Review: GREEN LANTERN (2011) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Monday, 20 June 2011

Review: GREEN LANTERN (2011)

RATING: 1.5/5

The history behind the making of GREEN LANTERN goes way back to 1997 when Warner Bros. once approached director Kevin Smith to script the movie but he rejected the offer. Flash forward a decade later (in 2007), Greg Berlanti signed to direct the movie and co-wrote it with comic book writers Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim. But a year later, Berlanti is forced to leave the director's chair when Warner Bros. enlisted him to THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU and he was subsequently replaced by Martin Campbell (CASINO ROYALE). Warner Bros. has certainly putting this movie such a high hope since the studio is eagerly looking for the next moneymaking franchise after the HARRY POTTER series completed its chapter this coming July 2011. With a combined budget of production and marketing cost as high as $300 million for a comic book movie that has little fanfare in the eye of mainstream point-of-view, it's certainly a huge gamble. Now here's the question: is the long-gestating GREEN LANTERN worth all the anticipation? Well, it's sad to say that this movie is another summer's biggest disappointment of the year since last May's PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGERS TIDE. So what really goes wrong? More on that later.

The story centers on Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a cocky and irresponsible test pilot who likes to show off with his flying skill. He doesn't mind about the danger, especially after he saw his fearless father died in a tragic aviation mishap when he was a kid. However, all that about to change when he is somewhat destined for something much bigger than his ego. Somewhere in a universe made up of 3,600 sectors, there is the one called Planet Oa where the Green Lantern Corps. are responsible for fighting off the evil. When a powerful force of evil known as Parallax is spreading fear and destruction across the galaxy, the Green Lantern Corps. made attempt to stop their enemy but to no avail.

So it's up to the legendary Green Lantern Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) who is sent crashing toward planet Earth after a disastrous encounter with Parallax. This is where his ring will make a choice for the next member of the Green Lantern Corps. And ironically, the chosen one happens to be Hal Jordan, who becomes the first human ever to receive the highest honor. After pledging an oath of becoming a Green Lantern, Hal is subsequently whisked away by the ring to Planet Oa where he will meet the rest of the members as well as receiving extensive training program by the gigantic Kilowog (voice of Michael Clarke Duncan). However, the leader of the Green Lantern Corps. named Sinestro (Mark Strong) isn't particularly pleased with Hal being selected as the new Green Lantern, as he viewed him an unworthy successor.

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, frail scientist Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) finds himself infected with Parallax's yellow blood while performing an autopsy on Abin Sur in a highly-secured lab partly responsible by his influential senator father (Tim Robbins). He gradually obtains a newfound power that enable him to show off and particularly wants to get his hand on Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), Hal's lifelong friend and fellow test pilot. All hell breaks loose when Hal discovers that Parallax plans to consume all life on Earth to gain the energy needed to conquer Planet Oa. Now it's up to him to gain his courage and embrace his destiny as an intergalactic peacekeeper to save the world from destruction.

From the look of the movie, GREEN LANTERN actually has potential for becoming a worthy comic book movie franchise but director Martin Campbell, who make his first special effects-heavy feature, is mostly out of his element here. The movie is draggy and suffered from a series of long-winded expositions. The pace is inconsistent, while the screenplay (written by Michael Goldenberg, Greg Berlanti, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim) is poorly constructed and lack of coherent narrative thrust to make everything work in a circle. Instead the story is a bloated mess that tries hard to be a serious-minded superhero movie dealing issues of taking responsibility, conquering own's fear, etc. with a comedic undertone and a romantic drama altogether. Speaking of romantic drama, you would think that such genre will played second fiddle in comic book movie like GREEN LANTERN but the filmmakers choose to elaborate the love story between Hal and Carol to a near tedious level. Regrettably, the love story feels superficial and it's especially doesn't help when Blake Lively's performance as Carol Ferris is sorely lackluster.

Apart from Blake Lively, all the actors here are surprisingly average especially given some of the best talents involved here. Ryan Reynolds is as charismatic as usual, but his performance is flimsy whenever he requires to handle dramatic core. He's only at his best when he's at the goofy side, which is no surprising at all considered the acting background he used to come from. The usually-reliable Peter Sarsgaard is terribly wasted as the eccentric scientist, in which I must say, one of the most pathetic comic book villains ever seen in recent memory. The rest, including Mark Strong, Angela Bassett and Tim Robbins are all criminally underutilized that their roles should have been expanded more than just neglecting them into strict caricatures.

As with a movie directed by Martin Campbell, you would expect pure excitement in this movie. But this is no CASINO ROYALE or even THE MASK OF ZORRO he used to excel with such vibrant energy and kinetic flair in delivering top-notch action sequences. Except for the promising start where Hal tries to outwit the two fighter jets, the rest of the action sequences feel disappointingly cut-rate. Even with all the scenes where Hal creatively uses his superpowers to combat the evil force, they are frequently ruined by cartoony-like special effects. The climactic finale, where Hal battles against the Parallax in the crowded city, is surprisingly short and feels very rushed.

No doubt GREEN LANTERN has botched its potential for becoming Warner Bros.'s next moneymaking franchise. Before its initial release, there are already been talks of turning this movie into a trilogy. In fact, the sequel have been planned in the near future. Need further proof? Stick around during the closing credits and you'll know why.

1 comment:

Jaccstev said...

Skipped the theatrical release. I'll watch this on Bluray or DVD.