June 30, 2011

Green Lantern

After Bad Teacher, we headed straight to Green Lantern on Screen 2 (AMC Loews 34th Street 14). Since it was post-converted to 3D, we were leaning towards seeing it in 2D. But after reading some positive words on twitter arguing that the 3D effects were impressive, we were okay with seeing either version. The timing for the 2D version worked in our favor, so that's what we saw.

Mike: The theater was about half full, but don't worry: despite all the empty seats, there were plenty nightmare moviegoers to go around. Most of the audience seemed disinterested with the film - it was as if they were there to pass time instead of watching a movie. Lots of talking, lots of LCD screen lighting, and lots of people leaving and re-entering the room. There were a few people with kids, but they paid little to the movie. Neither did their parents - they were mostly talking and doing stuff on their smartphones. As soon as the movie started, a bunch of patrons left to get concessions. After sitting there for all the commercials and previews. I can't understand what would drive someone to do that. I guess some people just go to the movies to hang out, relax, eat overpriced junk food and see some random action scenes in between texts.

Even after seeing the trailers and commercials with weird aliens, it didn't dawn on me until the movie started that this was pretty hard science fiction. This isn't a regular superhero movie - it takes place far out in space. I can't help but wonder how this movie got such a big budget. I realize that the comic is popular, but man, this is really, really sci-fi, with a deep mythology that I can't see appealing at all to regular joes. It reminded me of something like Stargate - the TV show, not the movie. I have never seen a single episode of that show, but I understand that it was on for years and years, and a small group of dedicated fans were really into it, but nobody else. Well, Green Lantern seems like that. The sci-fi elements are pretty out there.

Just about everything about the movie was terrible. The Green Lantern - Hal Jordan, played by Ryan Reynolds, and the villains (one of them played by Peter Sarsgaard), fight each other using their imaginations. Seriously. It looks so unbelievably silly.

There are a handful of villains. Peter Sarsgaard seemed to be enjoying himself, and his scenes are amusing to watch. The giant evil spider cloud, which appears midway and doesn't figure until the end of the film, is cringeworthy. I couldn't help but think to myself, Holy shit! This is not a joke. It's a giant evil spider cloud monster with eyes. Someone spending $300 million thought that this was okay.

So Sarsgaard's character is the only one that's remotely interesting, and you can tell from his performance that he knows what kind of a movie he's in. He knows the deal. That can't be said for the others. While I can take or leave Ryan Reynolds, I don't like anything about Blake Lively. I don't think she's talented or attractive with that mole on her face. Even in The Town, an otherwise outstanding film, I was unable to bear her. You don't see much of her in The Town, but Green Lantern offers her an awful lot of screen time. Tim Robbins and Angela Bassett also appear, with the sole purpose of adding familiar names to the credits.

Besides the spider cloud, the worst moment in the film occurs when Hal is trained to use his willpower. An alien voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan throws all sorts of objects at Hal to teach him how to use his powers. It exceeds any 80s sports movie training montage in sheer stupidity, and has to be seen to be believed.

Green Lantern should also be singled out for one of the most absurd marketing tie-ins. For the past month, the film has been used to promote the addition of avocado as a sandwich topping at Subway.

Years ago, it became politically incorrect to use the R-word, whether to describe someone who is mentally challenged or something that's really stupid. I agree. It's a nasty word, and we really ought to excise it from our vocabulary. But man, that word would be the perfect adjective to describe Green Lantern. The entire movie can be summed up with just that one word.

Erica: I think I agree with everything you said. Reynolds doesn't strike me as the superhero type and Lively is just really annoying and shows up far too much in the film. People are surprised that this film 'underperformed' at the box office, yet Warner Bros. just announced a sequel. Wow....so are we to expect a bumble bee cloud or mosquito cloud in the sequel? I guess that means more bratty kids, smartphone glares, and maybe introducing broccoli or asparagus at Subway?? Only time will tell....a lot of Americans have a short attention span but Warner Bros. can only hope it is short enough that people will forget how terrible the first one was...

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