Green Lantern Blu-ray Review - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Blu-ray: Green Lantern
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard
  • Written By: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg
  • Directed By: Martin Campbell
  • Distributor: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
  • Original Year of Release: 2011
  • Extras: See Below
  • Series: Green Lantern, The, Green Lantern

Green Lantern Blu-ray Review

It’s not easy being Green Lantern

By Tim Janson     October 13, 2011

 

I suppose it was inevitable…in what became the Summer of the Superhero film, one entry had to be the whipping boy and unfortunately for DC Comics, the whipping boy was Green Lantern. Deserved? No, not entirely. Director Martin Campbell’s biggest mistake was reaching too far and being too ambitious by trying to introduce so many elements of the Green Lantern mythology into a two-hour film. Credit him for making the attempt.
 
Ryan Reynolds was a curious choice for Hal Jordan/Green Lantern. While Reynolds is mostly known for lightweight romantic comedy roles someone apparently thought that if it worked for Michael Keaton in Batman it might work for Reynolds as Green Lantern. Ehhh….not so much. I like Ryan Reynolds but his smarmy goofiness didn’t translate well into Hal Joran, DC’s resident stick in the mud conservative superhero whose greatest attribute is his fearlessness, a trait in which Reynolds’ version of the character is solely lacking. 
 
You know the story…Test Pilot Hal Jordan is chosen by the dying Abin Sur, or more specifically by his ring, to become the new Green Lantern of Sector 2814. Hal takes the ring and is soon off to Oa, homeworld of the Guardians of the Universe where he is inducted into the ranks of the Green Lantern Corps and trained by Kilowog (voice of Michael Clarke Duncan). As the first human to become a Green Lantern, Hal is met with skepticism from other Lanterns, particularly Sinestro (voice of Mark Strong). This only adds to Hal’s incredible self-doubt about himself. The guy goes through such self-loathing and pitying you’re praying that Guy Gardner shows up to kick his ass and take the ring from him! No fear? Hal Jordan is the guy that leveled a city and became the next Spectre for God’s sake. Reynolds is a milquetoast who would rather toss the ring away and forget the whole thing.
 
Perhaps laying the blame at Reynolds’ feet isn’t fair. He didn’t write the script after all, so there’s equal blame to go around. It isn’t until Hal gets a good swift kick in the backside from the loopy character of Hector Hammand (Peter Sarsgaard) that he pulls himself out of his funk to save the love of his life, Carol Ferris (Blake Lively). Hammond’s character is based on the Green Lantern Secret Origin and Rebirth storylines rather than the original Silver Age version. Scientist Hammond is infected by Parallax while performing an autopsy on the body of Abin Sur resulting in his growing a really large cranium and having extraordinary telepathic and telekinetic abilities but it also makes him a puppet of the film’s main villain, Parallax who looks like a giant cloud of tentacles with a face. The embodiment of pure fear, Parallax escapes the prison where Abin Sur placed him in and is intent on wiping out the entire Green Lantern Corps.
 
This is where Martin Campbell stumbled badly. Granted most non-comic fans will have no clue who Parallax is or who most of Green Lantern’s villains are. He’s just not as widely known of a character as say Superman, Batman, or Spiderman. But using Parallax as the main villain would be akin to having Doomsday as Superman’s main villain in his first film. Campbell tried to hit a grand slam with no runners on base. Think smaller Martin! But as I said, give Campbell credit for one thing, he didn’t shy away from the vast GL Corps mythology…he gave us everything…the Guardians, Oa, Abin Sur, Sinestro, Killowog, Tomar-Re (voiced By Geoffrey Rush), as well as several other recognizable Lanterns in non-speaking roles. And he does a very good job of this. He could have easily just ignored much of this and non-essential to the film. But of course it all came at a price of a lot of the plot, which ended up feeling rushed in the last half-hour. 
 
For as much as I disliked Reynolds as Hal Jordan I’m fully inclined to give him another chance with a better script. As it is, Green Lantern wasn’t as bad as a lot of the theatrical films would have you believe. It’s loud and moderately fun when it isn’t stupid and poorly written.
 
Blu-Ray Extras
 
Maximum Movie Mode – Watch the film within a film with pop-up commentary and featurettes as well as six focus points that can be viewed during the film or separately. The focus points run for a total of 47 minutes and cover things like The Art of Green Lantern, the UCAV Dogfight, Ring Slinging 101, 10 pounds of Silicone which looks at the films makeup and makeup effects, and more.
 
