What? Am I really the first to start the thread on Green Lantern, the movie?

 

I don't even get to use my disclaimer that I'm posting without having read anyone else's comments in the thread first ... 

 

Anyhoo:

  • I didn't read any reviews beforehand, although I was aware that the range was mostly from lukewarm to hostile. I thought it was okay, but only just. I mean, it's a comic-book movie, and no matter how bad any given comic-book movie might be, there's got to be some level of thrill in seeing pen-and-ink drawings come to life.
  • That said, there was just that kind of thrill, such as when the helicopter nearly crashed into the huge dinner party on the Ferris Aircraft grounds, and Hal basically turned it into a large Hot Wheels race car and created a track for it (harkening back to an earlier scene at his nephew's birthday party where he casually sent such a car around a track).
  • But -- no giant boxing glove?
  • I'm not familiar with the lead, Ryan Reynolds, but he was mostly the Hal Jordan I always pictured -- a little too cocky for his own good.
  • I say "mostly" because, unfortunately, the writers took the tack late '90s/early Y2K view that Hal was not a man without fear, but a man who can overcome his fear. I don't know if that makes for a better movie, or even a better story, but as one of the old heads, I didn't like it.
  • Also unfortunately, Carol Ferris was presented as the love interest who butts heads with our boy Hal but really loves him, and it came off as quite tired.
  • My son, who saw the movie a day before I did (albeit not in 3-D), was unimpressed with the CGI, calling it "fake." That's a problem when nearly everything -- like the planet Oa, the Guardians and the other Green Lanterns -- are CGI creatures.
  • Speaking of the Guardians, they maintain their long-standing history of being revered immortals who are really, really stupid. This movie is based on the Geoff Johns stories about Parallax, here presented as infecting one of the Guardians who made a misguided attempt to tame it.
  • Parallax was imprisoned by Abin Sur, but eventually escaped and went after him, which is why he crash-landed on Earth. Why the Guardians didn't kill Parallax dead when they had him, I'll never know.
  • Further evidence of the Guardians' stupidity: The proud Sinestro, apparently the field general for the whole Lantern Corps, entreats the Guardians to send a team of the finest warriors from the Corps to take Parallax on. They say yes. Said team of a dozen of the best of the best Lanterns not only gets their butts kicked but wiped out to one man, Sinestro himself. So now they're left with 3,584 lanterns who aren't the best of the best.
  • Speaking of which -- and I know this is not the fault of the movie, but a long-standing thing from the comics -- why is it only exactly 3,600 Green Lanterns for all of space? That's about as many cops on the Washington, D.C. police force, and they have to cover a mere 69 square miles! I mean, nobody on Earth has even heard of the Green Lantern Corps, which means Abin Sur never made it to this corner of his beat, am I right?
  • Another long-standing thing from the comics: Hal gets the ring from Abin Sur with no idea how it works or what to do with it. It's only been a 1980s thing that there actually some kind of training to be in the Green Lantern Corps. Fine. But in the movie, Hal's training consists of getting smacked around by Kilowog and then Sinestro for 10 minutes all the while being told he's a nobody and he's nothing -- after all, he's a mere Earthman. So Hal quits. Yeech. What follows thereafter is some mumbo jumbo about how the ring chose him, so it can't be wrong; it saw something in him that he doesn't see in himself. Yeech. I would much rather have started from that premise and have his training build him up, rather than tear him down.
  • Tomar-Re is from a fish species? All this time, I thought he was some kind of bird.
  • Most of all, I felt overwhelmed by the notion that, being the first movie, this had to be an origin story. It's tiresome, but there seems to be no way around that. But here, we get not only the origin of Hal as a Green Lantern, but the origin of the Guardians and Oa, the origin of Parallax, the origin of Hector Hammond, and, so help me, even the origin of Amanda Waller! It's too much!
  • And what the heck is Amanda Waller doing here, anyway? Now, I'm always glad to see Angela Bassett in anything, and I suppose she fulfilled the role of the functionary from the eeeeeEEEEvil secret government agency, but her presence seemed extraneous.
  • Likewise Hector Hammond. I suppose having him be infected by Parallax was a way to make the cosmic threat of this beast more local and personal, but it just seemed like paint-by-numbers scriptwriting.
  • Sinestro was pretty cool, though. Watch through the entire credits for the surprise at the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last comment (I hope) on "Do Critics Pick On Certain Movies":

