GREEN LANTERN MOVIE
Straight to the point:
It’s the kind of story you could only find in a comic book. Ace pilot Hal Jordan is bequeathed a magic ring by a dying alien and finds himself inducted into the ranks of an intergalactic police force. The DVD of the big screen adaptation of comicdom’s favourite emerald peace-keeper is out now, but is it any cop?
I always find it personally disappointing when a comic book movie fails to live up to its four-colour source material. Hal Jordan: Green Lantern is, unfortunately, one of those films. The Green Lantern has been around in one form or another, saving the universe from intergalactic ne’er-do-wells and making it with hot alien chicks for the past seventy years. That’s seventy years of awe-inspiring plot-arcs, shocking twists and heart-breaking soap-opera by hundreds of different writers and artists who have together created an exciting and dynamic universe for Hal Jordan and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps to serve and protect using the mighty power of green, the colour of willpower.
It boggles my mind, then, that the creators of these movies choose to ignore these stories when producing these boring slices of celluloid tedium. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some awful storylines committed to the pages of DC’s Green Lantern comic over the years, but there is also pure gold in those dusty back issues. Why not give these a try before passing the screenwriting duties to fifty dudes to finish over their lunch break?
I’m not saying the Green Lantern movie is the first film to perpetrate such ignorance of it source material (and, to be fair, it’s target audience). The writers of Wolverine: Origins, X-Men: The Last Stand and Catwoman (to name a few) all thought they could do better than half a century of men and women whose job it was to write these characters for sometimes years at a time. And, seriously? Catwoman? Why not a feature length Alfred the Butler movie? (Although if that involved Michael Caine burning down a forest full of Burmese rebels, I would be on that like tits on a fat guy).
Putting my fan-boy wrath aside for a moment, the film isn’t entirely bereft of merit. The CGI is effective; fantastic worlds and strange aliens are all made believable. A great job is done bringing some of the more outlandish elements of the Green Lantern universe to life – the wise and ancient Oans who appeared as tiny blue old guys with massive heads in the comics here are intriguingly disturbing and satisfyingly alien – something that comes across well in all of the extra-terrestrial creatures and environments that our hero encounters. That is until you see Ryan Reynolds standing there like Bob Hoskins in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? giving us a reference point to reality and reminding us how flawed computer effects still are. And what’s with his eyes once he puts his mask on? Did they really need to CGI those? It makes him look creepier than those dead-eyed children and their serial killer conductor from The Polar Express.
It might just be a symptom of my man-crush but I have quite a soft spot for Ryan Reynolds. He doesn’t shine in this as he does in films such as The Nines or, dare I say it, Definitely Maybe, but he’s more than charming enough to carry the lead role; it’s just unfortunate that he couldn’t have chosen a better vehicle for his “big break”. There’s a plot in there somewhere, Tim Robbins and Angela Bassett phone in a performance and Mark Strong steals the entire thing as the morally ambiguous purple-faced Sinestro, but overall this film boils down to grab-bag of missed opportunities and all-too-brief glimpses of what could have been a fantastic movie given a little more time and effort. Lazy and dull, one really for those who wished Spy Kids had a little less action and more pretty colours.
Ben Fee 22/10/2011