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The Green Lantern - Blu-ray Movie Review

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The Green Lantern - Movie Review

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2 stars

This is not the Green Lantern movie its fans have waited to see.  Positioned in what is deemed as the “safe zone” between the surprisingly stellar X-Men: First Class and the anticipated release of Captain America, the movie – directed by Martin Campbell (Casino Royal, The Mask of Zorro) should be able to hold its own on box office returns but it could have been and it should have been so much better than it currently is.  In what can only be described as a lite Michael Bay latte, Green Lantern suffers from being too familiar, too serious, and way too flat.

Special effects?  Check.

Actors?  Check.

Story?

Story?

Story?

Green Lantern, as a superhero, can be compared to Marvel’s Captain America as both are a product of 1940s American strong-jawed and equally strong-willed thought.  He’s a space-age hero; an intergalactic super cop but part of a larger army all sworn to protect their sector from the evil beings that crawl out of space and the final frontier.  His villains are simple-minded and aided by the color yellow.  Green Lantern, especially when Hal Jordan was introduced, was supposed to be a part of the burgeoning science fiction genre.  Unfortunately, this movie largely decides to jettison the simple fact of Americana and the series’ wider space opera aspects and presents its audience with a grounded hero, a pretty vapid heroine, and an under-developed villain all with pseudo-chic daddy issues.

Through the years, many different people have taken the Green Lantern oath.  The most notable however is Hal Jordan who made his comic book debut in 1959.  In Campbell’s Green Lantern – which borrows the new-and-improved origin story from 2004, Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a second-generation pilot and total hotshot self-confessed degenerate.  Muscular, fit, but simply afraid, Jordan has found his niche in life as a ladies man and sometimes Uncle to his brother’s kids.  It’s comfortable, selfish and unchallenging.

Longtime off-and-on-again love interest Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) is at a loss for what might change the broken parts inside Hal.  She’s worried that his flyboy antics are spiraling out of control and, upon his wrecking of a fighter jet in a near-death accident he just shrugs off, she knows that something from his past – his father’s haunting death – is eating away at him once again.  She can’t save him, though.  No human can touch this emotionally unavailable man.

Leave it to the cosmos to do the fixing.  A fatally wounded member of the Green Lantern corps, Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), crash lands on earth and allows the ring to choose its next owner.  The green power summons Jordan and, quite literally, whisks him away into a space-aged world of good greens and evil yellows.  Suspiciously eyed by Sinestro (Mark Strong, looking very much like a mutated David Niven) and bone-crushingly trained by Kilowog (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan), Hal discovers that his world and his entire universe has just been expanded by an all-too brief trip to the planet Oa.

Back on earth, Dr. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard, one of the film’s only bright spots although he is underused) has been exposed to the yellow liquid that caused Abin Sur’s death (after conducting the alien’s autopsy and is now experiencing some mind-altering abilities of his own.  Soon enough, the fates will see to it that Green Lantern and Hammond meet while duking it out for Carol’s hand while a growing force, Parallax, threatens to destroy earth.

Yawn.  Written by Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, and Michael Goldenberg, Green Lantern is as light as a feather and so very familiar in function that it never completely gets off the ground.  The story’s halved components, one part on earth and the other in space, feels supremely truncated by an earth-bound story that is too uncomplicated for its own good.  The science fiction element to the story gets about ten minutes of redundant and grossly unimaginative play (it’s essentially a training montage for heaven’s sake) and the awesome Green Lantern universe never feels fully explored or even satisfactorily introduced.  We are earth-bound all too soon and the film suffers in a very choppy manner.

The CGI suit is NOT the problem here.  Throughout the film, there are some super stellar 3D effects and - especially when the fight between Green Lantern and Parallax goes into space – they shimmy and shake with the best moments from the comic.  All those fanboys who got their whitey-tighties in a tender tuff because of the released footage can sleep soundly now.  It – every typed word of your annoying talkback – was all for nothing.  The CGI is fairly phenomenal and replicates the world of the comic faithfully and lively.

