Monday, 20 June 2011

Green Lantern - Dir. Martin Campbell

“In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight…” Unless you’re a comic-book aficionado, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to finish the Green Lantern oath off through simple guesswork, but Martin Campbell’s film is structured in such way to appeal to both comic-fans and comic-newbies alike. The cinematic adaptation of the DC comic-book Green Lantern follows a member of the Green Lantern Corps, everyman Hal Jordan goes from being a test-pilot, to a universal peace-keeper, while having to juggle the conventional girl in between. It is a fun and easy-to-enjoy comic-book movie, neither Campbell nor Reynolds take the film too seriously and it will no doubt be appreciated well by children across the globe, but it’s fun, free loving spirit can’t save the film from having an absolutely dire script an un-even pacing during the second-act which in turn drags the comic-to-film property from decent fanfare to adequate beginnings.

Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a first-rate test-pilot who never seems to be able to live up to not only his own potential, but others expectations of him as well. Battling the various demons associated with his past, he coasts through life and his job to the displeasure of many including his female co-pilot Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), and that is until the Green Lantern member Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) crash-lands on Earth and chooses Hal as his successor. Abin Sur is a member of an inter-galactic peacekeeping authority called the Green Lantern Corps, with over 3,600 members, the group promises to protect all life-forms in the entire universe(s) against evil, and now Hal Jordan has been chosen as humanity’s first member. Armed with a ring, a green lantern, and almost infinite power which is driven through the strength of its participants will-power, Hal must join the Green Lantern Corps and prove himself as he battles the parasitic-entity Parallax which feeds on its opponents fear.

Despite obtaining some criticism from writers and critics about ‘Green Lanterns’ lavish and brightly coloured CGI and non-CGI sets, it does allow the film to set this planet apart from the other worlds in which other comic-books envision. Oa, where the Green Lantern Corps central base of operations is situated, is a brightly lit utopia fuelled through the will-power of thousands. It looks beautiful, as the computer generated imagery really sets the city a part from other recently envisioned comic-book realms. While the characters themselves, Sinestro (Mark Strong), Killerwog (Michael Clarke Duncan) and the Guardians of the Universe also establish themselves within the comic book universe with their unique and vibrant appearances, allowing them to drive the film’s plot along where needed, but their characters are incredibly underused, which is most likely a product of the fact that a ‘Green Lantern’ sequel is no doubt being lined up ASAP, but it is also a big drain on the film’s impact. While the CGI aliens and action heavy plot does its part to create a pretty-easy-going-popcorn-flick, the human characters and the film’s script do not.

Despite ‘Green Lanterns’ running time being a mere one hour and forty-five minutes due to the boring and drawn-out second act of the film it seems like the film lasts a lot longer in reality. While it is a Green Lantern/Hal Jordan-centric film, very little time is spent even trying to intersperse a small amount of characterisation into the human characters of the piece. Senator Hammond (Tim Robbins), Dr. Waller (Amanda Bassett) and even the film’s Earth-trapped antagonist, science teacher Henry Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), are barely allowed any time to present and develop their own motives or thoughts. This isn’t helped by the film’s exceptionally clichéd and poorly written script which fails to not only add further depth to related characters, but it also fails to provide Reynolds with enough humorous sequences to drive his comic-book persona. While ‘Green Lantern’ does work on some levels, it also fails on others, and while the film is very easy-going and enjoyable comic-book adaptation, it is also severely restricted by its slow-moving, poorly written middle segment which is then undermined further its frenetic conclusion.
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