Saturday, June 18, 2011

Green Lantern 3D Review

As a kid, I liked Green Lantern comics because they had cool aliens. So last year when I found out about the new movie being made, I went to a store and picked up a copy of Green Lantern: Secret Origin. IMDB had reported that this graphic novel would be the basis of the new movie. I also picked up Green Lantern: First Flight (2009) , an animated movie released direct to DVD. The question becomes if you have no idea of the Green Lantern mythos, will you be able to follow it?

Green Lantern, which came out yesterday, is an origin story. It's how test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) becomes Green Lantern. The movie starts out when Parallax (Clancy Brown), an evil creature that feeds on fear, has escaped its prison. The person that initially captured Parallax was Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), a member of the Green Lantern Corps, a kind of cosmic police force. This Corps was created by the Guardians of the Universe to keep the peace and ensure justice throughout the universe. Parallax manages to fatally wound Abin Sur. He crashes to earth. Dying he asks his power ring to summon an earthling to be his replacement. Okay, a quick thing about the power ring. It can create matter called constructs by the ring wearer willing such constructs into being.

The ring summons Hal Jordan. Jordan is test pilot who's such a maverick that he purposely defeats the jet drones that his company, Ferris Air, is trying to sell to the Air Force. His purpose was to demonstrate their weaknesses and get the drones to be improved. His boss, fellow pilot and love interest Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) is not so pleased with Jordan's actions and lack of maturity. Jordan is later transported to Sur's location. Sur tells him to take the ring. Jordan does.

After using the ring to defeat some thugs, Jordan is whisked to the planet Oa. It is where the Guardians and the Corps are located. Jordan is trained by Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush) and Kilowog (Michael Clarke Duncan) who's a little too urban African American for the role. The leader of Corps, Sinestro (Mark Strong) is disappointed in Jordan who returns to earth. Sinestro senses fear which the Green Lantern Corps are to be without. Meanwhile, Dr. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) does an autopsy on Abin Sur. However, part of Parallax's cells are in the body and infects Hammond. He gets the powers of telepathy and telekinesis. During a battle with Jordan, Jordan is able to mind meld with Hammond. Jordan now realizes that Parallax is coming to earth and then to Oa to destroy them. Jordan goes back to Oa to ask the Guardians to allow him to fight Parallax. Whew.

To answer the question first posed in this review, you are going to have a hard time following Green Lantern. Writers Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg have created a script that has too many plot elements. I mean you've got Hammond, Parallax, the Guardians, Sinestro etc. All these elements causes the film to lose focus. It would help if the writers were more chronological. It might also help if the film were longer to explain some of the surreal parts.

Director Martin Campbell is competent but he doesn't seem to understand superhero movies. There's no goose bumpy heroic moment in the film. Whoever did the art direction must like caves. The planet Oa did not look like some advanced alien home. It resembled something out of Planet of the Apes. Add to that, the scenes were lit with little light. And James Newton Howard eschews the traditional orchestral heroic music for a lot of rock based stuff. That maybe the biggest problem. Because if the music was bold and orchestral, like Superman (1978), there would be those inspiring moments you get in a superhero movie.

Ryan Reynolds is charming but we miss the steel, and longing for justice that a Green Lantern needs. Blake Lively is beautiful to look at but she's not give a whole lot to do in this movie. Peter Sarsgaard as Hammond has the most fleshed out of the parts. And that helps his tortured performance. Angela Bassett gives a mature performance as a government scientist.

As for the 3D, this movie was converted from 2D. As with all 3D films, Green Lantern is too dark. This becomes a problem with scenes shot with less light such as night scenes and the planet Oa. That being said there was some surprising popping effects with this conversion. Most of those occurred with CGI effects but still other scenes looked like they were shot in 3D. Can't say that with close ups of the actors though. But the question becomes should you spend the extra four bucks to see it 3D. I say no because you're not going to get anything special. However, this conversion is probably the best I've seen, there are some cool scenes and absent the darkness factor, it doesn't hurt the film.

Green Lantern is a faithful retelling of the mythos of the comic book. It's always interesting if not inspiring. That might not be great praise, but I can say it's not boring. It's enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. Stay through the credits for a hint of what the sequel is going to be about. The grade is B.

1 comment:

trawler666 said...

Isn't the Green Lantern black?