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Green Lantern


That's one dull emerald.

Rod Lott October 5th, 2011

Is "Green Lantern" as bad as everyone said? Resoundingly yes! To paraphrase the emerald knight's own oath: In brightest day, in blackest night, sitting through this took all my might.

greenlanter

It may be the worst major-studio superhero movie made. I'd rather be watching "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace." "Batman & Robin." "Jonah Hex." "Supergirl." Hell, even "Catwoman"!

Perhaps the most damning evidence: Not one of my three kids — who range in age from 6 to 14, and were heavily exposed to the movie's marketing all summer long — wanted to watch it. They wouldn't even give it a try. "It looks so stupid," said my eldest.

"C'mon, watch it with me," I said. "Maybe it's cool."

For once, father didn't know best.

Ryan Reynolds ("The Change-Up") seemed like solid casting for asshole test pilot Hal Jordan, who is chosen to be one of the universe's many, many members of the Green Lantern Corps when he rushes to the aid of an alien Corps member crash-landed on this planet called Earth. And maybe he is, but the script would be considered confusing, childish crap in any galaxy.

As Green Lantern, his powers come from his rechargeable ring, which makes any object he can think of become reality. For example, when a helicopter spins out of control, endangering the lives of hundreds of party guests, his ring instantly conjures a detailed race-car shell for it, complete with a looping Hot Wheels for it. Why the need for such elaborate effects? Why not just throw up a wall in all instances, at all times?

Anyhoo, GL's nemesis is brilliant scientist Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard, "Orphan"). Before he unwittingly turns evil, he looks like Mr. Noodle from "Sesame Street"; after, Eric Stoltz as Rocky Dennis in "Mask." Sarsgaard is a great actor way out of his element here; Blake Lively (TV's "Gossip Girl") is a terrible actress, here only to fill the slot of requisite Eye-Candy Girlfriend, and she can't even manage that, as if she's empty and robotic.

By film's end, Coast City is under threat by an outer-space menace that aptly resembles loose stool. There is far more exposition to connect all these plot points, but they are forced and utterly meaningless, despite comprising so much dialogue. The usually reliable action director-for-hire Martin Campbell ("Casino Royale," "Vertical Limit," "The Mask of Zorro") has no handle on anything other than allowing for the expansive CGI, but then again, there's the matter of that unfortunate, aforementioned screenplay. It's as if he were given a teaspoon and then told to bail out an Olympic-sized pool.

The Blu-ray contains an "extended cut," several minutes longer. I'm glad I opted for the theatrical one, which was difficult enough. The most interesting extra is a featurette about the Green Lantern stories; I'm now thinking a team-up film with Green Arrow would've been the way to go. As it stands — and as predicted — this summer's straight-to-video "Green Lantern: Emerald Knights" animated anthology is a far superior work; yes, the tie-in trumps the real deal.

Here's something fun for a movie that is not: Watch it with subtitles on and note how much "GRUNTING" and "GASPING" and "PANTING" goes on in two hours: quite possibly more than a porno. —Rod Lott



 
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