MovieBob - Intermission
Green Lantern: The Fanboy Free Breakdown

Bob "MovieBob" Chipman | 24 Jun 2011 16:00
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Why does this take so long to happen? Hell, Hector doesn't even go full bad-guy until the same moment that Parallax itself shows up on earth - meaning that Hal fights both villains in the span of a few minutes at the very end. Isn't the whole point of having a mini-boss bad guy so that they can give the hero something to do in the second act instead of mope around and kill time ... which is exactly what happens in this movie?

Lack of Momentum

The Green Lantern is a film that takes place both in Outer Space and on the sprawling alien planet of Oa, and features an entire army of Green Lantern Corps members - all of it rendered entirely using several hundred-million dollars worth of CGI animation. Oa and The Corps figure heavily in the film's (retooled) advertising - with huge banners depicting Hal Jordan flanked by a litany of strange alien buddies.

Only one of those buddies has more than a few minutes of screen time. The others appear in the film as background extras, without dialogue or even names to call their own. The small portion of the film that actually takes place on Oa is devoted exclusively to expository dialogue and a very brief training sequence. Its action sequences include, in order: Hal flying a plane at the beginning, Hal catching a helicopter, Hal wrestling with a puffy-headed guy, and Hal tricking an angry cloud monster into flying into the Sun. At one point, a handful of nameless Corps members fight Parallax by throwing a net over it and shooting it with lasers for a minute or two.

Beyond that, nothing much happens. The other scenes largely take place on Earth, in and around Hal Jordan's apartment, where he frets about not being good enough to wear the Ring the Guardians are still letting him keep for some reason and getting pep talks from his friends. There is a incredible lack of action in this action/adventure film, and even the strange alien vistas are presented in the most static way possible. Hal's scenes on Oa have all the visual dynamism of a three-camera sitcom, and the obligatory "hero fights thugs in an alley" scene looks so much like a mid-1990s TV show I half expected Bulk and Skull to show up.


While it's inevitable (and deserved) that comics fans will be using Green Lantern as a punch line for its numerous sins as an adaptation (are "glowy veins" the new "bat-nipples"?) its true failings are in the realm of basic moviemaking. This is Film Studies 101 stuff - the kind of problems you'd expect to find in an amateur YouTube production. And when you contrast it against the ginormous wall (soon to be ginormous discount-bin) of Green Lantern baubles at your local Wal-Mart, the picture becomes depressingly clear - and depressingly familiar. This is what happens when the people making the movie are interested in everything but making the actual movie.

Bob Chipman is a film critic and independent filmmaker. If you've heard of him before, you have officially been spending way too much time on the internet.

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