A group of immortal creatures called the Guardians of the Universe have divided all of space into 3600 sectors. From each sector, the Guardians choose one person to give immense power. The green power of will is stored in a lantern and channeled through a ring which allows the owner to create anything he can think of and use it to maintain peace and justice in the universe. These 3600 are called the Green Lantern Corps. The greatest enemy of the Guardians and Lanterns is a creature that feeds on the yellow energy of fear, called Parallax (voiced by Clancy Brown). Imprisoned on the planet Ryut by the strongest Lantern, Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), Parallax is able to escape when a group of aliens crashes on the world and accidentally get too close, allowing Parallax to pull their fear and life-force from their bodies, killing them. Parallax travels through space, consuming entire civilizations along the way, growing bigger and stronger. He also kills some Green Lanterns on his journey. When he encounters Abin Sur, Parallax is able to mortally wound him, but the Lantern escapes in a space ship. Crashing on Earth, Abin Sur instructs his ring to find his successor as the next Green Lantern. Hot shot test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) works for Ferris Aircraft. His actions during a demonstration may have cost the company a giant government contract, much to the chagrin of everyone, including the bosses daughter, fellow test pilot and former lover Carol Ferris (Blake Lively). Scooped up in a ball of green energy, Hal is brought to the site of Abin Sur’s craft where the alien gives Hal the ring then promptly dies. Unsure of what to do next, Hal calls Ferris Aircraft technician and friend Tom Kalmaku (Taika Waititi). Tom sees the spaceship and the makeshift grave Hal made for Abin Sur, but they leave quickly as two military helicopters are approaching. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) is brought to a secret government lab where he’s introduced to Dr. Waller (Angela Bassett) and the corpse of Abin Sur. Hammond is the son of Senator Robert Hammond (Tim Robbins). The Senator pulled some strings to get his xenobiologist son assigned to the autopsy. During his examination, a small part of Parallax inside Abin Sur’s body attaches itself to Hector, beginning a transformation that will give him telepathic and telekinetic powers and also drive him insane. Brought to the Guardian’s planet of Oa, Hal is introduced to the Green Lantern Corps, including its leader Sinestro (Mark Strong). Sinestro is doubtful that a human can be a Green Lantern and doesn’t hide his disgust. Hal quits the Corps because he doesn’t feel worthy; but another Lantern, Tomar-Re (voiced by Geoffrey Rush) tells Hal the ring doesn’t make a mistake when it chooses a Green Lantern. Parallax is headed to Earth, attracted by the changes its DNA is making in Hector Hammond. Once it consumes all of humanity, it believes it will be strong enough to take its revenge on the Guardians and Lanterns. Can Hal pull himself together soon enough to save Earth and become a true Green Lantern?
“Green Lantern” is a movie that looks amazing when the screen is comprised mostly of computer generated images. When the real actors are featured in purely normal situation, the movie grinds to a near halt. The script doesn’t give the non-superpower people much to do but be in peril (Blake Lively) or scream incoherently (Peter Sarsgaard). Rather than be attracted to the normal characters, we are almost encouraged to hope they leave our view as quickly as possible since they are so dull. Probably the most entertaining character in the entire film is the CGI Green Lantern Kilowog, voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan. Despite his artificial nature, Kilowog is the liveliest creature in the movie. Unfortunately, he’s only on screen for about three minutes.
And while the visuals are impressive, the way Hal uses his powers isn’t terribly. I expected to be wowed by the various tools the power ring creates; but the constructs, as they are called, are mostly mundane and in some cases, silly. Aside from the visual effects, the rest of the production seems to have been given only a small amount of consideration. I imagine the story conference sounding something like, “We’ll fill the time between effects shots with Hal looking forlorn or Carol looking sexy.” Sometimes they managed to get both in the same scene, but it doesn’t make for a very good movie.
Blake Lively is miscast as Carol Ferris. She’s about as believable playing a test pilot as I would be playing a Kentucky Derby-winning jockey. While Lively is easy on the eye, she lacks the gravitas of someone with the Right Stuff. Peter Sarsgaard is just plain creepy as Hector Hammond, even before he’s infected with Parallax DNA. After his transformation, complete with enormous head and swollen neck, he’s just disgusting and not very intimidating despite his powers.
“Green Lantern” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action. There is a great deal of fighting, mostly with green beams and the items they construct. Abin Sur has a rather nasty looking wound visible after his battle with Parallax. There is some foul language scattered in the first half of the film.
Movies made from DC Comics characters have, at best, a spotty track record. Even the better known characters have a less than 50 percent winning record. While “Green Lantern” isn’t a complete disaster, it could have been much better had the filmmakers paid as much attention to the story as they did the visuals.
“Green Lantern” gets three guitars out of five.
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