I was pretty excited to see this movie at home, since I’d missed it on its summer run in theaters. I know some feel that an effects-heavy film should be seen on the big screen, but I dunno, any movie that opens with an alien ghost sucking yellow spirits out of astronauts, I’m more comfortable seeing that from my couch. I wasn’t expecting to devote 100% of my attention to this, since I was already familiar with the high points of the story, and this way, I could surf for related content while watching. Plus, KC and I could chat about things that struck us funny (Hal’s wrapping a gift while driving?!?) or impressed us or reminded us of favorite comics without bothering anyone else.
I found myself involved with the film more than I expected, though, since the special effects really are impressive. As a superhero comic fan, I couldn’t help but be impressed that something so faithful made it to the screen in such expanse. I know that the large budget for this vision contributed to the (unmet) high expectations for this film, but now that it does exist, it’s pretty nifty that it does.
The movie moved more quickly than I expected. There’s a lot going on, between Jordan’s origin and family background and the Hector Hammond storyline (with the alien autopsy) and all the other Green Lanterns. Some of the scenes are darker than I would have liked, and the volume levels of the sound required adjustment every time the film switched from people scenes to cosmic effects or vice versa. I actually would have preferred this material being two different movies. I’d watch the one that stayed on earth with Hammond and Carol, and leave the aliens to the cartoons.
Blake Lively as Carol and Ryan Reynolds as Hal in Green Lantern
I didn’t buy Blake Lively as Carol at all (except for that one scene about his cheekbones, which tells me it’s partly the fault of an underwritten role), but there are a lot worse stars to spend two hours with than Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan. I don’t want to hear another word, by the way, about how dumb Kyle Rayner’s origin was now that I’ve seen Hal kill some guy by smacking him through a brick wall with his first use of the ring.
Now that I’ve finally seen it, I think this movie had all the elements it needed to be a success — good cast, great effects, known source material — except for a decent script and sufficient lighting. The movie has too much going on, key elements are badly staged (why does he first get the costume in a space bubble alone, instead of with Abin Sur at his passing? why does the ring make his brown eyes blue?), and at times it’s too dark to know who the characters are. A tighter, more focused script and some more light bulbs would have worked wonders.
What’s on the Blu-ray?
The Blu-ray Combo Pack, available October 14, is a complex package that includes
- Two discs, the Blu-ray and a movie-only DVD
- A PS3 code flyer for a Batman: Arkham City Sinestro Corps Batman skin (requires PlayStation Network registration)
- BD-Live instructions (requires registration with Warner online and internet-connected Blu-ray player)
- An UltraViolet digital copy code. This is the first major release with that new DRM system included, but I wasn’t able to test it, because it doesn’t go live until the disc’s release date. It requires creating both Flixster (to host the digital copy for you) and UltraViolet accounts to access streaming and three download copies across various devices for three years after redemption date. It also requires US residency, Adobe Air, and Flash, so the “watch anytime, anywhere on computer, tablets, or smartphones” blurb leaves out one major device: the iPad.
The first thing on the Blu-ray is an ad for the DC New 52, followed by the CGI Green Lantern cartoon trailer and the GL game ad, which serves as an interesting comparison point for the movie, with all its computer-generated special effects. The film can be viewed in either Theatrical Version (1 hour 54 minutes) or Extended Cut (2 hours 4 minutes), adding a little less than 10 minutes of footage. (Most of it seems to be an early flashback scene with kid versions of the characters.)
There’s also a 3-D version (applies to the theatrical cut only) available. The special features on either Blu-ray package are:
- Maximum Movie Mode, a picture-in-picture commentary hosted by Geoff Johns that plays over the theatrical version. It has Johns interviewing Ryan Reynolds, crew comments, character background, and lots of production material. Plus, Johns recites the oath while playing with the props.
- Focus Points, or how you access eight featurettes included in the above directly from the disc menu. Topics include making the computer-generated costume, Hector’s head design, and information on the Corps and Guardians.
- The Universe According to Green Lantern (20 minutes) covers much of Hal Jordan’s comic history, including Zero Hour. One big omission: much-maligned editor Kevin Dooley isn’t interviewed, although Eddie Berganza, Dennis O’Neil, Peter Tomasi, and Dan Jurgens join the usual suspects of Geoff Johns and Dan DiDio.
- Ryan Reynolds Becomes the Green Lantern (almost 9 minutes) shows the actor talking about playing the role over behind-the-scenes footage, while Geoff Johns discusses the character and Blake Lively and other crew members praise her co-star. Reynolds comes off as a very nice guy, a real-life hero type.
- Deleted Scenes (7 minutes), in which Hector tortures some (badly computer-generated, since the scene wasn’t used) hamsters. Another shows Sinestro and Jordan in their polka-dotted motion-capture suits while viewing Oan memorials, while a third is a conversation between Hal and Carol during a crisis and a fourth has Hal’s family preparing for a Parallax attack.
- Digital comic of Justice League #1 (the new 52 version) using something similar to comiXology’s guided view, moving you panel by panel through the comic. That addresses the readability problem I’ve had with other on-screen DVD comics.
- Preview of Green Lantern: The Animated Series (6 1/2 minutes) showing Hal saving a train when a bridge is out, visiting Oa, and charming a spaceship. There are also some Red Lanterns.
If you don’t want all that, there’s a movie-only Blu-ray or a DVD edition, so you can try the movie again for yourself. I discovered Green Lantern certainly wasn’t as a bad as I heard it was, and I suspect others will re-evaluate it in this format, too. (The studio provided a review copy.)
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