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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The modern blockbuster era started with "Jaws" and was intensified with "Star Wars" two years later, but it took until the mid-'80s for studios to figure out how to manufacture blockbusters without a Spielberg or Lucas at the helm. There were still offbeat studio releases in the early '80s ("Raging Bull," "Cat People," "Reds," "Popeye," the much-maligned "Heaven's Gate.") Then the studio executives took back the power they had granted directors in the '70s. With rare exceptions -- like Quentin Tarantino -- directors of mass-audience movies haven't enjoyed that freedom in the last 25 years.

But the mass audience is after the fact...

 

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward etc was a magnificent movie, in the 70's mold.  That didn't stop it being made a few years ago.  That the masses didn't flock to it (despite Brad Pitt being in it) is neither here nor there, the studio still made it and it had sufficient funds to look great.

 

Virtually all those movies in your second list lost studios major money.  Heaven's Gate broke United Artists.  How can they make more movies if their business model involves losing money with each one?

 

There are probably a few dozen absolutely great movies that come out each year that you don't make it to see in the cinema.  If your local cinema culture doesn't support them, then that's another issue, to do with the dumbing down of the audience, and corporate practices.

@#$≠! laptop. I just spent an hour writing a response and it's all gone.

 

It was gold too.

 

I need to go to bed.

 


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George said:

"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.


Yeah, and ...? They weren't blockbusters, but they still got made. And one thing that has changed since the '70s: Thanks to the VCR and then the DVD and on-demand capabilities from cable providers, these movies and many others can be seen well after opening weekend and have a life far, far beyond their theatrical runs. 



George said:

"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.

 

Yeah, and ... ?
What I am saying is that non-blockbuster, thoughtful movies are still being made despite chicken little squawkings about the end of intelligent films.

George said:

 

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.

George said:

"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.


Another thing that's changed since the '70s: There are more outlets for a storyteller to get his or her work out than movie theaters, and more ways than just theatrical films. The advent of HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and FX, TNT, and even Lifetime (and others) allows for more ways to present those stories, be they movies, miniseries or ongoing TV series, projects that put characterization, plot and good writing in the forefront.  And any given movie (miniseries episode, TV episode) will reach millions of people in one day in one showing -- something that most movies in theaters take months to accomplish.

Excellent point, Clark. I never thought of that aspect of it. There are so many more outlets now. In fact, one might say that the channels you mention are actually better outlets than what a movie can offer with its extremely limited running time. You want characterization and complex plots? Don't go to the movies. Stay at home and subscribe to HBO.

 

George, I certainly understand how you feel about the mega-monolithic-blockbuster style movies that just seem to fall apart because of their sheer stupidity. That all being said, I just walked in the house after seeing "Super 8." This is the kind of movie that will restore your faith in the movie industry -- solid story, excellent characterization, great action, a sci-fi bent for us fanboys who long for some intelligent filmmaking. This is exactly the kind of movie you are looking for.

Please, go see this, George (and everyone else). It was superb.

I just got MAD #510 with their Green Lantern spoof; "Green Lunkhead". Since both are owned by Time-Warner, I'm assuming that they got a copy of the script sooo.....

They do show a scene with Hal, Carol and Hector as kids! (Point for me!)

They do ask why Abin Sur is in a spaceship! (Another point for me!)

They mention everyone having father issues! (Check!)

They do point out how quickly Hal quits! (Ditto!)

If MAD brings up the same stuff that you do, Sweet Vindication!

Favorite Line: Sinestro introducing Hal to the Corps: "Traditionally, the new guy brings the refreshments. We'll take 2,552 beers, 1,047 sodas and pick up whatever you want for yourself!"

We are in a golden age of TV Drama.

 

All of The Sopranos was the equivalent of 1/2 a Scorsese  movie every week for over a year.

 

The Wire was 1/2 a Sidney Lumet movie every week for a year.

 

Every episode of Deadwood was 1/2 a Robert Altman western.

 

Extraordinary!

 

I'm not up on more recent TV, but if its half as good as those we're still doing well.



Doc Beechler (mod-MD) said:
Idris Elba as the John Stewart Green Lantern with Zoe Bell as Hawkgirl? Now, THAT would have been a movie.

Able was I ere I saw Idris Elba.


Jeff of Earth-J said:


Doc Beechler (mod-MD) said:
Idris Elba as the John Stewart Green Lantern with Zoe Bell as Hawkgirl? Now, THAT would have been a movie.

Able was I ere I saw Idris Elba.

I like it.

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