The Universe According to Green Lantern (20:12) This featurette looks at the history of the character and has interviews with comic creators like Dan DiDio, Denny O’Neil, Peter Tomasi, Geoff Johns, and Dan Jurgens
 
Ryan Reynolds Becomes Green Lantern (8:48) Looks at the physical training and stunt work that Reynolds did while preparing for the role.
 
Deleted Scenes (7:16) – Nothing of great note in these handful of scenes.  The best was Sinestro and Hal talking after Parallax and defeated and killed several Lanterns in an attack led by Sinestro. This showed Sinestro as being more contrite and less of a jerk to Hal
 
Justice league #1 Digital Comic
 
Preview of the Green Lantern Animated Series (6:32)

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 16
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rogue188 10/13/2011 11:07:21 PM

The only superhero movie I ever fell asleep in the theater to.

Chopsaki 10/14/2011 4:07:02 AM

I feel bad for the die hard GL fans...they deserve better.

karas1 10/14/2011 6:10:53 AM

Green Lantern is a harder sell than Batman or Superman as it is a more complex concept.  Instead of one guy motivated by responsibility or grief/revenge you get a whole group of wierd aliens chosen by magic rings who fight galactic evil because they have no fear.  (And why being fearless should motivate you to fight evil instead of doing 100 other things with your life is unclear.)

And Hal Jordan is not shown being without fear.  He has no fear of physical danger, but he seems to be afraid of everything else in his life and whines about it constantly.  His important, well paying job and beautiful, rich, talented girlfriend give him no self confidence and he seems to be trying to sabotage everything good in his life in order to prove he's a failure.

In short, he's an unsympathetic mess.  Instead of rooting for the underdog, you want to shake him and tell him to get over himself.

Which was my biggest problem with the movie.  Somehow when Peter Parker struggled with confidence issues I wanted to give him a hug and comfort him.  Hal Jordan made me want to scream with frustration.

That's a script issue and really, 90% of what's wrong with any movie can be traced back to the script.  Green Lantern tried to do too much, introducing the concept of the Green Lantern Corps to the uninitiated and also trying to set up all the characters in Jordan's earthly life and oh yeah, squeeze in a plot somewhere.

BTW, I found Hector Hammond a more sympathetic character than Hal Jordan.  Hammond had genuine issues which he used the acquisition of superpowers to address while Jordan used the awesome power of the magic ring to show off to his friends and then try to deny his responsibilities because he thought training with the Corps would be too hard.  Boo hoo.  If Jordan had been written as a more stand up guy it would have been a much better film.

jedibanner 10/14/2011 6:24:10 AM

the way Hal Jordan was written for this movie was just not in line with that the character IS in the comic, which is the biggest mystake that could've been made.

The script was obviously terrible but in the end, if the essence of the character isn't portrait in the movie, no matter who you have as an actor, it will still fail.

I'm still saying Ryan Reynolds is NOT Hal Jordan and this movie proved it. Yes it's not entirelly his fault but, he's also not the best choice for the character so it does't help.

Karas1, I would disagree with you the fact that GL is a harder sell...think of Iron Man or even the Hulk as a movie on it's own, the characters were knowned to a certain degree but the script and directors made the difference and GL did not take that into acount so when the movie came out, it got horrific reviews and THAT'S what killed the ''sell'' of the movie.

If they make a 2nd one, let's hope the budget is smaller, a better script and they actuallyread a few of the GL comics to understand better who Hal Jordan REALLY is and not a joke man who miss his mommy and whines like a biatch all the time.

goldeneyez 10/14/2011 6:47:21 AM

I agree with karas1. She convinced me in the Weekly DVD comments. Actually now that you mention it Hector was a lot more sympathetic until he started killing people at least.

jedibanner, I read comics too and in my opinion Hal Jordan was actually one of the blandest characters for many years (I'd add Barry Allen too).  I think personality wise you could probably swap out Hal, Barry, and Ray Palmer and their personalities were so vanilla that you wouldn't be able to tell which is which if you couldn't see them.  I think they did a lot of character development more recently with Hal that distinguishes him a bit more, but Kyle Raynor might have been a better fit for a more sympathtic character.  Kyle may have had too much of a Peter Parker vibe though (stuggling artist / struggling photographer).

tjanson 10/14/2011 8:40:00 AM

Bland characters are why marvel began surpassing DC comics in the late 1960s early 1970s...hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Ray palmer, Carter Hall...a bunch of white bread characters...Contrast them with Peter parker, Tony Stark, Ben Grimm, Johnny Storm...just a huge difference.  Is it any wonder why DC went bananas in the 80's/90s by killing Barry, turning Hal into parallax, etc...

karas1 10/14/2011 2:02:40 PM

Jedi, the Hulk is a more well known character than Green Lantern.  There was a long running TV series about him.  It's old, but reruns are forever and everybody has seen an episode or two of it at some point.  And the Hulk isn't terribly complicated.  Bruce Banner hulks out when he gets angry, end of story.

Iron Man, I agree, was probably an unknown to most non comics readers before the film came out.  But it was a really excellent film and Robert Downey Jr rocked.  It probably would still have been a better film than Green Lantern with a different main actor due to the script was better.  And Reynolds is no Robert Downey Jr.  But the concept of Iron Man is still, I think, easier than the Green Lantern Corps.

Don't mistake me, Green Lantern as a character isn't that difficult.  A guy with a magic ring fights crime.  OK, we can go with that.  And maybe the first Green Lantern film should have stuck with portraying that and let the noobs get a handle on the character before introducing wierd aliens.  But once you introduce Oa and the Guardians and various Green Lanterns from various planets it gets complicated.

Now I'd hardly consider myself a Green Lantern expert.  I don't think I've ever read an issue of Green Lantern and am mostly familliar with the Green Lantern mythos and the various Lanterns from their appearances in other DC books.  I'm far more familliar with Guy Gardener and Jon Stewart than Hal Jordan.  But I do know that self confidence was not an issue for Jordan.  He was without fear in all areas of his life and never doubted that he was in the right.  His bigger problem was admitting mistakes and having too large an ego.  He was a bit of a jerk.

Maybe they thought this character would be unsympathetic because that was not the character Reynolds played.  The cringing whiner in the movie was the complete opposite of the Hal Jordan I'm familliar with.  They went too far in the opposite direction, making the Jordan in the movie obnoxious.  He was sunk in self pity and irritated the heck out of me.

Making a character somewhere in the middle of these two extremes would have been the way to go.

BTW, can somebody please explain this obsession with burying the dead I see in movies and TV shows.  Abin Sur dies in Jordan's arms and passes on the ring.  The authorities are on their way to investigate the crashed space ship and Jordan knows he will be in a huge amount of trouble if they catch him there.  Still, Jordan insists on taking time to bury Abin Sur's body.  On a public beach.  Now, not only is a beach, where waves wash the sand around, a stupid place to bury a body, there is no chance that the authorities will leave the body there.  And indeed, the body is quickly exhumed and sent off to be disected by scientists.  And the fact that somebody burried the body tips the authorities off that somebody was there and they should find that person and see what he knows.

Hal Jordan is a moron.

I understand showing respect for the dead, but people seem to have this obsession with it which I don't understand.

TheRiffs 10/14/2011 3:15:06 PM

 Karas1 i could not agree with you more 

Green Lantern is a much tougher sell because you cannot just have him on earth saving the day and stopping crime. Green Lantern is about the whole universe and that being said is the difficult part about his character. The entire Corps could take hours to explain along with each characters own story. The problem mostly lied in the script with its cheesy lines and half ass love story but hey it still made its budget back. The movie was terrible and yes i am still going to buy it today but i just do not see a better way of introducing the character unless they decided just to stay on earth. That being said my hopes for Green Lantern 2 are high since the story should be done with earth and focus on the Sinestro Corps (if i am not mistaken i believe they are still going through with it?)

Btw Hal Jordan is the greatest Green Lantern.

jayinvincible 10/14/2011 6:14:03 PM

This is how the first review for the Blu Ray should have gone instead of a fluff piece of garbage that could have been summed up by my 8 year old. ##Editors should at least read the review before it hits print

 

jedibanner 10/14/2011 9:12:49 PM

Karas1, I think even with the fact that the Hulk was well knowned, both movies didn't do as well as Iron Man or Thor or even Captain America but in the end, we both agree script and acting was at fault for this disaster.

As far as Hal Jordan's personality, we all agree it ain't what was portrait in this movie and that's what the suits missed at WB because they just wanted someone knowned and have that person pretend to be a hero instead of living as a hero (in the movie of course).

And say what you will, showing Oa and the guardiens isn't too complicated, it's doable...just not in the way they did it.

And about the burying thing...that's just one of the many bad things with this movie...logic or common sense isn't part of the Green Lantern universe.

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