Friday, August 12, 2011

Review: Green Lantern

Green Lantern
Dir. Martin Campbell
Year: 2011
Aus Rating: M15+
Running Time: 114mins

It’s curious. The thing I kept thinking about most of all after exiting Green Lantern was not how especially bad it was – although it is. Very. – or Ryan Reynold’s marvellous physique – although it is. Very. – but, instead, how uniformly ugly everything is. Whether it’s the poorly-coiffed, heavily-bronzed actors, the dark acid-washed visual effects or the dingy soap opera sequences that make Kenneth Branagh’s Thor look like Shakespeare in comparison. Everything here is ugly. In fact, the only thing here that isn’t particularly ugly is Ryan Reynolds himself, although perhaps I was distracted by his abdominal muscles that are visible through clothing. Perhaps.

You want a plot recap? I honestly couldn’t give you one outside of there being this guy called Hal Jordon who flies jets in the military and he gets “chosen” by “the ring” to become the newest member of an intergalactic police unit. They’ve clearly been playing around in other sectors of the universe if they’d thus far ignored this planet. We need all the help we can get! Then there’s some story about a former something something becoming an evil something something that plans to take over the universe? Oh, and Peter Sarsgaard running around doing his impersonation of a fey Elephant Man and Tim Robbins looking like an outcast of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory doing their own version of Nancy Meyers’ What Women Want. I think it’s impressive I can recall that much.

Unfortunately, director Martin Campbell – a talented man responsible for two of the best James Bond flicks – seems to lack any idea of what is most interesting about his story. We barely get a chance to see any of the alien “green lantern corp” in detail, with only Geoffrey Rush’s fish-faced Tomar-Re (didn’t we already see this in Hellboy?) and Michael Clark Duncan as the actually-sorta-racist Kilowog. The location itself, the far away planet known as Om, is so horrifically lit that its images are barely visible. Maybe it’s just me, but when I go see a movie that purports to send viewers to planets in far off galaxies I’d rather they not look like a coal mine.

Back on Earth, meanwhile, we have to sit through a ridiculous sequence in which Uncle Hal must put his family at ease over a near-fatal plane disaster that – oh no! – had echoed his own father’s death via exploding air flying thingy. The love interest is played with vapid nothingness by Blake Lively who appears to have that unique acting talent of being able to cry without actually crying. My favourite bit in the entire film was when Lively’s Carol Ferris (what an ugly name) wipes a tear off of her cheek when there was, er, no tear to actually wipe away. That’s acting, folks! And then, of course, how about the night party scene where she shows up with her hair looking like a fly girl from In Living Color? Why the filmmakers decided to not give Angela Bassett her own super-power of enunciation is beyond me. She could talk that flying octopus of mud to death!

That someone as white bread as Ryan Reynolds gets to play a well-off, successful man whose inner virtues apparently far outweigh is outer rotten personality is probably the least offensive thing about Green Lantern. How about that ridiculous mid-credits coda that might as well began with “2 years on Green Lantern 2: Legend of the Mysterious Ga’zahoole or whatever”? I mean, there’s leaving the door open for a sequel and then there’s being so arrogant as to expect audiences will somehow show up for a sequel to an obvious dud of a movie just because you throw a yawnsome coda onto the end.

Oh sure, I admit to getting minor kicks out of seeing Ryan Reynold’s good looking mug and even better looking body plastered onto a big cinema screen, but a Google image search is equally forthcoming with the visual splendours. And, hey, at least that way he doesn’t look a ken doll with no genitals! I can’t particularly criticise the 3D since the wizards behind the scenes do well enough with what they were given for the post-conversion effort. Same goes for James Newton Howard whose score occasionally finds some rousing form amidst the cluttered scenery. The screenplay by Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg occasionally comes out with an amusing line – I particularly enjoyed the one about having eyes in the back of your head – but their setup is rote and lacks rhythm. The ending is quite dunderheaded, really, when held up to the light of day for even moment. It’s all just a bit too shabby; not good enough in any legitimate way and not silly enough to truly embrace its ‘80s spirit. D+

1 comment:

Dan O. said...

The mythology is nonsensical and the plot takes forever to get going. But once it does, the movie takes advantage of a strong cast and a director who knows what he’s doing. Good Review!