Green Lantern Review

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markabaddon
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Green Lantern Review

Postby markabaddon » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:45 am

Green Lantern based on the DC Character

I had been looking forward to seeing this film since I saw several of the trailers and they seemed to really capture what Hal Jordan was all about. Then I started reading reviews on sites that I generally trust and my expectations dropped like a stone. The most favorable reviews had the film as tepid at best and, to be honest, I was crushed as I wanted this film to really succeed. Perhaps those negative reviews did me a favor, as I entered the theater was fairly low expectations and, you know what? I enjoyed myself. This is not a great film, and there are plenty of flaws, but comic book fans like me need to remember this is an origin film, and the characters need to be introduced to a new audience.

The story is a fairly straightforward Hero’s Journey. Cocky young protagonist, who has severe Daddy issues, makes a major mistake in his life but is given the chance to redeem himself after he acquires great power. Ryan Reynolds does a really nice job as Hal. In his first couple of scenes, I thought he was trying a bit too hard and came across as obnoxious and insensitive, rather than headstrong and brash (a quick side note for non comic-book fans, Hal Jordan is pretty much the complete opposite of Bruce Wayne, who NEVER acts without a carefully thought out plan).

The movie is fairly slow at the start, in part because of the work of Blake Lively as Carol Ferris. Ms. Lively is an incredibly beautiful woman who gave one of the worst acting performances I have ever seen in this film. It was almost as though she were trying to imitate the character of Spock from Star Trek, but without irony. There was, literally, no emotion that came through in her acting.

Once the story moves to Oa, the planet of the Guardians of the Universe, everything starts clicking. One underappreciated facet of the film is the soundtrack. On Oa, when Hal first flies under the power of his ring, there were echoes of John Williams Superman the Movie, which I thought was a nice touch.

The universe is under attack by a force of fear called Parallax that was accidentally released by the Guardians of the Universe. Hal undergoes training by several members of the Green Lantern Corps, the intergalactic group created by the Guardians to help police the galaxy. Fans of the comic will enjoy spotting various lesser known members of the Corps in background shots, but will especially enjoy the emphasis placed on Tomar-Re, Kilowog and Sinestro.

Geoffrey Rush performs the voice of Tomar-Re and he lends an air of dignity and, surprisingly, humanity to a fairly alien life form. Kilowog needed someone who could evoke the great strength for the being that acts as the drill sergeant for the Corps. They found an excellent match in Michael Clarke Duncan.

The perfect match, however, was Mark Strong as Sinestro. The character was originally modeled after David Niven, but Strong looks like he stepped out of the pages of the comic to inhabit this role of the current greatest Green Lantern (while also conveying a subtle air of menace). One final comment on Oa, the original Guardians of the Universe were modeled after the former Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they kept that in transferring the characters to the big screen.

The character of Hector Hammond does not fare as well. An oversized head with huge veins bulging out can work in the comic medium, but the effect looks rather silly on the screen. Parallax as a villain does look rather menacing, and the film does a good job in establishing that this is a creature fully capable of destroying the entire planet.

In the end I liked the film, but felt like it could have been much better. With a greater emphasis on Hal and his growth in the Corps to become the Greatest Lantern of Them All, less on Carol Ferris, and more on Sinestro (and remember to stay through the credits as there is an important development regarding Sinetro that takes place there) and you have the makings of an incredible film. The second film in this series, and this has all of the potential to become a major franchise, could be the equivalent of The Dark Knight.
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristrocratic forms. No gov't in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, gov't tends more and mroe to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class

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Steve Evil
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Re: Green Lantern Review

Postby Steve Evil » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:24 pm

At first I thought you were talking about Green Hornet!

Sounds intriguing, I'll have to check it out.

Anthony Ravenscroft
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Re: Green Lantern Review

Postby Anthony Ravenscroft » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:54 pm

Thanks for the heads-up. It seems like so many "comic book" movies try too hard to capture the cash of BOTH the die-hard ur-fans & the general public who MIGHT have a vague idea what's going on. As such (probably due largely to run-time limits) the films have to leave out important background data & by-play, & all parts of the spectrum wind up feeling short-changed.

Look at how many "origin of The Incredible Hulk" films we've had, yet the franchise has never taken root; "The Punisher" hasn't done much better, even though Frank Castle grabbed my attention from his first Spider-Man appearance. By comparison, the "Iron Man" property just seems to go from win to win, likely to the envy of those trying to market the "sure fire" Batman & Superman epics.

With Green Lantern, the "community" aspect is central, not the typical insecure smart-ass lone-wolf hero -- in retrospect, that aspect & the big backstory are probably what made film-izing Watchmen such a thankless task (IMO, the film version should have been even more the story of Rorschach than it was -- he was an excellent "unreliable narrator" to peg the storyline to). Hal Jordan gets to carry on an ancient legacy, with all sorts of extant structure & rules, & his "Top Gun" flyboy attitude clashes nicely with this.

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: Green Lantern Review

Postby Ezra Lb. » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:03 pm

Haven't seen the movie but the other night I dreamed about HE dressed in a Green lantern outfit, mask and ring, no shit.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: Green Lantern Review

Postby Ezra Lb. » Fri Jul 08, 2011 5:08 pm

Having finally seen GL everyone involved with this movie is hereby commanded to watch the following Michael Curtiz movies over and over until they eventually (if...?) grasp the concept of high adventure.

Captain Blood
Robin Hood


And then, the Fleischer Studio Superman cartoons from the 40s which boil the superhero template down to its essence.

Once again more than two hands on the script is generally a bad sign.

Didn't any of these goobers ever actually read the comic books?

I've come to loathe the "Dark Knight" concept. Every "hero" must have some dark inner conflict which he (where are the ladies?) must resolve. This is so totally antithetical to the original naive sense of wonder and joy that made these comics such a wonderful part of being a child.

More CGI porn but the fuck scenes aren't even hot.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter


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