Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Green Lantern

So I went out to the Green Lantern last night. This movie was supposed to be a mega-blockbuster summer action movie from DC comic studios to compete against Marvel's X-men: First Class. Unfortunately they did several things wrong. They showed too much of the CG effects in the trailers, making people have Star Wars prequel flashbacks, They used the DC Ultimate Universe storyline rather than the original, they put unneeded 3D effects into a movie that takes place almost entirely in the dark (3D needs a lot of light to really be effective, on dark scenes it's very hard to see), and they cast Ryan Reynolds as the Green Lantern. And of course, they put it up against X-men which both looked like a better movie, an WAS a better movie.

Now, I will admit, that it would ahve been impossible to make a Green Lantern movie without some use of CG effects, however, there are quite a few scenes in the movie where it's one actor in a completely blue room trying to figure out what he's supposed to be looking at and talking to, just like the Star Wars prequels. You don't NEED to use CG effects that much. They make the movie look sterile and fake, when the entire point of a movie like this is to make you believe that these things actually exist.

The Green Lantern cost $200,000,000 to make, and since it's release in mid june has only made back half of that. In other words, it flopped big time, leaving the production company a hundred million dollars in the hole.

Now for the uninitiated, DC comics has two sides. There is the DC Original Universe and the DC Ultimate Universe. The DC Original Universe is basically all of original versions of all of thier comic book heroes. The DC Ultimate Universe came along in the mid 90s when DC decided that they were sick of adding onto all of these 50 year old comics and it was time for a change. They ended every single one of their big series, including superman, batman, and the green lantern, and started them over with more modern artwork, and new storylines that the people of today would hopefully connect with better than the Original Universe. Many of these Ultimate Universe comics completely flopped and DC was forced to revive many of the Original Universe series, they also tried many more Ultimate Universe reboots, but most of them were never as popular as the Original Universe stories for those same heroes. One of the ones that did not see a return to the Original Universe was the Green Lantern. And this movie was based on the Ultimate Version of the Green Lantern rather than the Original Universe version. This is something that annoyed me from teh very beginning of the movie, because I never did like the Ultimate Universe Green Lantern very much, and I loved the Original Universe. Also, there are two Green Lanterns, there is Hal Jordan, and there is Guy Gardner, who took over as Green Lantern from Hal Jordan when the original writers decided that his character wasn't interesting enough, and the series needed something new to interest comicbook fans. Guy Gardner is BY FAR the more entertaining of the two, btw.

The movie wasn't completely horrible. It did have some good parts, but the bad outweighed the good. Of course I was biased from the beginning becuse they used the Ultimate Universe storyline. Their casting was horrible, I get that they wanted a sarcastic douchebag that could crack jokes to be the Green Lantern, but there's plenty of those around that aren't as goofy as Ryan Reynolds. He's not superhero material, and he plays the role like it's another gross out comedy, when there are no gross out jokes. At least half of the movie takes place in completely CGed environments like the Star Wars prequels, and it looks just as bad and fake as they did. There are too many completely CGed characters, including the entire green lanter corp beside Ryan Reynolds and the guy he got his ring from (who, funny enough, was played by the guy who was Jango Fett/the clones in the star wars prequels). The thing that put it over the edge as unredeemable to me was that his suit was completely CG. I get that they wanted to have the animated glow on it and all, but you see, there's this thing called rotoscoping where you add an animated glow to objects already on screen, and it both a.) looks more real, and b.) costs way less to do than CGing his suit on every time he wears it.

There was very little in the way of character developement, which is odd, because they spent most of the movie supposedly developing the characters. The villain is completely flat, with no personality and absolutely no reason given to be evil. A cardboard cutout might have given a more believable performance as the love interest, and Ryan Reynolds can't decide whether he's taking the role seriously or not.

They got Hal Jordan's personality completely wrong in an effort to make him a more likable character. In the comics he's supposed to be a complete douchbag that cares about no one but himself, and the extent that he doesn't give a crap, and the lengths to which he will go to avoid having to do anything that doesn't directly benefit him are normally hilarious. You can make an unlikeable character likeable with the right writers and the right actor. Look at Ironman. Tony Stark is not a likable person, but the writing and the performance given by Robert Downey Jr. make him entertaining enough that you don't care he's a sarcastic dickhole. The Green Lantern is supposed to be the same way. He's an unlikable, sarcastic dickhole, but he's usually written in such a way that it's funny and entertaining. Seriously, if your writers aren't talented enough to pull something like that off in a movie, FIRE THEM AND GET NEW WRITERS THAT ARE!!! Don't completely change the character to fit the movie. I always liked the Guy Gardner Green Lantern more, because he was even worse than Hal Jordan in not caring. Half the time he wouldn't even wear his suit becuse he just didn't care who knew he was the Green Lantern, and that was really funny.

Anyway, Green Lantern wasn't horrible, and someone who has no clue what I've been talking about for most of this mini-review will probably find it rather enjoyable, but to comicbook fans this movie was basically an attrocity. It's worth seeing once, just to know how bad it was, and to see Tim Robbins finally returning to movies, but wait for it to be at the dollar theaters, or redbox/netflix it.

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