 

Most critics have thrown up their hands in surrender at the new "Transformers" flick. The majority of reviews have been grudgingly positive (although Roger Ebert described it as one of the most painful experiences he's ever had in a theater). Richard Corliss summed it up in his Time review:

 

"With T3, many reviewers have retreated from their previous horrified stance to baffled resignation. I'm with them. I acknowledge that, for good or ill, Bay is the soul of a new machine, the poet of post-human cinema, the CEO of Hollywood's military-entertainment complex. T3 is the movie equivalent of an '80s thrash-metal concert (not Megadeth but Megatron), with bits of spoken exposition inserted into the action scenes like the lead singer's mumbled comments between songs."

 

Behold, the future of movies. Glad I have several shelves full of great movies from the past to keep me entertained.


Just to show I don't just pick on the hyperbole of those posting about comics... :P

George said:


Behold, the future of movies. Glad I have several shelves full of great movies from the past to keep me entertained.


So... you think all movies in the future will be exactly like Transformers? Really? I bet that by rejecting all future movies sight unseen that you're going to miss out on a lot of great movies.

There were a lot of sucky movies in the past, too. Even some of the best movies ever have their detractors and critics.

 

Megadeth was a speed metal band, not a thrash metal band. (Richard Corliss' error, not yours, I know.) They put on a great show, and the lead singer speaks quite eloquently.

 


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Dagwan said: "So... you think all movies in the future will be exactly like Transformers?"

 

I didn't say that. But I do think MORE movies will be like "Transformers," and that will inevitably push out other kinds of movies -- ones that deal with old-fashioned things like dialogue, characterization, coherent plots, and so on. Ben Stiller spoke recently about how reluctant the studios are to finance anything that isn't "Iron Man 3" (or something like it).

 

Good movies will always be made, but they will increasingly be made outside the Hollywood system. A lot of them will come from other countries. I never said I was "rejecting all future movies sight unseen."

 

If all you want is big explosions and giant robots fighting, this is YOUR era, Dagwan. Because that's increasingly what you're going to get from the major studios, and the overwhelming majority of movies that play multiplexes in Heartland America are major studio flicks. And you're welcome to them.

True Grit was released this year, as were Stone, The Fighter, Easy A, The Town, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, 127 Hours, How To Train Your Dragon, and a good number of movies that were both mainstream and decidedly not in the vein of Transformers.  All of them put characterization, plot, and good writing in the forefront.

Seriously, George, the sky isn't falling.

George said:

Dagwan said: "So... you think all movies in the future will be exactly like Transformers?"

 

I didn't say that. But I do think MORE movies will be like "Transformers," and that will inevitably push out other kinds of movies -- ones that deal with old-fashioned things like dialogue, characterization, coherent plots, and so on. Ben Stiller spoke recently about how reluctant the studios are to finance anything that isn't "Iron Man 3" (or something like it).

 

Good movies will always be made, but they will increasingly be made outside the Hollywood system. A lot of them will come from other countries. I never said I was "rejecting all future movies sight unseen."

 

If all you want is big explosions and giant robots fighting, this is YOUR era, Dagwan. Because that's increasingly what you're going to get from the major studios, and the overwhelming majority of movies that play multiplexes in Heartland America are major studio flicks. And you're welcome to them.

"True Grit was released this year, as were Stone, The Fighter, Easy A, The Town, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, 127 Hours, How To Train Your Dragon, and a good number of movies that were both mainstream and decidedly not in the vein of Transformers.  All of them put characterization, plot, and good writing in the forefront."

 

None of those movies were blockbusters. "Scott Pilgrim" was an outright flop (financially). They didn't make remotely as much money as "Transformers 3" is going to make. Hollywood always repeats what makes money.

BTW, Rich Lane, all those movies you mentioned came out last year, not this year.

