Thursday, June 16, 2011

Green Lantern Movie Review/Analysis



Finally after years of waiting, Green Lantern gets its shot at the big screen treatment. So how did it turn out.

I've been a fan of the Green Lantern comics since the 80's, so obviously I'm biased towards supporting Green Lantern. At the same time, I'm not a really big fan of the particular Green Lantern being used in the movie. Hal Jordan, being played by Ryan Reynolds. I've been concerned about many of the choices WB made during the process of making this movie, and I've followed the movie creation closely. I'm a fan of the Guy Gardner incarnation of Green Lantern mostly, though I'd support a John Stewart or Kyle Rayner movie as well. Still, the nice thing is, if you start at the beginning, you get to go to the good stuff eventually in sequels. But that's all dependent on the movie being good. As well, being a fan of the Green Lantern mythology, I should theoretically hold this movie to a higher standard than others might.

The movie starts off with some exposition about the Green Lantern origins, then jumps into Abin Sur, Green Lantern of Sector 2814 (which includes Earth amongst its populated planets to defend) fighting against generic space cloud monster Parallax. It's a nice bit of action and lets us get into what a Green Lantern is all about. So far so good. Abin Sur gets injured, and gets into a spaceship and launches a trajectory to the nearest inhabited planet. Earth. Oh, he's also been infected with a piece of the alien monsters power.

Back on Earth, hotshot test pilot and all around douchebag Hal Jordan flies some planes against some sort of UMV's and wins. This is important as it establishes Hal as someone who is fearless. Unfortunately the way the movie portrayed the overall theme of "fear" vs "will" was all over the place. This also bugs me in the comics. Hal Jordan, and many other Green Lanterns, have always been ridiculously broken characters who are fearless to a fault. Hal Jordan's father died in front of him as a child, and this in turn broke Hal Jordan mentally in some way. The idea being when you've seen your worst fear happen in front of your eyes, what is left to fear? But the movie does not do the greatest job explaining this fact. The idea that Hal follows in his fathers footsteps into a dangerous business, and acts just as recklessly, is an important plotpoint. But it is ruined by the notion that Hal is fearful. Which is it? Too many writers pulling this conflict in too many ways. Still, its not that huge a deal. I think most people can get the point.

Anyways, Abin Surs ship crashes, and Hal Jordan is chosen as a Green Lantern and gets the ring and power battery. He goes through a few amusing escapades learning to use the ring, and the concept of the ring is explained fairly sufficiently.

Meanwhile, weirdo stalker Hector Hammond (who conveniently is connected to all of the other characters) is assigned to look at the recovered body of Abin Sur. The government has recovered it and through his fathers influence Hector gets the job. Unfortunately he gets "infected" with Parallax and becomes a big headed monster with psychic / telepathic / telekinetic powers. Here, unfortunately, the movie suffers from the dated history of Green Lantern. Hector Hammond may have been unique looking in the 60's, but he looks pretty cheesy and generic as a villain nowadays.

The musical score is generic and rather uninspired. The CGI is passable yet the aliens come across looking plasticky. I don't know where they spent all their money on the CGI. The constructs were cool, and the special effects action were good, and the Green Lantern uniform looked decent, but aside from that, it seemed pointlessly wasteful. They could have just given him a regular uniform and mask. Why go so overboard with the CGI? Poor money management there.

Sometimes Green Lantern comes across a bit cheesy looking in the movie, but all in all I quite enjoyed it. Is it the best Green Lantern movie it could have been? Not by a long shot. They seemed to make mistake after mistake after mistake and even still the movie is entertaining. At no point did I feel like I was watching Batman and Robin or Catwoman. Was it as good as Batman Begins? No. Was the acting good? Yes. Were the villains the best? Probably not. But whatever. It's a summer popcorn movie. I think it was better than any of the transformers movies.

They diverged from the comics in a few ways, not the least of which is Hector Hammonds origin being tied to Parallax (everything was tied in to Parallax really.. it was overkill) and the fallen guardian (who is supposedly supposed to be Krona but I never got that). The end was perhaps anti-climatic. But I think they laid the groundwork and if they revisited the character and made some better choices with regards to SFX/CGI sequels could be much better and done much cheaper. Like I said, I really liked the way the lantern constructs turned out. They have that down pat. The 3D wasn't the best. It was clearly a conversion. Though there was so much CGI that in those scenes it wasn't a big deal. If they do a sequel I hope they use 3D cameras.

All in all a good 7 out of 10 in terms of being a fun superhero movie. I think this is the most serious movie review I've ever done.

There are two sets of credits in the movie. First one is with the stars of the movie, and afterwards there is a clip featuring a certain Green Lantern acquiring a certain weapon. Then the second set of credits start afterwards followed by an ad for the comicbooks ("PLEASE BUY SOME!")

Anyways, I really hope they make a sequel (on a smaller/more sensibly used budget) as it has the potential to be much superior having gotten the exposition and world building out of the way.

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