Monday, June 27, 2011

Green Lantern Does Not Get Green Light

Over the weekend I saw Green Lantern and I had mediocre expectations for this comic book turned movie. One of the reasons that I had these expectations was because I simply did not know much about this super hero. In addition, from seeing the previews Green Lantern seemed as if it would have too much computer animation, and for me that is distracting. Regardless of my thoughts, I went into the theatre thinking that it would be a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

The movie began in traditional comic book to movie exposition attempting to build the personality and character of main character Hal Jordan played by Ryan Reynolds. As I discussed with someone over the weekend, Jordan's character never fully materialized and I never felt as if I got to know the man behind the Green Lantern. This is an essential aspect to any comic book movie. The viewer must be able to see the separation of super hero and human. Also, the viewer must identify with the character in some aspect of their life. This was severely lacking in defining Hal Jordan the human and skipped right ahead to his transition to becoming a super hero.

As I stated previously, I do not know much about Green Lantern, but something tells me that the comic book was not done justice in the movie version when Hal Jordan comes to terms with his power, position, and realization of his role as a super hero. The movie was only 114 minutes so I doubt that time was a real constraint, but the movie quickly progressed into Jordan needing to prove himself to Sinestro who is the best friend and protege Abin Sur. Abin Sur was the Green Lantern who gave the Green Lantern ring to Hal Jordan. The movie then moves to the "high point" with a strange rivalry with childhood acquaintance Dr. Hector Hammond. This had no real development outside of barely mentioning a childhood romantic rivalry over a co-worker and friend of both, Carol Ferris. Like I said, this rivalry moved way too quickly and I really don't understand why Hammond was such a villain to be the focal point of the movie.

The movie tries to fit even more into an already confusing and underdeveloped plot by attempting to add Spider Man like romance, complex family issues, and a rivalry with another Green Lantern. The bad part here was that the rivalry with the other Green Lantern is not shown until after the first 10 minutes of the credits and there is no explanation of why Sinestro would continue this rivalry against Jordan. Very poorly done with many questions left unanswered for no apparent reason.

The worst part of the movie for me had to be the computer animation. Don't get me wrong, CGI is great when done well, but there was way too much CGI effects and characters for my liking. Can you say "Jar-Jar Binks times 10?" I really was turned off by the CGI and I just kept thinking about how bad it was instead of focusing on the story.

You can call me overly critical, but Green Lantern is one comic book that should have stayed on paper not just because of the complex storyline, but also because I think drawings would have made the characters and effects look much better than mixing CGI and live action. Pills gives Green Lantern 2/5 stars.

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