I didn't say that. But I do think MORE movies will be like "Transformers," and that will inevitably push out other kinds of movies -- ones that deal with old-fashioned things like dialogue, characterization, coherent plots, and so on. Ben Stiller spoke recently about how reluctant the studios are to finance anything that isn't "Iron Man 3" (or something like it).

You didn't specify blockbusters, so that's moving the goalposts.  Who cares if it's a blockbuster?  My idea of quality doesn't depend on how many other people watch the film.  Films that are specifically scheduled for the summer blockbuster season are generally lowest common denominator ones.  That's neither good nor bad, but it does mean that looking only at those gives a rather skewed vision of the industry.

all those movies you mentioned came out last year, not this year.

You are technically correct.  I should have specified "the last twelve months."

Movies aimed at grown-ups tend to come out in the fall and winter, so it's likely this year's best movies haven't been released yet. The question is whether they'll get a wide release, which means showings in small towns and mid-sized cities, not just in big cities.

 

The acclaimed Terrence Malick film "The Tree of Life" is showing at exactly one theater in Middle Tennessee: an independent art house in Nashville. Will it get a wider release? Maybe if it's nominated for Best Picture early next year. Otherwise, most people will see it on DVD, because it's NOT coming to a theater near them.

 

"That's neither good nor bad, but it does mean that looking only at those gives a rather skewed vision of the industry."

 

As far as the  major studios are concerned, blockbusters ARE the industry. More and more, they're leaving the small-scale, risky films to independent and foreign filmmakers.

 

And that's different from the last fifty years in what way, exactly?



George said:

Movies aimed at grown-ups tend to come out in the fall and winter, so it's likely this year's best movies haven't been released yet. The question is whether they'll get a wide release, which means showings in small towns and mid-sized cities, not just in big cities.

 

The acclaimed Terrence Malick film "The Tree of Life" is showing at exactly one theater in Middle Tennessee: an independent art house in Nashville. Will it get a wider release? Maybe if it's nominated for Best Picture early next year. Otherwise, most people will see it on DVD, because it's NOT coming to a theater near them.

 

"That's neither good nor bad, but it does mean that looking only at those gives a rather skewed vision of the industry."

 

As far as the  major studios are concerned, blockbusters ARE the industry. More and more, they're leaving the small-scale, risky films to independent and foreign filmmakers.

 

For the sake of argument, let's narrow it down even further.  Let's start with the release of Jaws (arguably the first summer blockbuster) in 1976.   How is it different than the last thirty five years?

Jaws was shocking because no one expected it to be that huge, the same for Star Wars.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy and most of the Harry Potter films came out in November/December.

"For the sake of argument, let's narrow it down even further.  Let's start with the release of Jaws (arguably the first summer blockbuster) in 1976.   How is it different than the last thirty five years?"

 

Actually, "Jaws" came out in 1975, but never mind that. You imply that basically nothing has changed in the movie industry since the '70s, which shows great ignorance of movie history.

 

In the '70s, the major Hollywood studios (Paramount, Fox, Universal and the rest) financed and/or released a lot of cutting-edge movies that broke from Hollywood conventions. These movies came from Robert Altman (MASH, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Nashville), Francis Coppola (The Godfather films, The Conversation, Apocalypse Now), Roman Polanski (Chinatown), Stanley Kubrick (Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon), Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show), Milos Forman (One Ïlew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), Bob Rafelson (Five Easy Pieces, The King of Marvin Gardens), Hal Ashby (The Last Detail, Being There), Martin Scorsese (Mean Streets, Taxi Driver), even George Lucas (THX-1138, American Graffiti) and Steven Spielberg (The Sugarland Express).

 

These movies didn't just play art houses in big cities. Thanks to studio clout, they were shown all over the country, in small towns and midsized cities.

 

The survivors of this era all say the same thing: No studio today would touch any of these movies. They would be considered too uncommercial, too downbeat. Even "too arty." There's "nobody to root for" in a lot of these '70s movies. Today, a film like Taxi Driver, Chinatown or Nashville would be a barely released indie. They might even go straight to DVD. But in their time, they were wide releases from major studios. That's what has changed in 35 years.

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