffs and goofs along with general skylarking around behind the camera, looks like it was a fun set to be on, but only if you were there ....
- Trust Me: Director Michel Gondry (9.33, HD) – A brief look at Gondry’s style and eye for action, with particular emphasis on the fist fighting; cast and crew are typically back slappy.
- Writing the Green Hornet (10.35, HD) - Writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg chat about their ideas for the film, how every superhero followed a certain ‘path’ and they wanted to do the complete opposite to be different and separate their hero from the crowd. On that level they completely succeeded, including having their film stink!
- The Black Beauty: Rebirth of Cool (7.17, HD) – A look at the Hornet’s awesome car and in a even rarer moment of genius they decided to keep the car and original shape and not ‘future-ise’ it. This meant scouring the entire USA for the correct model (a 1965 Imperial) gutting and building them all from the emptied shells, some to drive, some to have weapons, and yet others to destroy.
- The Stunt Family Armstrong (7.39, HD) – A look at long standing stunt co-ordinators and performers, a family, including fathers, sons, daughters and nephews, all of whom have worked for years in the stunt business, and their passion for achieving as much as possible practically and not with CG (guess they don’t want be out of a job huh?)
- Finding Kato (6.00, HD) – A brief discussion of Jay Chou’s fame and how he won the part over a Skype interview, apparently the key is to not be too bothered if you win or not!
- The Art of Destruction (14.04, HD) – A look at the many explosions that take place during the film, from the beginning club detonation, to the ludicrously over the top finally, with thousands of bullets and a glass elevator that cuts a car in half.
- Previews, Movie IQ and BD Live
- 2D blu-ray disc
There is a fair amount of additional material here, even if most of it is housed on the 2D disc, it is still nice to have some exclusive 3D material. The featurettes cover most of the behind the scenes material in easy digestibly chunks.
The Green Hornet is write/actor Seth Rogen’s attempt at bringing a lesser known ‘superhero’ to the screen. The Hornet not only works outside the law (such as Batman) but promotes himself as a criminal, so that he and his superior sidekick/martial arts experts/engineer/inventor Kato can walk with impunity within the underworld, all the while fighting for law and justice. However, by attempting to meld a buddy comedy with a superhero genre and by making the lead character thoroughly unlikeable pitched against an incompetent villain, the end result is distinctly unsavoury despite valiant attempts to bring it up to date with the latest effects, including 3D. The car, the Black Beauty, and Kato are the best parts of this film which follows a convoluted script with unnecessary additions that dilute away from what little plot there is. Rogen’s attempts at playing against the typical superhero elements whist laudable on paper have become unstuck when translated to the screen. I’m sure, somewhere, there is a Green Hornet film trying to be seen, this, unfortunately, is not it.
As a 3D Blu-ray package Sony have delivered a pretty decent looking picture, even though it's not native 3D, the third dimension works resonably for most of the film, even if it suffers from being rather unnatural, but the rest of the picture elements are excellent, and when combined with a fantastic aural accompaniment and backed up by a pretty decent extras selection we have a well stacked set. It is also a future proof buy containing, as it does, the 3D and separate 2D Blu-ray discs, both of which are Region free.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £29.99
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