Film review: Green Lantern (2011), directed by Martin Campbell
Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is an excellent fighter pilot. When he’s doing a demonstration flight with Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) to show off the latest unmanned fighter jets, he has a moment where he freezes up and thinks about his dad (Jon Tenney), in true Top Gun and Hot Shots! fashion. He crashes the plane and gets fired, basically.
Meanwhile in another part of the galaxy, the famed Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), the only member of the Green Lantern corps who has managed to take down the super evil Parallax (voiced by Clancy Brown), has an encounter with said baddie. Because in a fit of extreme naiveté, they didn’t actually destroy him when they had the chance, they chained him up inside an asteroid, from which he of course eventually managed to be freed. Well done there. Abin Sur crash lands on Earth and tells his green ring to go and find him a new recruit. Guess who fits the bill?
Hal isn’t too sure about it all, but agrees to take the magenta-coloured alien’s green ring and lantern. Then he phones a friend, nerdy Thomas (Taika Waititi, whose basic function is to be Moss from The IT Crowd, but vastly more socially adept), but they end up fleeing the scene when the MIBs show up. Like they always do – we learned this from The X-Files 18 (!!!) years ago.
The alien body is taken for one of those legendary autopsies in a top secret location, where Dr Waller (Angela Bassett, whose haircut reminded me of my mum, and the 1980s) has found another nerd, the creepy university biology teacher Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), whose father happens to be a Senator (Tim Robbins) who thinks his son is wasting his life away looking at bugs and all the rest of it. During the autopsy, Hector is stung by some of Parallax’s DNA and begins to change.
Hal manages to figure out how the ring and lantern work and swears the Green Lantern oath and gets automagically shipped off to another galaxy altogether, where he meets his new work colleagues – amongst them fish-faced Tomar-Re (voiced by Geoffrey Rush) and pink-faced, moustached I-can’t-believe-he’s-not-a-supervillain-unless-they-save-that-for-the-sequel Sinestro (Mark Strong), and I’m in no way implying he’s being typecast as baddies, whatever gave you that idea *cough*).
Fearless Hal must come to terms with his new powers and responsibilities (responsibility really isn’t his “thing”, ya know) and try to save the Earth from Parallax.
And it’s been a long time since I’ve sat in a cinema and laughed at something being unintentionally ridiculous in a film. I laughed myself through the first Twilight film, and I had to struggle to keep my mirth down when being told the whole history of Parallax vs the Green Lanterns in the beginning of this – being bashed over the head with facts, much? He flew around looking like a mix between a Martian from Mars Attacks! and Lord Voldemort. Tickled my funny bone something dreadful, but I tried not to laugh. Later on, Parallax turns into looking like some Cthulian creature out of a HP Lovecraft story. Just needed a “we are legion” or something to top it off nicely – having a body made out of other people’s body parts, yum.
Then there’s the whole thing about the Lanterns being dressed in skin-tight costumes, which also caused some merriment. Overall, I liked the Thomas character most. True geek. Carol’s best moment was when I was on the verge of thinking her another Lois Lane, when she turned it on its head and realised that hey, a tiny little mask over someone’s eyes doesn’t hide the identity of someone you know very well. Lois Lane, of course, struggled with a simple pair of glasses. Well done, Carol, points to you. Hal seemed very much like a stock jock: cocky, irresponsible, yet still a nice guy under that devil-may-care facade. Felt like it’s been done a million times.
While creepy and moustached, I didn’t recognise Peter Sarsgaard, but liked his smile and his voice sounded familiar. He’s like a younger, prettier version of John Malkovic. Very good actor, and it reminds me that I need to see An Education.
Nah, all I can say about this film is that it’s humdrum and average. I’m not a Green Lantern fan, so I don’t know how well it holds up to the rest of the canon. Should make a post about watching a film in 3D for the first time, but a quick word would be that it’s a complete waste of time watching this in 3D. Paid an extra £6 (£2 surcharge each + £1 each for glasses) for the privilege and it didn’t add anything. If anything, the 3D felt badly done.
Half-way through the film I started noticing my bottom getting numb and painful and as the film was nearing the end, I couldn’t wait for it to end simply so I could get up and move around. A so-so film. Not in the same league as Thor or X-Men: First Class. I just hope Captain America will be better.
2.75 out of 5 alien autopsies.