‘Green Lantern’ doesn’t earn a green light
June 22, 2011
The Green Lantern, a DC Comics superhero series that debuted in the 1940s, gets a reboot in this live-action cartoon. Following his reported campaign to play Flash Gordon, Ryan Reynolds settled instead for this role that hangs on him like an ill-fitting T-Shirt.
A comedian by nature, Reynolds is best suited to an opening passage focused on misbehaving test pilot Hal Jordan. The flyboy imprudently sleeps around and is reckless with prototype fighter jets. His inability to hold onto feisty Carol (Blake Lively) ought to negatively impact his career since she also happens to also be the boss’s daughter. However, while she deplores Jordan’s behavior, she shields the hotshot from her justifiably angry father. In a disturbing turn of events, after Jordan becomes a Green Lantern, Carol is transformed into his adoring groupie, fawning over him, hanging on his every word and dumping her stylish business suits for sexy little dresses.
Voiceover explains that the Green Lanterns are an intergalactic group of peacekeepers, chosen for the job because they are fearless. After a mortally wounded purple extraterrestrial Green Lantern crashes to earth, Jordan is encased in a ball of green energy that transports him to the dying alien’s side where he is given the special green lantern with its power-bestowing ring.
Jordan learns to use his green lantern powers on the planet Oa, while back on Earth, Dr. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) autopsies the alien and is infected with a material granting him super abilities. Unlike Jordan, who is made more handsome by his skintight lantern suit, poor Hammond must endure head-reshaping that approximates a case of elephantiasis.
While many of the $150 million dollar special effects are passable, the story’s main villain, a morphing dark cloud, prone to sprout a skull-shaped head, called Parallax, is rendered as a simple cartoon. Consequently, the overstuffed battles scenes between this evil force and hoards of Green Lanterns, lack a sense of menace.
On the planet Oa, each of five intriguing guardian immortals resides on his or her own tower spire. They appear both ancient and world-weary in their translucent blue skin and large wrinkled heads. Far less design informs a smattering of extraterrestrial creatures that serve in the Green Lanterns Corps, beings that register as 1950s science-fiction cliches.
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During its latter half, the film uses Green Lantern/Jordan’s repeated journeys between Earth and the faraway sector, 2814, as filler. Equally disappointing is Jordan’s rekindled love affair with Carol who’s now lost her spunk and is seemingly drained of self-respect.
Angela Basset and Tim Robbins appear as peripheral characters, but the gravitas brought by these fine actors, given nothing of interest to do, serves to further emphasize the weak story. Word is that Warner Brothers – seeking a new cash cow to replace the Harry Potter films – has already approved a second “Green Lantern.” Therefore, my major concern is, where can we find a superhero to save us from bad superhero movies?