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Overall Rating

Awesome: 1.61%
Worth A Look: 3.23%
Average: 16.13%
Pretty Bad54.84%
Total Crap: 24.19%

7 reviews, 20 user ratings

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Green Lantern
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"Now We Know Why Warner Bros. Was Hiding It"
1 stars

The angst of comic book trepidation led us into the summer movie season of 2011. With four major adaptations on the horizon, three of them getting their first shot in theaters and not even including a new Conan the Barbarian film, would the fatigue of trying to give every hero his chance finally catch up withthe DC and Marvel universes. Could Kenneth Branagh transform the innate silliness of an idea like Thor into something fun enough for the uninitiated? Was Matthew Vaughn the right guy all along to finish the X-Men series, let alone reboot the whole thing? The answers to both of these questions turned out to be a pretty resounding and pleasantly surprising "yes." So as we wait for Joe "three-star" Johnston's take on Captain America, another director experienced with big character introductions and reboots gets his shot and manifests a film that even the comic fans should acknowledge was not what they had in mind.

Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a brash test pilot. Is there any other kind? Chosen personally as a guinea pig to give chase to the jet prototypes from Stealth, he defeats the unmanned birds and gets a lot of people fired, not to mention himself almost killed. After a few hours of moping and defending his actions to his family and childhood friend/fellow pilot, Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), a big ball of green whisks Hal through the sky to a crash site. Not his own, but that of purple alien Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), part of the Green Lantern Corps that has sworn to protect the galaxy from the color yellow and other such menaces. Today though he is dying and his ring has sought out the most suitable replacement for his service. At least, in the area.

Now suited with the ability to use this ring to create anything he can think of at will, Hal is whisked again to planet Oa where he is recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada. No, it's not The Last Starfighter, but Hal's introduction to the universal threat by Corps leader Sinestro (Mark Strong, furthering the theory that his name on the credits equals mediocre or bad things to come) amidst a cadre of various aliens Hoo-rahing for battle draws direct correlation. The Spock-lookin' Sinestro is not the threat that Green Lantern fans may be coming to expect though. It's a giant cloud monster known as Parallax that has inadvertinently affected the bloodstream of lonely, creepy scientist, Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), that gives him the power to read minds, control things and scream like a girl. How will the Green Lantern defeat such a threat?

Breaking down the problems of this film adaptation is a laundry list of the basic problems of any film that misfires from a storytelling point of view. As a comic book origin story, its issues are amped to the hilt while the filmmakers scramble to introduce this universe to newbies, satisfy those thoroughly ingrained into its history and still try not to alienate those whose disbelief is well suspended and would just like to see a big action extravaganza. The most basic of these elements is to come up with an interesting hero and, in most cases, an even more interesting villain. Four writers including Greg Berlanti, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim, a trio of TV writers with a couple episodes of Heroes and No Ordinary Family under their belts (Berlanti also directed one of last year's very worst films, Life As We Know It) have taken to defining the central parallel between the rivals to a pair of daddy issues. Hal is introduced with the memory of seeing his pilot father die in front of him in a flashback sequence that would have been right at home in the parody Hot Shots and Hector has a powerful senator father (Tim Robbins) pulling strings for him despite not believing in him one lick. Hal & Hector's history is shaded into an awkward party meeting and provides no context for the eventual yin-and-yang that we are supposed to understand or even sympathize with during their two mano-a-manos.

Hector is only a mere pawn in the mighty Parallax's plans though, which somehow is tied into instilling enough fear into his prey in order to suck the yellow out of them. When the giant smoke monster with the Sinistar face finally arrives on Earth to cause a panic, we have long succumbed to not silliness but the complete absence of any of our own fear or a need to see Hal overcome his. Parallax's ability to enter the atmosphere with not even a speck of governmental assistance suggests they took it as just more evidence of global warming to ignore. There is a certain arrogance at play too in the manner that the end credits tease the sequel's next villain; the very one that is at the center of the Lantern universe and whose backstory of totalitarian philosophy would have made for a more prescient tale. Instead of fashioning that into a potential barn burner, the four writers have made a Sinestro a noble leader for the entire running time with no hint of ruthlessness only to have him succumb to becoming Gollum while most people have already left. It's a parallax in itself that is rather unforgivable.

