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Green Lantern (2011)

01/02/2012. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Green Lantern (2011) in the USA - or Buy Green Lantern (2011) in the UK

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region 2 DVD: pub: Warner Bros 5000129613. 109 minute film with a couple extras. Price: about GBP 5.00 (UK) if you know where to look). cast: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett and Tim Robbins.

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Years ago, I said that if ever there was a super-hero that could be created on film or TV using CGI effects for his powers then Green Lantern would be the perfect choice. With last year’s ‘Green Lantern’ film, the CGI didn’t just cover the imagery of the ultimate energy weapon but was employed for every facet of this film, right down to digitally created costumes. In many respects, the advances in CGI, especially in skin texture, shows how far these effects have come in the past couple decades in that it’s a lot harder to spot the joins between it and the real thing. In that respect, ‘Green Lantern’ is truly a spectacular film but considering the number of CGI effects teams that were employed across the world to create it, that shouldn’t be a surprise.

The origin of how Hal Jordan (actor Ryan Reynolds) becomes the owner of the Green Lantern ring and portable battery is fairly close to most of the comicbook versions. Green Lantern Abin Sur is travelling by spaceship back from a mission when he is attacked and jettisons in a life-pod that lands on Earth. Dying, he orders his ring to find a successor and it picks Hal Jordan, a somewhat reckless test pilot who gets results which the ring regards as being fearless. Jordan is also something of a loose cannon as the previous day he wrecks an expensive jet fighter to prove a point against two drone automated jets. Not sure how much that reflects on real life as test pilots meet the grade by being calm under pressure and although not every test pilot gets an opportunity to be given a power ring, Jordan is portrayed as being a bit too goofy in that respect.

Powered by his ring, Jordan is drawn to OA where he meets Toma-Re (actor Dorian Kingi with the voice of Geoffrey Rush) and is given some basic training by Kilowog (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan ) and then shown by Sinestro (actor Mark Strong) just how much he still to learn to belong to the Green Lantern Corps. Dejected, he returns to Earth and into another maelstrom. Scientist Hector Hammond (actor Peter Sarsgaard doing a superb performance) had been allowed to do an autopsy of Abin Sur’s body and finding a yellow fragment of a stone that empowers the being called Parallax finds himself physically changing and developing psionic powers of mind reading and telekinetics. This is before the main event when Green Lantern has to face off against Parallax to save the planet Earth.

The plot is basically that of how a knight wins his spurs so there is little that can go wrong with that. It’s only when you dig below the surface that I found myself asking questions. As Abin Sur is the only discovered alien on Earth can we suppose this reality does not have a Superman? It isn’t as though DC Comics characters have been bought by different studios for filming after all. Speaking of Abin Sur, you would have thought that Sinestro or other Green Lanterns would have returned his body to OA for internment considering the number of graves there are on their headquarters.

I did have a ponder on why none of the Green Lanterns have the traditional white gloves by concluded that perhaps the contrast would have been too sharp to the more dark moody of much of this film. Making the costume resemble a power conduit is a novel idea created by the ring and even a mask to conceal identity on the home planet if required but all of that is subject to the twenty-four hour period of charge. If that runs out during a mission, you could end up being starkers – depending on what you were wearing when you had to change – and certainly revealing your face.

Probably the biggest weakness was in the Guardians voices. The DVD is sorely lacking in extras with only the preview of the ‘Green Lantern: The Animated Series’ making a telling point. When you compare the voices of the Guardians there to that of the film then you’d drawn the same conclusion. With the film the Guardinas lack gravitas. Surely that should have been spotted in post-production and allowed a stronger choice to be dubbed in. Even the likes of Kilowog and Tomar-Re deserved a more alien timbre to their voices as well but that’s more locked in by the choice of actors.

Saying all of that, the ‘Green Lantern’ film is still an interesting film to watch and I suspect its real downfall at the cinema is the character not being as well-known as DC’s main stalwarts to the general public. With only a hint of what is going to happen to Sinestro for a sequel, one has to wonder if it will come to that? The telling lack of extras on this DVD speaks its own story of how much effort Warner Bros is putting behind its promotion and why its price has dropped so quickly. I do hope that it does better as a DVD long enough for someone to give the go ahead for a sequel.

GF Willmetts

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