Saturday 18 June 2011

Review: Green Lantern

Year: 2011
Director: Martin Campbell
Screenplay: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Geoffrey Rush, Mark Strong, Peter Sarsgaard , Blake Lively

Synopsis is here

A common phase for a film like The Green Lantern would be Cookie Cutter. While I agree with the metaphor to a certain degree, there is a slight problem with it. Cookie Cutter may represent samey, but it also displays that there's a certain degree of taste to proceedings. I like cookies. They are dependable snack food. When a film is described as cookie cutter, it may not be fresh or original but it should provide some sort of sweetness. Green Lantern is more like play-doh cutters in which the end product may be non-toxic but still inedible.

I personally think the film is as earnest as Ryan Reynolds dimples. It wants to be a decent and fun popcorn flick and some of the more harsh reviews have made the film out to be some sort of super cancer. I think Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, Goldeneye) tries to do a decent job with the action set pieces and I think the much of the cast is trying hard to give a silly story (seriously the opening narrative is laugh out loud) a certain amount of gravitas. The effects have been blasted as bad but I didn't mind them too much as I've seen much worse. All in all there's is enough within the film to make it a watchable feature.

Unfortunately for me, Green Lantern's fatal flaw is it's hash of a screenplay; which does nothing to explore the themes it brings up properly, nor does it construct the relationships within the movie with any grounding. Every aspect of the story is half-baked, pedestrian and predictable. Far too many character turn up spout wearisome dialogue and disappear never to be heard from again. Around half way through the plot suddenly realises that the characters within the film are actually connected to each in some way but unfortunately this appears way too late.

In fact, it's this aspect is so badly put together that one may question the who's and why's long after the film's finished., though more out of frustration more than anything. It is a script that turns Blake Lively from a character with any creditability into a woman in distress avatar. It is a screenplay that states there is a back story between three characters but decides to tell us this almost near the end of the film. It's a screenplay that states that Hal Jordan has a fractured family life of sorts, but cannot be bothered to do anything with such characters so gives them a typical lazy one note scene. Such soulless construction ruins a film which clearly just wants to have a good time.

The worst thing about Green Lantern is that you can see that fun film trying to come out. Those who aren't pompous film viewers like myself will happily ignore the problems and garner something from the film. But I almost got there. I like the goofiness that an actor like Reynolds can bring, I like that Geoffrey Rush, Mark Strong and Peter Sarsgaard bring the right amount of energy to the role. I also like Blake Lively's....erm...figure (seriously they give her nothing to work with). There's also the over used but still interesting theme of fear being an all consuming force, while will power can overcome such an aspect. The action lacks physicality (thanks overuse of effects) but still has a popcorn munching appeal. It's just a damn shame that the four writers on board of this movie couldn't find the tone or coherence for the piece.