Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Green Lantern is a trashy 2011 superhero movie starring Ryan Reynolds.

It was written by Greg Berlanti (who produced Dawson's Creek, Everwood, and Eli Stone and produced this film as well), and comic book writers Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim. It was given extensive rewrites by Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix screenwriter Michael Goldenberg, after the script proved so poor that it could not be filmed.

The plot is still a mess. Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is supposed to be the "the man with no fear", and yet in this film is turned into a party-boy with lots of night-terrors. The second-string villain, Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), is given twice as much screen time as the main villain (the CGI-beast Parallax), but is so pathetic and given so few good lines that you wonder why they spent so much time on him. When the main villian attacks, he seems pretty under-powered for a galaxy-destroying monster. Furthermore, Green Lantern rather easily stops him in about 10 minutes. An unnecessary 10 minutes are spent saving Carol Ferris from a crashing helicopter -- apparently in an attempt to inject humor into the movie and "prove" that Hal Jordan doesn't know how to use his Power Ring.

The film's biggest problem is that its villain is almost never seen on screen. If you think about Batman (1989), or Superman (1978), or Batman Begins, or Iron Man or Spider-Man (2002) -- the main villain is a character who speaks, does things, attacks the hero many times, and has great lines. In Green Lantern, the main villain doesn't appear until 90 minutes into the 113-minute film, has zero lines, and has zero interaction with the hero. If we're to think Hector Hammond is the main villain, we have the same problem -- as Hammond has no great lines, doesn't even transform into a villain until halfway through the picture, has no interaction with Hal Jordan, doesn't attack Hal Jordan the first time out, and then is rather easily defeated by Green Lantern when they do meet. An extensive sub-plot involving Senator Hammond's treachery and villainy went nowhere and added nothing to the plot.

The film relied excessively on CGI aliens, CGI costuming, CGI villains, and CGI sets. None of it was up to the quality of Avatar, despite a $200 million budget (spent almost exclusively on CGI).

Ryan Reynolds's acting skill seems to consist solely of a fratboy smirk and his bare pectorals, and Blake Lively (Carol Ferris) and Tim Robbins (Sen. Hammond) both seem bored.

Oscar-winning cinematogpher Dion Beebe (Chicago nominated, Memoirs of a Geisha winner) seemed to have phoned in his work on this film. His cinematography, which is designed for emotional close-ups and intimate spaces, is completely out of place here. James Newton Howard's musical score is bland.

The film -- which The Hollywood Reporter said needed to make approximately $500 million to be considered financially solid -- earned a paltry $219.8 million worldwide. Little additional income came from licensing, as DC Comics had for decades widely licensed the character.

Warner Bros. cancelled two proposed sequels.

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