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The Green Lantern - Movie Review by A.D.Harris

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Taken From: theadamharris.blogspot.com

The ring of power is on planet earth ... this ring possesses the power of the will, the only means to stop fear from spreading throughout the entirety of space and time. However this is not 'Lord of the Rings' and there is a lot more rings of power than the solitary 'one ring' that Middle Earth fought over. A lot more... 3599 to be exact. Between them their owners are guardians over the entire universe, each monitoring a sector of space and guarding it from many foes; chief of them being the power of fear. You may have already guessed that 'The Green Lantern' is not a standard piece of superhero fare, stretching itself in terms of scope and size well beyond our own world and creating a universe of potential storylines. Consider this the 'DC Comics' version of Thor in terms of its scale and you should have a rough idea of what 'The Green Lantern' should be aiming to achieve. Sadly though, what it aims to achieve it falls way short of, the vast array of problems that face 'The Green Lantern' totally overpowering the highlights that flicker beneath the surface.

Firstly, everything that is set away from Planet Earth is a cartoonish mess that fails to thrill and only manages to leave you in wonder at how such a huge budget created such a fake-looking setting. It's staggeringly poor; perhaps not as poor as the trailers and early feedback suggested but still nowhere near the high standards of recent times.

Secondly the characters that are alien in form are some of the most boring and nonsensical drivel that I have ever seen. Kilowog, voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan is almost offensive in terms of stereotype; the voice fails to fit the alien and just appears to have Clarke Duncan's deep, booming voice because he is supposed to be big and strong. This problem isn't helped by the fact that Kilowog has about as much use in the storyline as Willie Wonka would do if he made a cameo in Iron Man. Thankfully there are only two other speaking aliens, the worst being Geoffrey Rush's Tomar-Re, his eloquent voice coming out of a creature that doesn't match-up on any level and this alone is distracting during important moments of explanatory dialogue. Mark Strong as Sinestro is undoubtedly the brightest star in the sky in terms of other worldly characters, adding an element of depth, emotion and grit to a group of wafer-thin characters in terms of development.

The rest of the Green Lantern's are shelved, we learn nothing more about any other characters from the Planet Ryut and based on the three we got it's perhaps a good thing. The staggering thing is that the script doesn't exactly take risks in introducing these Green Lanterns; we only meet 3 of the 3600 and they couldn't even get that right.

Turning the attention to the hero of the piece, Ryan Reynolds' Hal Jordan, my mind is at a crossroads. I've swayed to and fro in trying to decide where I liked Hal, I'm still not totally sure I was supposed too but it's fair to say that he is a mixed bag. He lacks the grandeur of Tony Stark, the heroism of Spiderman and the dark motivations of Batman; he's just a very average guy who is kind of forced into action through no reason other than what appears to be wrong place wrong time. A back-story revolving around daddy issues tries to get us under his skin but is to loosely followed throughout the running time and leaves Hal at times stupid and more often than not looking very un-heroic. Thankfully Ryan Reynolds has charm in bundles and he manages to just about save the day and keep you rooting for Hal as he tackles the foe which endangers his world.

The other characters on Earth vary; Blake Lively is surprisingly decent and makes the love interest into a character that stands out amongst the rest of the cast. She isn't stupid, boring or wimpy and those traits certainly helped win over the audience. Angela Bassett does a decent job as Dr. Waller and her character resolution is one of the most engrossing and dark moments the film has, yet Tim Robbins is given nothing to work with and fails to add any additional worth to the film and therefore has to be seen as a disappointment.

Now turning my attention to the villain of the piece... To explain the full storyline behind Hector Hammond/Paralax would be to spoil the most important part of the story but what I can say is never in all my life have I been so baffled. Peter Sarsgaard is brilliant as Hammond, creating a villain who we understand and feel for despite his turn to the dark side. Creepy, dark, at times scary and always creates tons of tension, yet before the final act he is ditched for Paralax, the identity known as 'fear.' Did I happen to mention that Paralax is a big yellow blob of cloud like goo with a scary face?... It's a staggeringly abysmal decision; why any group of film executives thought that this cartoonish foe would make a satisfactory villain for a big budget blockbuster is any-ones guess. With Hammond's arc finished it leaves a climax that fails to deliver and fizzles out when it had the chance to redeem itself.

However there are some other glimmers that the franchise still has life; a post-credits sequence suggests a villain that could be mouth-watering if the next film chooses that path. Also throughout the film there is brief splashes to suggest there is a fun, action packed movie that delights; an exhilarating plane chase over the desert is a high point as well as the humour drawn out of Hal's transition from zero to hero. Also, for all of the Planet Rhul's mishaps you can't help but wish to explore more of it; it's a vast and complex planet that could be fascinating to create and watch. Plus there's got to be a creature worth watching out there somewhere!

The honest summary that even the people directly connected to the film must admit is that 'The Green Lantern' became lost in the size of the world it had to create. Whilst 'Thor' reigned in that scope and created a tight and character driven hit, 'The Green Lantern' loses its way early on and gives us nothing to chew into on Earth and on Planet Rhul. As a result, the poorly developed characters are lost in a mess of special effects that we didn't need. It's majorly disappointing, but it really isn't a case of all being lost. It just needs someone to understand who Hal Jordan is and who The Green Lantern is and then craft a story around that.

The Green Lantern vows to fight evil though brightest day and through blackest night; I remain hopeful that should a sequel go ahead that we've been through the dark and dismal and it's now time for the light and awesome. It couldn't get much darker though, to be honest...



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