Friday, 17 June 2011



An overblown, retro-fitted 3D superhero movie about an arrogant knobhead with unresolved father issues, who reluctantly becomes a masked superhero, directed by someone who should frankly know better - oh, hang on, wasn't that The Green Hornet? Easy mistake to make, as this one also has the word Green in the title, but of the two it's probably the better although that's not saying very much. It doesn't have Seth Rogen in it, which is probably its trump card (Jaws: The Revenge gets points for not having Seth Rogen in it), but it is extraordinarily silly and po-faced about its idiotic backstory, to the extent I'm not sure if it's actually a spoof or not.

The aforementioned backstory of Green Lantern has it that the entire Universe has been divided into 3,600 sections, all watched over by the benevolent Guardians on the planet Oa. Each section has a defender from the elite Green Lantern Corps: creatures of varying species in glittery skin-tight green costumes, who have the power to create anything out of sheer willpower if they have been chosen by the Rings. Somewhere out in Sector 2814, in the Lost District of a Lost Planet, an ancient and evil entity known as Parallax has been uncovered and is gaining strength by absorbing the fear of his victims; he/it will ultimately destroy all life in the Universe including the Guardians of Oa, unless the Green Lanterns can stop him. (I am not making this up.)

The Earth Sector's present Lantern, a purple humanoid named Abin-Sur (Temuera Morrison), is killed fairly early on in battle with Parallax but crashlands on Earth; his Lantern Ring chooses arrogant hotshot combat pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) as his replacement and promptly beams him up to Oa for training with a bird-fish thing (Geoffrey Rush) and a rock-monster called - I'm sorry, but this is his name - Kilowog. Back on Earth, nerdy biology teacher Peter Sarsgaard comes into contact with the yellow Gloop Of Fear that killed Abin-Sur, turning him into a telepathic maniac with a distended forehead who attracts the attention of the ever-growing Parallax. Can Hal come to terms with his own fears and live up to the responsibilities of a Green Lantern, defeat Parallax, get the girl and earn the respect of the 3,599 other lanterns before the Guardians unleash their own Yellow Power Of Fear?

Seriously: are they serious? The IMDb estimates a budget of $150 million, which is a hell of a lot of money to spend on a cardboard pantomime for kids, but this can't have been aimed at rational thinking adults because it's idiotic. On the other hand, the Parallax effects and his sucking the lifeforce out of his victims are too visually scary for the tiny tots (it's got a 12A certificate, which is about right) which, given the simplistic nature of the characters and the script, would be the core audience: it's brightly coloured with lots of non-scary creatures in Green Lantern costumes. So who is it aimed at? And why is Martin Campbell directing this? He's a proper film director: he's managed to rescue the James Bond franchise twice, he's done both recent Zorro films, a solid Mel Gibson thriller - what is he doing fannying about with something so CGI laden it could have been directed by anybody?

It really isn't very good: yes, it's a colourful romp with terrific CGI effects (for $150 million they should be terrific), but there's absolutely no substance to it, Ryan Reynolds may look cool in his muscle-tight spangly green wetsuit (disclaimer: not to me he doesn't), but he's hard to like and I can't figure out what the point was. I'm not a comics aficionado so I don't know whether the Green Lantern comics were ever big in this country, although I do know I'd never heard of them up until now. It's pleasant enough while it's on in a silly pantomime way, but you can never get over proper actors like Tim Robbins and Mark Strong being in it. And like too many other films that frankly don't need it, it's been unnecessarily retrofitted with 3D (since it was shot in 2D, I only watched it in 2D, the way I watch Night Of The Living Dead in black and white) in a cynical bid to drag a bit more money out of suckers.


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