In blandest day

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 7:36 pm Comments (1)

Went to see Green Lantern. It’s a decent bit of eye candy.
I admit I was a bit biased when watching it, as I’ve been keeping up a little with DC Comics’ reboot and their marketing strategies – namely, how they expect people who see the movies of their franchises will then want to read more and seek out the comics. Armagideon Times does a better job of talking about it in jaded tones than I would (and is a good read in general, I suggest checking it out), but what it basically boiled to was while watching the movie, I asked myself, “does this movie make me want to learn more about the Green Lantern and their adventures?”

Hal Jordan is a jet pilot who’s all, “fear? pshaw!”, and then he’s chosen by an intergalactic space police and they say he’s still afraid of things and he says “you’re right” and buggers on home, and then once he learns that a poorly-defined cosmic entity is going to destroy the Earth (and the rest of the universe, but Earth comes first!) he mans up and destroys it all by himself.
That’s about the gist of it.

The trailers and promotional materials really promoted the big science fiction edge to the film, with lots of emphasis on the weird and wonderful members of the Green Lantern Corp., all the flying through space and the awesome planet they all hang out on. Indeed, the film begins right away focusing on these elements… with an infodump of the origins of the corporation and the aforementioned poorly-defined cosmic threat (who is given the briefest origin story possible about halfway through the film). It doesn’t exactly give the immediate impression that this is a movie that uses science fiction and strange, inhuman creatures in a respectable and commendable manner, and instead just made me think, “yep, this is a comic book movie.”

The story functions adequately enough, but that’s just it – it just functions. None of the characters really jumped out at me, nor was there much for it to actually say. I think the problem is that, because of the cosmic nature of the film, it’s all too easy to compare it to Thor, which was a much more compelling film – it retained its cosmic feel even when on Earth, it had more appealing characters, more interest invested in the story, and Loki really stole the show as a layered and reasonably complex nemesis… for a supervillain, at least.

Green Lantern, meanwhile, feels more like it’s just teasing the audience with all these grand glimpses of far-out science fiction locations and characters, and then having them rendered pointless because the human character resolves everything himself. When the Green Lantern Corp. is host to thousands of ring-bearers and their basic role as the space police, it’s all the more disappointing when they don’t actually factor into the story much. Besides informing Hal of the cosmic threat, testing his skills and giving him the powers in the first place, they don’t actually contributed anything to the story’s resolution outside of a sequel hook.

Also, the villains are kinda bare – the giant cosmic threat has those three words as his sole defining traits, and although the human guy is amusingly hammy, it just feels like he isn’t explored enough; is the scene where he’s kidnapped by the secret agents really the first scene you see him in? It establishes him as having similar slobby traits to Hal Jordan, but I don’t recall it actually giving the two any real connection outside of the Green vs. Yellow energy thing that happens later. Again with the Thor comparisons, Loki is Thor’s brother and there’s the drama surrounding his heritage as one of the Ice Giants; he’s a good person, but he just trails down the wrong path through bad decisions, giving him and Thor an obvious parallel.

But psssh, forget story, right? Eye candy! It’s a really good visual effects like. Like, very good. My dad was originally interested in the movie at first because he’d heard reviews that said it’s one of the best movies to see in 3D, and it definitely seems like it would be; we watched it in 2D though, and I do prefer it that way.

As a narrative of special effects with an adequate story, it’s not bad; I sound like a real grouch here, but I enjoyed my time at the cinema with my chums. If you’re hoping for real cosmic superhero shit on the big screen, we’re still not there yet – humongous budgets can still only produce so much CGI, sadly!
Going back to my bit about DC’s marketing strategy, does the movie make me want to buy the Green Lantern comics? Well, not really. The movie did little to get me invested in the story, and it just gave me the impression that despite the few thousand members in the Corp., the one human is all that counts. Obviously a film is directed to a different audience than a comic book, and one would like to assume the more niche of the two would get a chance to explore storylines and themes in a more engaging manner, but the point is, the movie was a fair-enough two hour special effects fest, but it wasn’t the greatest of sales pitches.

Bit of an unrelated tangent, but thought it was worth discussing – I know jack about the Green Lantern as a character, but the version I’m most familiar with (however vaguely that is) is John Stewart from the Justice League cartoons, who’s a black guy. And it got me wondering: what other superhero movies are there that have a black protagonist? Well, there’s Blade, I suppose, and there’s Steel, however disconnected that was from the source material (or so I have heard!). Same goes for Catwoman, though I haven’t seen it and I’m sure there’s people out there who have to argue that Halle Barry isn’t black enough or something completely moronic like that. Although not based off any comic, I guess Hancock counts.
I’ve no idea what major differences there are between Hal Jordan and John Stewart, so what changes having one or the other as the leading character in the movie would be unknown to me, but I just thought it was intriguing. If anything, it would’ve been nice just for a bit of diversity – the DC reboot promotional material is so full of whities that it’s not funny.


Found an old doodle I’d never finished.

I’d intended to redraw the cover to Double Dungeons and make all the characters and creatures on it look even more dorky than usual; I drew them all in pen, but this was as far as I could when redrawing it in MS Paint. Looks a bit like Jeremy from 3D Movie Maker, except he forgot to put on a decent pair of pants.

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