Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Green Lantern

Green Lantern

I have to admit I was really, really looking forward to this film.  Although I've forgotten much of the history and origin of The Green Lantern Corps., growing up I was a huge Green Lantern fan.  Not completely obvious, but nonetheless, Hal Jordan was always my favorite lantern.

I think my favorite lantern memories have to do with his epic battles against Sinestro.  Going in to see this film I was a bit baffled, seeing Sinestro was shown as an ally of Hal Jordan.  From some talks I've had, it appears it was pretty close to the comic origin.  Sinestro it seemed has a similar arc to Anakin Skywalker, from Star Wars fame, in how the dark side can seduce even the strongest Heroes.  That all said, despite a recent trend towards comic book accuracy, it wouldn't surprise me if some scripting liberties had taken place.  I'll update the review if I hear something contrary.

So without giving anymore plot away, which I already hinted around a bit, I'll break down my experience with The Green Lantern.

So how did this film live up to my expectations?

It was about what I expected but less than what I had hoped for.  I was hoping there wouldn't have been so much backstory, in regards to Hal Jordan's personal life.  I would have liked to see a little more training, which was pretty neat. Killowog sure does know how to train them.

I would have liked to see more of the corps in general, but this is Hal Jordan's story. So while slightly disappointed, I probably would have scripted it in a very similar fashion myself.  The back story was necessary & the writers did a really good nice job of handling something that could have been, for all intents & purpose, played out much more.

I liked the comedic aspects added to the story. The humor fit well with Ryan Reynolds acting as well as with the Hal Jordan we were presented with.

Like most Green Lantern fans, it was the ring that kept bringing me back.  Quickly, the Green Lantern's powers stems from his ring.  The ring is linked to the chosen recruit.  It provides the wearer the ability to create waves of green energy, taking the shape of whatever he sees in his his head.  The writers played around with this, using the objects as a developmental tool for Hal Jordan.

A brief example being early in the film, an immature Hal Jordan saves a banquet from disaster.  He does this by producing a race car to house a falling helicopter and the track it proceeded to run on.  This scene, while showing Hal's ability to be a Hero, it also shows he's yet to gain command of his power; he's not ready for the big time yet.  More scenes like this can be seen where it's interesting to see what objects Hal creates, and how these objects fit in to the particular points of the film they happen.

As mentioned, the film centers around Hal Jordan. A nice portrayal is painted, of a hero and his personal battles, overcoming his fear of loss & failure, in addition to coming to terms with his father's death, a death he witnessed at a young age.  Oh yeah, he does this all the while trying to save the world from the film's two antagonists.

The film's main antagonist is a force from space called Parallax that feeds off the fear of others.  Parallax spends his days & nights traveling around the universe, eating planets & stealing the life-force from each planets' inhabitants.  The secondary antagonist is Hector Hammond, played by Peter Sarsgaard, who, without further spoilage, has a connection with parallax as well as a connection to Hal Jordan.  Hector is the films link between the world we know, and the world that may become.

The relationship between Hector and Hal, is not only protagonist vs antagonist, but also alter-ego vs alter-ego.  It's an interesting dynamic that not only showcases the opposite ends of the power spectrum but also produces a triangle effect. As with most triangles in film, this one centers around a love interest.   Carol Ferris, played by Blake Lively is the girl Hector Hammond has always loved, and Hal Jordan, in Hector's mind, has always been the one in his way. This dynamic played out in a very entertaining fashion, as Hector's once figurative obstacle/foe transforms into a literal obstacle/foe.  In their stories climax, Hal sums up Hector's delusion perfectly by saying something to the effect of "Let her go & let her decide who she wants."  

While I enjoyed most of the elements in this film, I have to admit Sarsgaard was a consistent scene stealer.  His portrayal of Hector was spot on, pre and post transformation.   This isn't any indictment against the rest of the cast, as they were all good or better.  It's just Sarsgaard's portrayal of Hector was on a completely different level, and it was really fun to watch.

If you're a fan of the comic book you have to see it.  If you like super-hero films in general you should see this movie. If you like action films you'll like The Green Lantern as well.

It's filled with wonderful visuals & offered a celestially picturesque viewing environment. This, however, leads me into recommending you go see the 2D version over the 3D format.  You'd think, with what I just described, 3D would be stunning, vivid & gorgeous. Well that's what I expected to experience as well.

I saw the 3D version & while offering some beautiful scenery, it just didn't do enough to justify, let alone recommend, the extra cost incurred.  While there were a few wow moments you won't find with 2D, I just didn't see enough of them to say the 2D viewer is really missing out.  But then, after leaving a 3D show, I feel this way quite often.

I'm still waiting for the perfect 3D film; I'm hoping that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part II, Transformers:Dark of the Moon or Conan The Barbarian can come close.  I'm not a fan of remakes, but from what I'm reading & from the trailers I've seen, Conan looks to have the makings of a real 3D winner, but again we'll have to wait to see.

Hope you enjoy the film. As always let me know what you think and if my experience helped you out.

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