DC's Science Fiction Hard Hitter Gets a Horrible Adaptation
When I had initially seen the first teaser trailer and concept art of the movie version of Green Lantern, I thought that it looked and felt really bad. They tried to swing the fans of comics and science fiction alike when they released a second trailer that tried to play off the space opera tone that the comic book series has. This raised my interest in the film, thinking that they were only marketing the first trailer for the broad audiences. I was wrong.
I don't do this very often, but that's because nothing usually deserves this kind of review -- this movie is God awful. Not only as an adaptation, but as a movie in general. The acting is flat, the direction is sub standard, and the whole movie is anti-climatic and follows very loosely to the source material.
In order to separate the fanboy in me for both mediums, I have two different reviews. The first being strictly as a film, the second as an adaptation of the comic book and characters.
The entire movie can't decide whether it's a comedy, an action movie, or a space drama. It tries to rely on Ryan Reynolds just being Ryan Reynolds instead of trying to actually bring any sort of deep character to the main role of Hal Jordan. The jumps from scene to scene are often sharp and without any logical bridge. Some tried to argue that comic books do that, but I know for a fact that even in single panels there is better definition to cause and event.
The acting is something that I can't get over. Reynolds sometimes goes too far, over emoting, but most of the time he's just himself as if he'd walked onto the set of a space movie. The characters are the overly "Mountain Dew" styled aliens and backgrounds, trying to be jagged and over-complicated like the Transformers art direction. This doesn't follow the way that they animate the ring constructs, which often are very cartoon in nature.
There are some parts that look really beautiful, with interesting bright colors and effects. I liked the scene where Jordan creates a pool of water for someone to fall into to prevent them from hitting the ground, and some of the space scenes give a good epic feel to the movie. But uninspired cliches and plot points make the movie feel cut and paste, and it really shows.
Comic Book Adaptation Review
As an adaptation it's just as bad. It takes the basic premise of the origin story and mixes together things that happen so far down the road that it feels like a jumbled mess. Instead of Hal Jordan being the story, the story is the monster Parallax, which is also a complete wrong interpretation of the character. I don't know what it is with comic book movie producers and turning giant creatures into clouds, but it needs to stop. First Galactus in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and now in Green Lantern. I don't usually curse in my reviews, but you need to go f*#k yourselves. That's the same sort of thing as if Peter Jackson had done the Lord of the Rings and turned all the Hobbits into lizard creatures instead.
The villains are supposedly all tied together, but the source material has them as completely separate entities. Hector Hammond might have been a better choice to have on his own, corrupted by a piece of alien technology from Abin Sur's ship. The wrong way to do it was tying him to Parallax. Does anyone else wonder how a creature who sucks the life force out of people can give a man telekinesis and super smarts through shocking him with a dead body? That's not just cheesy, that's down right stupid.
The Green Lantern Corps. in the movie apparently only shows up for meetings and doesn't even do it's job. Green Lantern is supposed to be a space opera where a human gets to explore the universe and has thrust upon him the responsibility to help govern the chaos among all of existence's sentient life. Instead, it's a ploy to say "isn't Earth lucky that we have this guy?" Don't get me wrong, Jordan does become a hero on Earth, but it's his adventures in the stars that really define him as a person. He's always been respectful of other cultures and races, something that the other members of the Corps. can't always boast about.
Finally, the ring and suit. Come on. The ring apparently can effortlessly create things. It seems to have nothing to do with being an extension of willpower from the user. The selection of Hal Jordan feels more like a random event than destiny, and his use of the ring is more like a handgun than an actual weapon of will and concentration. It's supposed to be difficult in order to create constructs and maintain them, and it is described as taking years of practice to get at an advanced level. The movie puts him on Oa for maybe five minutes before he gives up and goes home, apparently knowing everything he needs to know.
In conclusion, don't go see this movie. All of my friends and family know that I'm a die hard fan of this character and franchise, but this is the sort of movie that shouldn't have been released. I can only imagine how DC is feeling right now in New York City. Or how Geoff Johns, who has worked so hard to create validity in the mythology of the character, has just been betrayed for all of the hard work he's done.
I don't say this often, but we need a reboot. Please!
I've even decided to pen my own version of a movie and post it for people to read for free as part of my writing portfolio. More information on that as it develops. Unlike the filmmakers, I'm going to actually go read some of the source material again before hand.