GREEN LANTERN

June 18, 2011

 Greetings again from the darkness. I have admitted many times that I am a sucker for Super Hero movies. There is just something really cool about an average guy falling bassackwards into super-human strength and being able to fly. With that said, I readily admit some Super Hero movies are better than others. While this one has some entertaining moments, it certainly isn’t one of the better entries in this genre.

It is difficult to know if a viewer is better off as a Green Lantern expert or novice for this adaptation. I can see both sides. The film beats us over the head with explanations, lectures and details but falls way short of the desired action sequences.

 Basic storyline has test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) chosen by “the ring” to become part of the Green Lantern Corps … an intergalactic peace-keeping patrol. Yes, he would be the first human Lantern and no, he is not readily accepted by the leader Sinestro (Mark Strong). By the way, who would choose a guy named SINESTRO to be the leader of your army of good guys?

There are roughly a half million sub-stories that get a blip and then are cast aside. That’s the film’s biggest problem, next to the shortage of action sequences.  I was surprised at the lack of imagination shown for Green Lantern‘s constructs.  They were a bit cartoonish and reminded of what we saw in 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.  On the positive side, Parallax, the evil mass that threatens earth and Oa, looks like a tentacled tumbleweed with a scary face. 

 Some stellar supporting actors here (in addition to Mark Strong) include Tim Robbins, Peter Sarsgaard, Angela Bassett, Michael Clarke Duncan and Geoffrey Rush. Duncan and Rush are voice only, but definitely have an impact. Blake Lively plays Carol Ferris, the co-pilot and would-be girlfriend of Jordan. She is also involved with her Daddy’s defense contracting firm and just doesn’t work as a high-powered exec.

 The film is directed by Martin Campbell who also gave us the near awesome re-awakening of James Bond in Casino Royale (2006). He seems to have a feel for action, but gets to use very little of that talent in this film. It really seems to me that the writing was too scattered and just generally weak for a movie of this size. I kept thinking we were going to get some real mind games between Sarsgaard’s Elephant Man with psychic abilities and Reynold’s perfect body Lantern. Instead, we get just another tease and a disappointing action sequence to end the film.  I would say Marvel has a pretty clear lead over DC Comics on film … except, of course, for Christopher Nolan‘s Batman series.

SEE THIS MOVIE IF: Green is your favorite color OR you have any doubt that Ryan Reynolds has the physique of a super hero.

SKIP THIS MOVIE IF: you never cared to see what would happen if The Elephant Man turned evil OR the recent exposure of Blake Lively has shown you enough

 


EDGE OF DARKNESS (2010)

January 30, 2010

 (1-30-10) Greetings again from the darkness. Of course, we never expect much from January films – especially Rom-Coms or Action films. Sad to say, the stereotype fits Edge of Darkness like a glove.

Held out some hope for a pleasant surprise when Mel Gibson returned to acting with Casino Royale director Martin Campbell at the helm. Unfortunately, so little effort was put into the script, that it gives the appearance of a story being made up as filming occurs.

Mel Gibson stepped away from acting for awhile to concentrate on directing (Apocalypto and Passion of the Christ) … oh yes, and carousing. His face readily displays the stress of both. This is not to say he can’t generate some fine dramatic moments, but mostly, the rust shows and he is unable to lift the weak story.

In support we have Ray Winstone (very good in The Departed), Bojana Novakovic as Gibson’s slain daughter, and Danny Huston, who might as well wear a name badge that says, “Hello my name is BAD GUY”. While not the fault of these actors, a film like this desperately needs a few standout secondary characters. Here we have none, so the story is pretty simple with little tension … not a good thing for a “thriller”.