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Green Lantern, Pass the Popcorn

June 29, 2011

Back in the day there were two kinds of funny books.  Comic books, the monthly slugfest with the depth of Brittany Spears and Graphic Novels, which explored deeper themes.  Batman Begins was a successful Graphic Novel movie.  Superman Returns was a failed Graphic Novel movie.  All the previous Batman movies (Tim Burton’s fiascos) were failed Comic Book movies.

Iron Man was a unique creature; it was a Graphic Novel movie where the main character was shallow.  It worked.

Which brings us to Green Lantern.  GL was not a Graphic Novel movie and should not be compared to Batman Begins or it’s darker sequel Dark Knight.  GL was  Comic Book movie and on that level it was, in my opinion, quite successful.  Yes, Carol Ferris was the worst actress ever.  Yes, the CGI was sometimes painful, sometimes seamless.  And this was the second movie in as many weeks where the “training” sequence was completely inadequate. Oh, and I missed the white gloves. A lot.  Still, the movie worked.  I would have done things a lot differently, but nobody paid me to write it, so there.

They had the unique ability to portray Hal Jordan as a stereotypical “fearless” hero and turn that on it’s ear, and as a space opera, they could have gone epic and decided not to.  Instead, they opted for the shallow path of a fearful Jordan overcoming his insecurities, a villain who is little more than a herald of a cosmic baddy, and the cosmic baddy.  Completely fair game in a Comic Book movie.

I enjoyed his use of the power ring and would have loved to see more.  They set up future movies with Star Sapphire and Sinestro (major rant: the Easter Egg was COMPLETELY unmotivated.  Without giving away too much, this fellow is destined to be a bad guy, but his transition was counter-intuitive; the yellow stuff was a proven failure, so why…?)

Any review would be incomplete without a critique of the costume.  The GL togs were painted on Reynolds in CGI.  It was supposed to be an “energy” costume.  I already mentioned I missed the white gloves.  Otherwise, okay.  I like a white background for the symbol, but the roiling green was okay.  The ring looked good, the constructs way cool.  It worked for me (especially the domino mask not protecting his identity from anyone who knew him as Hal).

What did not work for me was Oa.  The smurfs were okay, but the architecture of Oa was way off.  Ruins?  Why? What kind of super advanced species created a dungeon-like environment for their agents?  Chrystal, light, curves, yes, broken warrens and damaged lantern symbol? No.  Where was the central power battery?

I liked Ryan Reynolds as GL.  I think the alien GLs were great.  Too PC for Pieface Kalmutu, but that’s okay.  Senator Hammond seemed like a parody of a senator.  Hector Hammond, good and creepy.

Solid B.  Look forward to a sequal.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 15, 2011 2:23 pm

    Here I am, commenting on my own blog, addressing the booming walls.

    I thought about this movie a little more and in particular the effects. Comic books are a static medium. GL’s usual boxing gloves, giant vices, and other big glowing constructs DON’T WORK IN MOVIES. I’m impressed with the film makers that they realized this.

    Now, in cartoons, which are 8 to 12 frames a second with capacity limitations which make them sloooowwww (and why there has never been a good comic book cartoon), they can get away with it, but it’s still sucky (why would bad guys wait around to be apprehended?).

    It’s like the other limitation with comic book movies. In comics, they have all the time in the world to talk between punches. Spider-man can recite a Shakespearean play between kicks. Not so in the split seconds of a movie. That’s one reason why the Spider movies didn’t work all that well and Batman does; Bats doesn’t have to say anything while he kicks the snot out of a bad guy, Spider-man does.

    Back to Green Lantern. The first thing GL does with the ring is punch with a big, glowing fist (he acted surprised, though… what, he was planning on swinging at air?). It looked stupid. And the big race track thing? Seems he let a lot a damage happen before getting into it and then he relies on hot wheels? It was almost as if the filmmakers were saying, “see? It looks stupid, that’s why we aren’t doing the comic book effects! Get over it!”

    Instead, they went for the quick stuff. A machine gun (cool); a sword (really? I don’t know how to use one, so why would Hal Jordan?), and the armor plating holding guys down so he could pummel them. Because the objects would appear and disappear so rapidly, simplicity was required instead of the complexity you can get away with in comics.

    I admit when Parallax showed up, I expected the giant vacuum cleaner to suck up the clouds. Their choice was better, adding a believable element that was never discussed in the comics. How would a gravity sink affect a Green Lantern?

    PERHAPS, to get a better contrast between Earth GL and all the others, I might have made the GL Corp more Zen-like, remaining above the fray and sweeping up the bad guys from a safe distance, where good old earthy Hal gets down in the weeds and muck to make sure the bad guys really are the bad guys. Ehhh, maybe in the reboot…

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