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STUDIO: Warner Bros.
RATED: Theatrical Version PG-13/Extended Version unrated
RUNNING TIME: Theatrical Version 114 minutes/Extended Version 123 minutes
- Maximum movie mode
- Feature Length Documentary
- Picture-in-picture commentary
- Eight Featurettes
- Storyboard and character bio galleries
The movie everyone thought they wanted but quickly realized they hated gets a new and improved nine minutes of convoluted mythology, cartoonish effects, and poorly broad thematics posing as high drama.
Ryan Reynolds stars as both Hal Jordan and his computer generated alter-ego The Green Lantern! Also appearing and reading lines from a script are Peter Sarsgaard as the man with the big brain, Tim Robbins as the man with the big brain’s unloving father, Mark Strong as the highly dubious Sinestro, and some android named Blake Lively as “love interest” Carol Ferris.
High adventure and romance be damned, Martin Campbell’s adaptation of the seminal superhero strips whatever fun anyone could possibly have in this movie and produces one of the most soulless and cliche superhero films to date.
About a year before Green Lantern’s release, a young boy of maybe 8-years approached Ryan Reynolds at a comic book convention and requested he recite the Green Lantern oath. In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power…Green Lantern’s light, Reynolds faithfully offered. The child had the same reaction a lot of us had upon seeing this: Not only was this Green Lantern movie in faithful hands, but also Ryan Reynolds was the Green Lantern.
Sadly, this was not the case.
Martin Campbell let down a lot of people with his slam-bang adaptation of Green Lantern. The director most notable for revitalizing the James Bond series brings none of his Casino Royale smarts to Lantern. Trading story, character, and respect for his audience for explosive action, expensive effects, and a drawn out, yet overtly simple mythology, the ring bearing hero fails ignite the screen.
After watching his father blow up in a freak harrier jet explosion, fighter pilot and showboater Hal Jordan lives life on the edge. Yet he finds himself in over his head when he discovers a dying alien who gives him a magic ring. The ring, which comes from the planet Oa, and grants magical powers and entry into the Green Lanterns Corp, a type of space police. For how ridiculous this seems, Campbell and co. sell it earnestly. The problems haven’t yet set in.
Jordan goes through the training, which mostly comprises of flying around in a video game and fencing with a guy that looks Clark Gable playing Satan, and returns to Earth where he attempts to use his powers for good. Unbeknownst to Jordan, an evil symbiotic ailen stowed away on his gift giving alien and attached itself Jordan’s rival, the dastardly pathetic Hector Hammond (Saarsgard) with the power of fear and a large, grotesque cranium. Can Jordan prove himself to the corps and save Earth form the evil force Parallax?
Sure, but honestly, does anyone care.
The problem with Green Lantern isn’t the acting, script, effects, etc. It’s the amount of them. Campbell embellishes the Lantern’s every quirk with high gloss, making the film about as subtle as a punch in the face. He allots no time for his characters to grow, and his script, which, thanks to its four screen writers, has equal parts of convoluted indulgence and painfully stupid broad gestures, keeps anyone from connecting with the trials of Hal Jordan. The director, who usually uses conventions of a classic character to challenge our notions of heroics, plays it safe practically the entire time; most likely out of fear that everyone will continue to scratch their head in confusion at the Green Lantern.
It should be said that Reynolds does give it his all. Played as mix between Tom Cruises’ cocky Maverick and Toby MacGuires unsure Spiderman, Reynolds finds a perfect balance. He’s the hero who thought he knew it all, but is quickly learning otherwise. He’s a lot of fun to watch on screen, even when he’s making hot wheels cars with his power ring. This is a good turn for him. Let’s hope he can finally get a superhero script that works in the future.
Green Lantern is not an easy character to bring to the screen. His powers are weird; his mythology is confusing, and, put simply, there haven’t been too many Saturday morning cartoons to showcase him. Campbell and Warner Bros. took a huge gamble with this one, especially considering they can’t seem to figure out how to make a Superman movie that everyone’s pleased with. In that respect, Campbell deserves credit for trying to cram as much into this story as he did. The script’s broad strokes are a direct result of the director attempting to keep Lantern’s 70 year history in tact. Yet, a lot like fanboy pleasing Zach Snyder, Campbell seems wholly interested in pleasing the comic’s already devout following, rather than converting new comers. Had he eased back on the mythology and focused more on who Hal Jordan was and how his struggle to become the Lantern mattered, we might have a less faithful but altogether more enjoyable Lantern movie on our hands. Thanks to Green Lantern’s failure to connect rather than anxiously anticipating a sequel, it seems more likely that we’ll be smacked in the back of the head with yet another reboot in coming years.
Green Lantern screams for a blu-ray release, and it gets the full treatment. The transfer is bright and bold, with crisp colors and fantastic sound. It doesn’t lack in the special feature department either; although, it’s all for naught since the movie isn’t that great. In addition to the extra nine minutes of footage, which doesn’t really add much of anything, the Blu-Ray comes with maximum movie mode, which is some sort of trivia track. Also included: Some featurettes, picture-in-picture commentary, and character bios. You probably won’t make it this far, though; the movie is exhausting enough.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars