Once upon a time, a young actor by the name of Ryan Reynolds was approached to star in two comic book adaptations. The first was a continuation of the already successful X-Men series, and the second was bringing an old DC favourite back into the limelight. After signing on for both, the latter was quickly pushed into production to block the first. Was this risk one that really paid off for Reynolds?
One of the lesser known heroes of the DC universe, Green Lantern still holds an impressive fan base, which has been with him since his first appearance in 1940. And after being suck in development hell since 1997, he finally managed to break onto the big screen this summer. Straight up, I have say it really wasn’t worth the effort.
Based on the Silver Age comic books, the movie is basically a backstory about how Hal Jordan (Reynolds) becomes the Green Lantern, how he’s in love with his childhood friend, boss and flying partner Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), how he takes on the sinister Parallax (Clancy Brown) and his conduit on Earth, Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard).
And that’s it. No real suspense, no real surprises, just a basic run-of-the-mill story that is stretched out over 114 minutes when 70 probably would have done.
Which leads me to my first major criticism of this movie: the story.
I get so annoyed when studios push out movies to make a quick buck over the summer months and neglect the basic backbone of the plot. You could put together the most fantastic cast with the most stunning visual effects (more on both of those in a moment), but if you don’t have an engaging and interesting story, you’re going to lose the majority of your audience within the first half hour, which is what happened with me. Flashing CGI across the screen and seeing Ryan Reynolds in little to no attire is not going to distract from the fact that nothing much is going on.
My next second major problem with this movie is the effects. Having had a look at the budget ($200 million if that sort of thing interests you), I really can’t see what they have spent in on, considering it looks like something from the 1990s. The CGI is so blatant that even the normal suspension of disbelief is shattered, and your subconscious is telling you, “Hey, even I can’t pretend this looks good or realistic”. Even 1995’s Casper has better CGI interaction, and that was among the first of its kind.
Finally, I have to mention the cast. Nobody is awful – in fact, I would go so far as to say that Reynolds rescues the movie from total disaster, as his Hal Jordan is funny, charming and ultimately the good guy we end up rooting for. What really irritates me, though, is the criminal underuse of the rest of the cast, with Sarsgaard, Tim Robbins and Angela Bassett barely getting any screen time, and some awful dialogue. This is the kind of cast that should sell a movie, not be side-lined by CGI with as much charisma as Jar-Jar Binks.
Overall, Green Lantern promises a lot, but delivers little. And if you are hoping for some Blu-ray gifts in Santa’s sack this year, pray he leaves this one stuck up the chimney.
There are four nice little features, including Green Lantern’s Light, which has lots of behind the scenes footage and great commentary from Green Lantern writer Geoff Johns. Focus Points is a look at the making of the movie, costume design and SFX work; The Universe According To Green Lantern is a discussion of the history of Green Lantern, and is a must for all comic book fans; and finally Ryan Reynolds Becomes The Green Lantern, which is a must for anybody of the female persuasion.
Also included are some deleted scenes, which were cut before any effects were added, a digital comic, which serves as a promo for the new Justice League comic book series, an extended cut (goodness only knows why you’d even want to watch this), and a preview of Green Lantern: The Animated Series. This is a rare example of a movie upstaged by its extras.Film:Disc:
You can rent or buy Green Lantern at Blockbuster.co.uk.