The Green Lantern’s world is comprised of over 3,000 sectors, Earth crammed in there somewhere. That’s a wide berth for comic mythos, more so for the now traditional origin story. Hollywood doesn’t want to spend time building, just acting and amazing, but that’s not what Green Lantern needs.
This isn’t a story created around a single individual, although this four-way screenplay wants the audience to believe so. Maybe it was the rejuvenated Batman series that forced our superheroes to be grounded, Green Lantern ditching Hal Jordan’s (Ryan Reynolds) space spectacle for a Earth-based conflict. That’s a strike right down the middle of the plate. Thanks Batman.
What it gains in familiarity and clunky romance it loses in spectacle. The Lanterns take refuge on the home planet of Oa, seen fleetingly in this extended edition that catapults itself just past the two hour marker. Instead, the combined four writers craft a story about finding ones self, Reynolds overcoming his fear while donning a mystical suit, and fighting a dirt goblin in the sky.
Green Lantern’s salvation lies in the vastly under-appreciated Peter Sarsgaard, a mutated mentalist named Hector, having far more enjoyment with his new found powers than Hal ever did. Hector has a clear purpose, to overcome a doubting father while getting the girl all to himself. He has no inner demons, or even those ones that pop up on your shoulders to debate your actions. Hal seems afflicted with both kinds.
The reluctant hero spectacle spends too much time meandering around in human affairs, this after a blistering start which is where the meandering should have taken place. Oa’s grand troubles feel pushed aside because Hal is auditioning for a Top Gun sequel, because the misguided plight of one human is more important than the universe’s woes apparently.
When Green Lantern finds its spark, that coming during a handful of CG-riffic action blasts, it does have an energy. What other superhero can conjure up a WWII anti-aircraft cannon at will? That’s all potential though, Hal’s powers never exploited as they should be, nor is the rich world of its key planetary-defending aliens. Why make a Green Lantern movie if you’re not making the most of it?
Warner’s AVC encode has one thing to handle, and that’s green. So. Much. Green. One would think some of Oa’s citizens were beaming their rings towards Earth as if to make it more applicable to the new Lantern’s needs. Sure, it’s partially an excuse to shove a bunch of orange flesh tones and teal-ish backgrounds in there, but the title says “Green,” right?
There’s little doubt this one carries the glitzy, even somewhat glamorous look summer action movies are built on, powered by sharpness and mounds of effects. Hal’s lighted, kinda/sorta suit carries intricate lines and showy logos, all cleanly defined without any defects in HD. Exteriors, including some wide angles of Oa or more close to home views of Hal’s hometown, provide needed relief from the middling facial detail.
Green Lantern is a bit of an odd beast, the fine grain structure indicating a film-based source (which is of course correct) while the at times glaring smoothing or middling close-ups don’t hit home. That’s not saying it’s not there, much of Lantern clearly resolved to its sparkling summer beauty. Inconsistencies abound though, dampening the fun of those close-ups while robbing them of their expected texture.
At least black levels perform, the intensity of space spot on and those darker apartments loaded with appreciable depth. Heavy contrast will counter act to create dimensionality without the need to splurge on the 3D disc. This one never gives up the fight, pleased to be offering a little bit of hi-def spectacle even if the other elements won’t come out to play.
Sure, this DTS-HD mix feels a bit exaggerated, expanding stuff into the surrounds just for the sake of it at times, but for Green Lantern, it seems to fit. Meant to be a little overzealous to match a hero capable of anything, it should come as little surprise it’s created an audio mix to match. It’s less than three minutes in before the surrounds open themselves up, a planet’s surface cracking and tumbling debris creating a stream of sound. The initial break will call on the sub for a generous rumble too, one of the constants at work here.
Jet engines wallop the low-end, and their perky afterburners will traverse all five speakers. Growing up around flight, it only seems appropriate that Hal is surrounded by his passion. The Lanterns speed through space too, the same level of intense, bold tracking crucial to Warner’s fancy home mix.
One of Hal’s acts of heroism concerns stopping a helicopter crash, building an entire speedway to soften the blow and save party goers. The chopper blasts through expensive displays and carves up the tables, tossing debris aside, all the while hammering the subwoofer. The grand finale, concerning an all around evil-doer mass of something or other, tears up a small hunk of humanity right in the middle of the street, the spectacle enlightened with the best this effort can muster.
A final element is the score, arguably more memorable than the film itself. With its sweeping chords and more subtle downtime, James Newton Howard’s work envelopes without losing its pure focus in the stereos. Instruments have clearly defined purpose and the best fidelity around.
Warner inserts a Maximum Movie Mode for the Green Lantern Blu-ray experience, although not quite with the same energy of prior editions. Director Martin Campbell doesn’t pop onto the screen to chat, but this is instead just a typical series of pop-up featurettes. You could instead head into the eight Focus Points and watch those, although the 47-minutes of content doesn’t cover everything.
Universe According to Green Lantern dives into the comic origins and explains the fun better than the film. Deleted scenes offer seven minutes worth of stuff, followed by a promo for the animated Green Lantern series. You can partake in reading a digital comic of Justice League, and then dive into the barren, boring world of BD-Live.
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