It’s the human part – because it’s played too straight without an element of camp – that doesn’t work.  We get a hint of what could have been if they – which they should have done – played it as the Flash Gordon it really is when Hal visits Carol as Green Lantern.  At first, she doesn’t recognize him…because of his mask…and then she understands (which all females never do in these comic books) and the two of them banter, in a very funny exchange, about not recognizing someone because of a strip of color around their eyes or wearing a mask…a curse of logic that plagues all superheroes.  The audience laughs.  They get this.  It’s a shining moment of the film; a missed opportunity.

An apology to his loyal fanbase for this next comment, but Green Lantern is a second-tier superhero and, as imagined by this bunch of Hollywood do-gooders, doesn’t deserve the sequel hinted at by the end-credits scene.  The Golden-Aged character is much better than what this Silver-Aged inspired movie delivers.  Perhaps they can correct that with a Part Two, but, damn it, with a whopping $300 million at stake (that’s counting marketing, too) the filmmakers and studio really should have gotten the lava lamp mood of Green Lantern right from the very beginning.

{2jtab: Film Details}

The Green Lantern - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 - for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action.
Director: Martin Campbell
Writer
: Greg Berlanti & Michael Green & Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg
Cast:
Ryan Reynolds; Blake Lively; Peter Sarsgaard; Jenna Craig
Genre: Action | Sci-Fi
Memorable Movie Quote:
"The ring, it chose you. Use its power to defend our universe. Become one of us... become a Green Lantern."
Tagline:
In Our Darkest Hour, There Will Be Light..
Distributor:
Warner Bros. Pictures
Official Site:
www.imdb.com/title/tt1133985/officialsites
Release Date: June 17, 2011
Blu-ray Release Date:
October 14, 2011

Plot Synopsis: A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.

{2jtab: Blu-ray/DVD Review}

The Green Lantern - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
2 stars

2 stars



Blu-ray Experience
2 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - October 14, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Thai
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1; Thai: Dolby Digital 5.1. Note: Extended Cut: English audio only
Discs:
50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; DVD copy; Bonus View (PiP); BD-Live
Playback: Region-free

Warner Bros doesn’t exactly deliver the goods on its 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer of Green Lantern.  The problem for most geeks will be the blow the black levels deliver to the rest of the picture.  Talk about a bleeding crush.  While the cinematic release was dark, the colors – the bright yellows and even brighter greens – still managed to shine through for a glossy finish.  Here?  Even the shadows are wasted on its permanent midnight approach to the transfer.  Daylight scenes are also roasted with the heavy-handed approach to saturation levels and an over-anxious encode.  This is just not a pretty-looking offering from Warner Bros.  Its sound is not a loss, though.  The multi-layered charm of its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track attempts to make up for the picture, though.  It does with great bass levels and awesome use of the surround channels.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • It seems no one lays claim to this disappointment.  While more information can be found in the Movie Mode feature, there is no legit commentary.

Special Features:

Warner offers two versions of the film for its fans.  The first is the 114-minute theatrical cut and a special 123-minute extended cut.  The extra ten minutes help clear up a bit of the mess that is Hal’s backstory, but don’t really provide any great reason to keep this film from receiving a less than stellar review.  No more Oa; no more Green Lantern Corps.  It’s just Hal.

There are an abundance of special features on the blu-ray making the supplemental materials better than the feature film.  Sad.  First up is an exhaustive behind-the-scenes PIP look at the making of film with plenty of pop-ups and interviews to keep the viewer more interested in that than in the actual movie.  The supplemental material contained within the Movie Mode covers the comic book origins and brings us through the release of the film.  What follows are highlights from the movie, interviews with Green Lantern writers, its actors and actresses, a series of unfinished deleted scenes, and a look at the new animated series.  It will certainly please the fans, but when the feature looks this bad, it’s a small offering.

The release also comes with a special code to play Batman in Sinestro’s suit in the PS3 version of Arkham City.  It also includes a special UltraViolet version digital version of the movie.

  • Maximum Movie Mode: Green Lantern's Light (161 min)
  • Production Focus Points (47 min)
  • The Universe According to Green Lantern (20 min)
  • Ryan Reynolds Becomes the Green Lantern (9 min)
  • Five Deleted Scenes (7 min)
  • Justice League #1 Digital Comic (9 min)
  • Preview of ‘Green Lantern: The Animated Series’ (7 min)

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