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Green Lantern

June 18, 2011

Abin Sur: The ring… it chose you!

There is a pivotal scene in the first Spider-Man film which involved Peter Parker using goofy hand motions to try and shoot webs out of his hands. I consider this a classic scene in film history. In Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern, cocky test pilot Hal Jordan covers his eyes, yells, and points the ring at a lantern that he got from a dying purple alien, which is presented in a very silly and non-serious fashion. This eventually leads to the [expected] inevitability that Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern is loud, uninspired, and ridiculous, but you know what? I enjoyed myself. 


 

Green Lantern opens in space, where we learn the origins of how a group of beings called the Guardians of the Universe formed the intergalactic police force who are recognized as The Green Lantern Corps. Since the universe has split into thousands of sectors, the corps would wear these special green power rings that ultimately are used to protect each sector from evil organizations or beings. Throughout the film we are focusing on an evil force known as the Parallax, who uses fear to achieve power (this kind of sounds similar to another DC comics superhero, Batman).

 

When Parallax escapes, it sets out to destroy Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), who is the most powerful lantern, who was also the one keeping Parallax trapped for so many years. We now cut to earth, where Sur crash lands after being brutally wounded by Parallax. The one to see the crash is hot-shot test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds)  and Sur grants him the responsibility of becoming a lantern. Naturally, Jordan doesn’t know what to do and is blind sighted as to why he was chosen for such a big responsibility. Soon after, Jordan is transported to planet Oa (Corps Base Planet) and starts his lantern training with Sinestro (Mark Strong), Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush), and Kilowog (Michael Clarke Duncan). Elsewhere, we have scientist Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) who becomes infused with Parallax’s DNA after examining the alien body of Abin Sur. With all this happening, Hal’s personal quest is finding the answers to why the ring chose him.

 

After reading and hearing countless negative aspects about this film, I did the unthinkable: went into a poorly reviewed film open minded. Now I’m glad I did because Green Lantern promises one thing, that you will probably have a fun time watching it. It’s surely no Dark Knight, but it’s definitely better than DC’s last fail, Jonah Hex. The script is clearly a huge mess and even the presence of Ryan Reynolds can not make up for it. What does make up for it is its interesting story and fantastic CGI. Additionally, I did enjoy Reynolds performance as Hal because if anyone is familiar with the comics (which I’m sure nobody is) then you will not be surprised by Jordan’s smart-mouth attitude in addition to his sarcastic tone. Aside from Reynolds, the film features other commanding performances, most notably are Sinestro, who is wonderfully played by Mark Strong and then we have the evil scientist Dr. Hector Hammond, who is played by the terrifyingly talented Peter Sarsgaard. We also have Blake Lively in another forgettable performance as she portrays Carol Ferris, who is the love interest of Hal.

One of the reasons this film was underrated was mainly the constant lack of character development. Hal was perfectly developed throughout the film but the other characters cannot help but feel shortchanged and under appreciated. A perfect example was Dr. Hector Hammond, who gave me a feeling that his character was fleshed out during development and was included in the film to strengthen the plot, which it fails to achieve due to its messy plot and its uninspired mess of a script. With the presence of Mark Strong who was wonderfully cast as Sinestro, again, I can’t help but feel (until the very end) that his character was important nor did I feel like the character was granted an acceptable amount of screen time, creating a big problem that leads to him having an immediate despising view on Hal being chosen as the Green Lantern. Character development was definitely a big problem in this film and I believe that if they hired better screen writers then it’s possible that the Green Lantern would be much, much more enjoyable then it is. That being said, it’s still mildly entertaining to watch.  

The Green Lantern was firmly directed by Martin Campbell, who directed two of the best James Bond films ever made: Goldeneye and Casino Royale. Campbell additionally directed both of the Zorro movies and last years flop Edge of Darkness. Take away my love for the character Green Lantern, then I would still say that the movie was good. The whole film itself looks amazing and the scenery is great and sometimes beautiful to look at, especially the scenes that involve the Lanterns flying through space (one of the best scenes). I hear words like “overproduced” or “too much” and I think to myself “what is too much?” The fact that Campbell overproduced this movie shows how much he wants to make a great comic book movie. Green Lantern features everything you’d expect in a good comic book movie: aliens, action, and a likable superhero. While sometimes Campbell doesn’t use his full potential with those features, he uses it a great deal which contributes to the overall result of the film. 

 

Discussing CGI and special effects have always been a weak spot for me, but for once, I have something to talk about that maintains the subject of CGI. First off, Green Lantern may be one of the most well done 3D conversions I’ve ever seen, considering most 3D conversions don’t work out (Thor, The Green Hornet) but as I just mentioned, they could have fooled me because I was under the impression that this was shot in 3D. Now, on to the movie: pretty much half of the movie was CGI, which includes Hal’s costume and mask, all of the Green Lantern Corps, the Parallax, and most importantly the entire planet of Oa. This all looks beautiful, especially on the big screen, and looks even better in 3D. Many criticize Hal’s costume, saying it looks too “cartoonish” or “flashy” and I agree, but now I agree to disagree because that makes it look better and makes the character look more fun to the viewer. Nevertheless, Green Lantern features great effects and has a phenomenal 3D conversion. 

Clearly the big budget was put to good use and Reynolds shines in a great role as Hal Jordan. Still, this film is incredibly flawed and doesn’t feature enough character development for the supporting cast which impacts the overall conclusion of the film. All that aside, great performances and incredible CGI including a great 3D conversion save Green Lantern from its deadly script and an uninspired story which makes this a passable summer superhero flick. 

Hal Jordan: I pledge allegiance to the lantern… that I got from a dying purple alien.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 20, 2011 9:05 pm

    what a fun review! Super glad you mentioned Spiderman because I felt the exact same way in seeing the comparison and likeness between the two films!
    The film was beautifully shot and I agree with you in the lack of character development. That ruined a lot of the film for me. Wish that they would have used Geoffrey Rush, Michael Clarke Duncan, Blake Lively, and Tim Robbins a whole lot more. Hooray for Mark Strong!

    A well written review! I liked it!

  2. June 21, 2011 11:11 am

    The mythology is nonsensical and the plot takes forever to get going. But once it does, the movie takes advantage of a strong cast and a director who knows what he’s doing. Good Review! Check out mine when you can!

  3. June 23, 2011 10:49 am

    Nice In-depth review. It’s always good to see someone else who didn’t think it deserved the mauling it got from the critical press.

    • June 23, 2011 1:22 pm

      I agree. Critics and audiences alike won’t stop criticizing this but I don’t think it’s that bad. It’s harmless, very flawed yet fun flick that I enjoyed!

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