Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ten Statements About....GREEN LANTERN (2011)

"This is my power ring..but our ancestor called it maize..."
"You know, we have a saying on earth, we say; I'm only human. We say it because we're vulnerable. We say it because we know we're afraid. But it doesn't mean we're weak. Help me save my planet. Don't give in to fear. Fight it! Fight it with me!"

1) Dear Ryan Reynolds: just because you're supposed to have no fear doesn't mean you can't show any emotion. That sort of steady-state laid back with touches of snarkiness doesn't work when you're playing a character who, whether written by John Broome, Denny O'Niell or Geoff Johns, is sometimes too emotional.

The same goes for you, Ms. Lively.

2) One of the biggest nagging problems for me with this film is how the script seems to be Frankensteined from earlier successful super-hero movies. From the way Hal resolves the simulated firefight by using high altitudes to his 'oath anthology' to the initial appearance of GL involves saving a helicopter, there's a definite sense of this movie trying to quote those films that came before it instead of finding something new to say.

3) While the bulk of the film's mythology, sadly, cannibalizes the Johns Mary-Sue-like run, there are some weird choices--why, for example, do you make a point of almost recreating a scene from issue #1 of Emerald Dawn when you then choose to have Hal picked up at a birthday party?

4) And while we're on the subject, it's very disconcerting seeing practically everyone who matters in this film holding Hal in such high regard--even when he's being chewed out--when Hal pretty much does nothing to indicate to us that he is worthy of being hero-worshipped like this. The funny thing is, when we do get some small, subtle indicators later on--like when Hal stands up for Hector Hammond at the party--they're pretty much tossed away.

5) Angela Bassett doesn't need a fat suit to be Amanda Waller. Angela Bassett was born Amanda Waller, and don't you forget it.

6) It's funny how Peter Starsgaard's Hector Hammond is portrayed as the typical Modern DC Legacy Character--namely, an already extant character gives him his powers, he kicks ass, threatens to do something icky and unsavory with the female lead...and then the already extant character shows up, says the equivilent of 'Hey, thanks for keeping my seat warm, I got this,' and blasts him into oblivion.

Say what you like about the humans...they mostly got the
aliens right...
7) I really, really liked Geoffrey Rush's Tomar-Re, and I appreciated that they made it so that he was the first GL Hal meets, as is tradition. Mark Strong's Sinestro was also okay, although I found his final actions at odds with his character arc. I do wish we got to have Hal interact with one or two other Lanterns (like Salaak, who we saw for an eyeblink), or give us a mass Lantern Oath, but there you go.

8) I do wish there was more on OA, for the film really does seem to get a shot of adrenaline when it's there, but there are some really odd design choices. The Guardians, with their weird translucent glass-heads and those mile-long robes in particular looked more silly than wondrous.

9) I admit that I appreciated how they just sidestepped the whole secret identity thing; by having Tom and Carol figure out who Hal is almost immediately, it avoided diminishing them and keeping their status as smarter-than-average intact. Plus it gave Hal a legitimate 'flight crew' on Earth for certain key moments.

"Look, you're cute and all, but I am not dressing up as The
Black Widow for you..."
10) With all the problems I had with the script, I do like how it played fair with us; it lays down elements that Hal uses in all his super-heroing scenes early so we never wonder why he came up with certain constructs..

Overall...this is not a bad's just, well, blah, an average super-hero film that has two not-very-exciting actors at its core and seems more intent in quoting other films than blazing its own trail. It didn't break my heart, as it didn't disrespect one of my all-time favorite super-heroes. But it did leave me with an sense that there should have been so much more.

I was at the Loews Kips Bay again--and among the same old trailers I've been seeing for the last three months, I saw one for the Fright Night remake that made me want to throw things at the screen. I mean, if you're remaking a horror comedy--and a pretty successful one--don't you want to keep the comedy in? And I'm sorry--Chris Sarandon as Jerry Dandridge had style; Colin Farrell in a wife beater...doesn't. At least it has Imogen 'I have the most unfortunate last name in movies' Poots in it...

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