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I learned a few things this weekend. First, Blake Lively is not a Carie Burnett. Second, action films without much action should be considered a form of false advertising worthy of a refund. Third, special effects without a good story weren’t a good idea for the latest “Star Wars” trilogy, and they’re a train wreck for “Green Lantern”.
Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) may be a reckless Air Force pilot, but the intergalactic police force known as the Green Lantern Corps sees something in him even he can’t see in himself. When Parallax (voiced by Clancy Brown), an ancient evil that feeds off the galaxy’s fear, kills the most powerful Lantern, Abin Sur (Tamuera Morrison), the selection process for his replacement leads to the first human candidate, our buddy Hal, also introducing Earth to alien life for the first time. When a new hair-do and a ring gives him the power of whatever he can imagine, Jordan must fight an impending evil that knows how to exploit his internal weakness.
Following up “Watchmen” in 2009, Warner Bros. Pictures moves as far away from bleak and dire as possible.
To help out, Reynolds uses his Jim Carrey-style acting to lighten the mood, tragically changing the tone of a Golden Age superhero into a more predictable typecast for an A-list actor. Reynolds hasn’t learned any new tricks, turning characters into generic extensions of what we’ve already seen before.
Reynolds’ strongest co-stars are not humans but a bunch of CGI characters from outer space: Sinestro (Mark Strong), Tomar-Re (voiced by Geoffrey Rush) and Kilowog (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan). What does that say about a film when the most intriguing aspects are non-human and non-Earth?
Sure, there are plenty of earthlings to hang out with — Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), Dr. Amanda Waller (Angela Bassett) and Sen. Hammond (Tim Robbins) — but they all just take away from the much more interesting interstellar story that consumes too little screen time.
“Green Lantern” goes wrong on every level, from storyline to CGI. I was half expecting Reynolds to break the fourth wall and assure the audience that he’s aware this is all crap.
What’s worse, I’m not sure who to blame: the four screenwriters attached, Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg (if that’s not a clue that the script went through several revisions); director, Martin Campbell (“Casino Royale” and “Edge of Darkness”); or Warner Bros., the parent company of DC Comics.
The only thing I can be sure of is that it takes a village to raise such a terrible popcorn movie. This is what happens when multiple people unite behind a singular bad idea. It starts with the screenplay and unravels from there.
As for the composer, James Newton Howard has his moments, but the music here is more in line with a direct-to-video cheerleading film. Instead of a solid orchestral score, we get random electric guitar mood makers that would’ve been hip 15 years ago.
The rare moments that do feature the good ole’ strings and brass are shamelessly too much like John Williams’ theme from the 1978 “Superman”…not in a tribute, but a plagiaristic kind of way.
If you want to see something that truly captures the tone of the Green Lantern, just watch the cartoon, “Green Lantern: First Flight”, or check out Jaron Pitts’ fan trailer with Nathan Fillion (Richard Castle from “Castle”) as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern. They each show what the film should’ve looked like.
This is what happens when a superhero film forgets its audience.
There’s this myth that they’re for kids, yet pre-teens aren’t the ones flooding the box office for midnight and opening weekend showings. It’s gotta be every age group, yet “Green Lantern” has the dialogue of a morning cartoon and special effects that would only be impressive for a video game.
Let’s face it, the superhero needs to grow up if it wants to be taken seriously, and this is now the primary example of where and how it all goes wrong. We’ve tried the campiness of “Fantastic Four” and bad one-liners of “Ghost Rider”.
The intergalactic green cop combines all the worst elements of a genre struggling for credibility. Congratulations Martin Campbell, you successfully took a superhero with the power of imagination and created one of the most unoriginal genre films of the year. We have a new standard for underachieving.
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