Reynolds tries to bring his usual superiority snark to Hal, but mostly he looks bored and confused failing to infuse Hal with the necessary ingredients of being a reluctant hero. For starters, he has been given little to care about. A family introduced early on that he argues with and comforts in equal measure is never seen, heard from or spoken of again. His one friend (Taika Waititi) only shows up to give him a ride or check out his package-centric costume. And his love interest in Lively is all over the map, starting with righteous anger over his attitude that turns that very night into a catch-up drink-and-dance and then basically just a body in tight clothing to save from consciousless peril on more than one occasion. Plus, if the entire theme of Hal's acceptance into the Lantern Corps is that humans are worthy of joining or able to adapt to their fears, it might be a good idea to have a scene or two of the human race not just standing around in the face of danger, blindly running for their own lives or blaming others for their lot in life.

Director Martin Campbell has been a very competent action director through most of his career and successfully not only re-introduced Zorro to audiences but James Bond twice (with the great Casino Royale and the lesser Goldeneye.) So what happened here in that the action scenes are so devoid of what gets the adrenaline going? Constant effects and body throwing are so expected in comic book movies now that it almost appears to suffocate filmmakers in trying to invent something new and beyond. A flying green man in space fighting a giant cloud does not make for an exciting climax. It may be enough to appease fanboys who are occaasionally so jazzed to see their pictures move on a big screen that they forget what makes characters and stories jump off the page to begin with. Green Lantern joins a very select group of the worst comic adaptations in the decade practically owned by them, right down there with the Fantastic Four films and probably a shade above Ghost Rider, Jonah Hex and The Spirit. (The less said about Elektra and Catwoman the better.) Even the most hardcore fans should be leaving the theater (sans Sinestro's sudden change of heart) saying "In brightest day, in blackest night, may a really crappy movie escape my sight."

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originally posted: 06/17/11 01:46:58
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User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell a lame boring cheap piece of shit 1 stars
9/02/14 Doug Wasn't that bad 3 stars
6/17/13 Durwood Great effects and comic book fun but the message (will over fear) gets preachy at times. 3 stars
3/26/12 RLan an entertaining superhero film 3 stars
11/20/11 action movie fan good but superficial fiklm.reynolds is good overcoming fear is best aspect not great or bad 3 stars
11/16/11 the truth Looks like a Marvel movie directed by George Lucas. Campbell stick to Bond 3 stars
10/20/11 Magic Confusingly edited, with a terrible script and an asshole of a protagonist. 2 stars
8/04/11 mr.mike It was OK , 3 plus stars. 3 stars
7/24/11 Charles Tatum Reynolds is betrayed by average flick 3 stars
7/14/11 savvysweep1 enjoyed the humor -the kids liked the action and 3D 4 stars
7/03/11 Kim Kardashian Hella awful 1 stars
6/30/11 Kim Phan out of all the comic book movie, I think this is the worst one yet! 2 stars
6/28/11 Dr.Lao Loved the special effects, hated Hal Jordan being a "Top Gun" type man-child 3 stars
6/21/11 fartvenugen Another pooptastic CGI crapfest. 2 stars
6/20/11 Roy Smith No chemistry with boring love interst, "hero" is dull, villian is horrible CGI - pass. 2 stars
6/20/11 Chris F best film of 2011 so far brilliant 5 stars
6/20/11 Andy Well paced and Humorus story..Good introduction of the Green Latern 3 stars
6/20/11 Apollo Sad. Very sad 1 stars
6/19/11 Ming I love this green movie..Great backdrop story on the Green Latern. True to the comic 4 stars
6/19/11 Darkstar Meh. DC fails again. 3 stars
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  17-Jun-2011 (PG-13)
  DVD: 14-Oct-2011


  DVD: 14-Oct-2011

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