Thursday, June 16, 2011

GREEN LANTERN - Summer Cinema Fodder

GREEN LANTERN (comic book adventure)
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Mark Strong, Peter Sarsgaard and Temuera Morrison
Director: Martin Campbell
Screenplay by Greg Berlanti, Michael Green (VII), Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg based on DC comic book heroes.
Time: 105 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)

PREAMBLE: If there were no comic book-based Superman, Spider-Man, Iron Man and X-Men films, this cinema rendition of the Green Lantern would easily have wowed audiences. Alas, having so many superhero fantasies that were so well fleshed out on the screen before, this one looks sloppily-done and derivative. And with its convoluted background mythology that the film-makers seem to be throwing at our faces instead of allowing us to 'experience' it, we are left feeling detached about the whole Green Lantern stuff. And maybe a little deja vu...

SYNOPSIS: Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a cocky test pilot who's still haunted by the death of his father in an aircraft accident. After his latest stunt gets him grounded, Hal finds himself enveloped by a strange green light which takes him to a crash-landed spaceship where a dying alien (Temuera Morrison as Abin Sur) passes him a ring and tells him that he has been 'chosen' to join an inter-planetary peace-keeping force known as the Green Lantern Corps. The ring enables him to create anything his mind can imagine.

Meanwhile, an evil entity known as Parallax is planning to destroy the Earth and when scientist Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) becomes infected with Parallax's powers, he goes after Hal's partner, test pilot Carol Ferris (Blake Lively). Thus Hal is burdened with the tasks of saving the universe, the world - and his girlfriend.

The summit conference at Oa

HITS & MISSES: Although Reynolds (who was picked for the role over Sam Worthington ad Chris Pine) provides the requisite brash personality and glib jokes as Hal Jordan, he can't shake off his own Ryan Reynolds-ness to be the conflicted superhero, Green Lantern. Thus the sequences of his Green Lantern at the 'summit conference' at Oa with Sinestro (Mark Strong) look badly contrived and phoney. For me, the best parts of the movie are when Hal/Green Lantern interacts with Lively's Carol. At the media screening I attended, the loudest laugh was when Carol recognises Hal in his silly green mask. Indeed, Lively provides more than just eye-candy as Hal's sexy girlfriend and daughter of his 'boss' (Jay O. Sanders), she is the centre of attraction whenever she appears.

Tim Robbins, Peter Sarsgaard and Angela Bassett

Sarsgaard can be compelling as the accidental and tragic villain - and he even manages to convey his feelings through his Elephant Man make-up. Tim Robbins has a cameo as Senator Hammond, Hector's domineering father, while Angela Bassett plays a (forgettable) doctor.

As far as action set pieces go, there are a few mayhem sequences - but none to beat those of Fast Five and Transformers. The 3D effects are just serviceable, not spectacular.

THE LOWDOWN: Basically, Green Lantern is summer action cinema fodder.


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