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GREEN LANTERN (director: Martin Campbell; screenwriters: Greg Berlanti/Michael Green/Marc Guggenheim/Michael Goldenberg/based on a screen story by Greg Berlanti, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim and characters from DC Comics; cinematographer: Dion Beebe; editor: Stuart Baird; music: James Newton Howard; cast: Ryan Reynolds (Hal Jordan/Green Lantern), Blake Lively (Carol Ferris), Peter Sarsgaard (Hector Hammond), Mark Strong (Sinestro), Tim Robbins (Hammond), Jay O. Sanders (Carl Ferris), Taika Waititi (Tom Kalmaku), Angela Bassett (Doctor Waller), Temuera Morrison (Abin Sur); Runtime: 114; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Donald De Line/Greg Berlanti; Warner Brothers Pictures; 2011)
“A substandard superhero film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A pathetic superhero comic book film about the origins of the emerald-hued Green Hornet, filmed in 3-D and filmed without conviction for its cause. The plotline is convoluted, the dialogue is dreadful, the acting is stiff, the special effects are cheesy and the presentation is silly. This is a substandard superhero film. The big-budget film was made for $150 million, but doesn’t seem to get much bang for its money. Action director Martin Campbell (“Casino Royale”/”Edge of Darkness”/”The Mask Of Zorro”) can never get it to be imaginative or even remotely interesting, nor can he do much to make his square superhero charismatic. It’s based on the screen story by Greg Berlanti, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim and characters from DC Comics, and is written by Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg.

Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a hot-shot irresponsible test pilot for Ferris Aircraft, who was dating the owner’s twentysomething hottie test pilot daughter Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) before she dumped him as a bad risk. The lad has daddie issues, as he tries to prove he’s as fearless as his deceased test pilot father. His immature actions during a test flight gets Hal in trouble with his boss. Soon afterwards Hal gets called to the aid of a dying alien, Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), who crash-landed on Earth after losing a fight to a fierce enemy called the Parallax (an amorphous blob). Abin Sur is a member of the Green Lanterns, the Guardians of the Universe, who live on the planet Oa. This great warrior says the ring has chosen Hal to take his place. With that Hal becomes the first human to join the Corps of the Green Lanterns, a multispecies group that has taken an oath to live by their strong will, be fearless and protect the world from evil. Their political leaders are a few wizened immortals, who wear long robes and stand atop their own power towers when conferring. Hal swears his allegiance to the Lanterns (uttering: “Let those who worship evil’s might beware my power — Green Lantern’s light!”) and is given the former warrior’s ring, and soon learns of how powerful the ring makes him (with the ring he can create anything his mind can imagine). Only drawback is that the ring has to be regularly recharged with that special lantern. Hal’s new act, comes with a computer-generated Green Lantern costume and a cute green mask.

Hal meets Sinestro (Mark Strong), the head of the Lanterns, who is skeptical a human weakling like Hal was chosen. But then again he knows the ring never makes a wrong choice. With that, of all the other three thousand and so Green Lanterns, Hal is chosen to take out the Parallax, the film’s CGI villain, who is trying to instill fear in the Lanterns in order to destroy them. It concludes with Hal proving himself in battle, by giving the Parallax the business in a battle in space.

Blake Lively is miscast as the pilot/executive and romantic lead, never convincing in business or love. The actor who registers some interest is Peter Sarsgaard as the loopy brilliant scientist Hector Hammond, who transforms totally into the villain in a campy way. Angela Bassett is wasted in a robotic role as a government bureaucratic figure stationed in its secret science program, who walks around the high-tech lab supplied by private companies in high heels and with a sour disposition. Even more under-utilized is Tim Robbins, playing a smarmy high-powered senator who just seems to be going through the motions to pick-up a paycheck for a part that required very little of him. Ryan Reynolds is stiff as the superhero, trying hard to generate some light comedy amidst all the hokum.But his valid excuse for a bad performance is because the lame script given him is not fit for human consumption.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”