By The Young Liar.
I didn’t want this movie. I didn’t want to watch this movie. But it wasn’t any sort of fanboy hatred seeing as I’m not a huge Green Lantern fan, and it also wasn’t the low reception it got from everyone. To put it bluntly, to me, this is one of those films you see in the film section at the store, and you don’t bother to check the back of it or even notice it. It’s one of those movies that was just there and that I didn’t need to see. That sounds outrageous, even to me, because this is a superhero film. It’s a comic book film and I’ve seen everything. I saw Dolph Lundgren as The Punisher. I own theSchumacher Batman films. I thoroughly ENJOYED the 1990 Captain America film. This? Well…
The film is directed by Martin Campbell (Goldeneye, Casino Royale) and stars Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan. I chose to watch the extended cut out of some hope that perhaps there were crucial bits that were left out and those were the bits that could redeem this movie. Nope. Firstly, the extended cut is horrible. Secondly, you can hardly call it an “extended cut” because it still finishes before you can say “THAT’S IT?!” and trust me, you will be saying that. A lot. The most important of the added scenes is a longer flashback to Hal’s past, showing him as a child when he lost his father, who was an airforce test pilot. The scene is filled with clichés and is the typical tragedy that we’ve seen countless times before. It tries to surprise us, but fails miserably many times.
For those who aren’t familiar with the Green Lantern mythos, here is a quick rundown. The best Green Lantern Corps member is mortally wounded and escapes to Earth, where his ring which has the green power of will, finds a worthy successor, Hal Jordon. The ring gives the wearer the power to create pretty much anything, as long as the wearer’s will is strong enough. Want a flamethrower? You got it. A gigantic fist to pummel enemies? Easy. A… life sized Hot Wheels car that you can use to catch a damaged helicopter?
The rest of the film passes by without any care. It seems as if the whole time it’s just trying to get to the next scene. None of it gels together well, and whenever something interesting IS happening, it is quickly over. The CGI in this film wasn’t great. Some of the Green Lantern Corps Home Planet looks nice, until you realized it’s easy to create weird alien landscapes that look like this. Some of the more alien Green Lanterns looked good, like Geoffrey Rush’s character Tomar-Re. But when the main character looks like his suit is constantly CGI, and his eyes (which in the comics are totally white) look like he’s wearing Halloween contact lenses, you kinda lose hope fast.
The one NEAR saving grace of this film is the villain. No not the main one, Parallax, but the horribly under-used Hector Hammond played by Peter Sarsgaard. Hector Hammond is a scientist who is tasked to perform an autopsy on the alien that passed his Green Lantern ring onto Hal Jordan. Something goes wrong in the autopsy, and Hector starts to mutate and develop powers. His performance is odd, creepy, funny, and terrifying at times. Sadly, he also suffers from being in so little of the movie when he gains his powers, that you wish that he was the main villain of the film. It feels pointless to build up such an evil entity, only to not have it be used to its full potential. The MAIN villain however, is terrible. Remember Galactus from Fantastic Four 2? Well I guess you can say this time the “ominous storm cloud” at least has a face.
There isn’t much more I can say about this film. Maybe children will like it as it is flashy enough to keep their attention, but at the same time having a romance subplot and the first we see of Ryan Reynolds is him in only his underwear, doesn’t seem like a good idea for a kid’s film. The extended cut doesn’t do anything to save it and if you watch the extended cut first, you’ll be surprised they even call it that with how fast it goes by. The CGI takes up too much of the film, with scenes that could easily be done practically ruined with the over-use of CGI. Some of the special effects aren’t even well done, looking dated and obvious. They could have easily designed a proper looking Green Lantern suit, but all they manage is to make it look like painted skin. It looks funny and doesn’t work. The music wasn’t great, sometimes switching from an orchestral epic superhero type sound you’d expect, to a more rock/pop style beat that sounds odd for certain scenes.
It is quite sad to me, because you have a superhero who can create ANYTHING, and they failed to even show off enough of that. If they would have shot more scenes practically, and focused more of their CGI on the Green Lantern powers and Parallax, maybe it could have been more enjoyable. I would have loved to see Hal Jordan use more of his power in the final battle. Instead, they go with the whole “He’s almost beaten, this is where he uses his sucker punch and wins the day!” strategy. I thought we were over this? This is DC Comics and Warner Bros we’re talking about! They got it right with Batman Begins and even more right with The Dark Knight, but for this, they pretty much went back to Superman Returns. Worst part? It’s getting a sequel.
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