I Watched GREEN LANTERN (Extended Cut)

1 Nov

by Mike Hansen

Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan in Green Lantern.

(Image via Wikipedia)

…and I am profoundly disappointed.

SPOILERS.

Green Lantern isn’t a bad movie, per se, but it is chock-full of missed opportunities. And, unfortunately, Warner Brothers has continued that theme with a Blu-Ray release that’s equally half-assed.

The movie itself has some great effects work, strong and believable acting from Ryan Reynolds and Mark Strong, and a decent origin story. But it feels like a rough draft – that all of the interesting little details that give a film character were either not developed or sanded away. Like: it sure would have been nice to see a close-up of Hal Jordan’s face as he flies for the first time on Oa, seeing the thrill and joy of experiencing the thing that gives his life meaning as if for the first time. But no, the plot just has to move him from A to B, so that’s all we get…

I’d also love to know why Carol didn’t follow Hal out of the bar after he runs out to get his ass kicked, or why nobody addresses why Hal’s car was left in the parking lot when he flew to Oa (or what happened to it – did it get towed? Did Carol drive it home??). Why doesn’t Hal ask the Guardians and Sinestro to stop Parallax before Earth is destroyed, rather than just ask for their blessing that he fight the threat himself? How long is Hal on Oa to get trained, anyway – because the film makes it seem like it’s only a few hours! Why do other Green Lanterns happen to show up to save Hal at the moment that Parallax is defeated: were they watching him, but too scared to join the fight? Did Sinestro change his mind about fighting Parallax with his green will power (and, if so, why does he change to a Yellow Lantern at the end)? WHY IS STUFF HAPPENING IN THIS MOVIE?

Sinestro as a member of the Green Lantern Corp...

No reason for this picture. I just like Alan Davis artwork. (Image via Wikipedia)

I spent an extra few dollars to get the Extended Cut Blu-Ray, but it adds very little to the experience. Two character scenes that required minimal post-production are added to the first act, and they make Hal Jordan a much more grounded and likeable character (though the childhood flashback would have worked better if it was at the beginning of the film instead of after the Parallax-vs.-Abin Sur scene, and if the flashback during the test-flight sequence had been re-edited).

Two of the four deleted scenes on the disc should have been put back in the film as well: a scene in which Hal Jordan asks Sinestro for help saving Earth from Parallax (an obvious missing plot point, and one that helps explain Sinestro’s loss of faith in the power of will vs. fear), and a scene featuring Hector Hammond move a hamster in its wheel with his mind (showing the character become more comfortable with his powers). But Warners couldn’t even spring the money to finish the effects work on these scenes. Warner Brothers used to be the best of the big studios with quality disc releases, but this one doesn’t really try.

The other two scenes were deservedly cut: a scene where Hal kisses Carol instead of rushing to fight Parallax and save lives, and a scene in which Hal zooms to the suburbs to save his nephew who happens to be outside at the moment Parallax decides to start attacking outside the main city: both very convoluted and probably filmed due to studio notes (which rarely result in anything good). I would have loved to have heard commentary from the filmmakers explaining the existence of these terrible scenes!

Showcase #22 (Oct. 1959), the first appearance...

I'd love to know if the creators of this story got any movie money. (Image via Wikipedia)

The disc itself is a bit of a letdown, in that (unlike Warner DVDs) it’s impossible to skip the first few opening logo/disclaimer bullshit moments. Dear every movie studio: NOBODY LIKES UNSKIPPABLE CRAP AT THE START OF PLAYBACK. STOP IT. LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO WASTE WATCHING YOUR BULLSHIT.

The other bonus features seem nice, but I haven’t had time to watch them all yet. Which is how I like it: I like a bunch of extras that I can savor over time. But there should have been more time and care spent on the main feature itself, because a half-assed film seriously devalues the bonus features. There is a digital version of the new Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, but since that story barely qualifies as a first act, I don’t know if it’s going to drive people into comics shops or wonder why they wasted their time. The promo teaser for the new GL animated series looks decent, and since Bruce Timm is in charge of it, I’m willing to check it out at some point.

Green Lantern is good enough that I’d show it to young kids after they’ve seen Superman 1 and 2, but once they’re old enough to think about the story and use critical thinking as they watch it, it’s going to be less enjoyable.

If you want to see a great film that’s only a bit more animated than Green Lantern, check out Puss in Boots. It’s a terrific film, thanks to master storyteller Guillermo del Toro’s involvement, and gets every moment right. (In fact, I’d put it up with Hanna and Kung Fu Panda 2 as among the best films I’ve seen this year.)

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5 Responses to “I Watched GREEN LANTERN (Extended Cut)”

  1. lvl54spacemonkey November 1, 2011 at 17:58 #

    Shame that the Extended Cut doesn’t improve much. the films entire failings were, as you said, the little moments of character. Plus all the connective tissue that tie plot elements and character development were either mishandled or miss entirely. Ryan Reynolds worked his arse off in this film though and I’d hope that if there is a sequel coming they’ll really try harder and set it in space.

    The real pain is that Green Lantern would have been such an easy origin story if it was pretty much Training Day in space.

    • lvl54spacemonkey November 1, 2011 at 18:11 #

      Thanks for the subscribe sir but I suggest subscribing to my Film Dump blog as I haven’t updated the gamerspace for about 3 years. Didn’t even realise my name linked to that one.

      • All Day Comics November 1, 2011 at 18:13 #

        Ah, okay. Thanks for the heads-up. 🙂

  2. All Day Comics November 1, 2011 at 18:12 #

    Well said – seeing more of Hal’s actual training would have added a lot to the film. The CG animators did a fantastic job with what they were given, but they could have really cut loose more with more training scenes.

    As long as the sequel isn’t just “dark and edgy,” it can only be an improvement (I’m hoping):
    http://alldaycomics.com/2011/09/06/22/

    • lvl54spacemonkey November 1, 2011 at 18:17 #

      Yeah I heard some producer spokesman use those dreaded words a while back. I feel like they let Nolan have free reign on Batman and so the Warner producers feel like they need to have as much control as they can over any other franchise they try to start up. I do worry about the potential Justice League project that’s been rumoured for a long time now.

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