Movies

Movie Review: Green Lantern

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“In brightest day. In blackest night. No evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power… Green Lantern’s light!”

It wouldn’t be fair to compare “Green Lantern” with the recent “X-Men” or “The Dark Knight,” which are inherently darker and carries a more serious tone, dealing with human nature, psychological, social and political issues. And while the heroes share similar bravado and tongue-in-cheek humor, it’s not like “Iron-Man” either, which is grounded in reality.

“Green Lantern” is more along the lines of “Thor” or “Fantastic Four,” highly fantasy-based and intended as a light entertainment. While “Thor,” with a surprisingly layered story and compelling characters, was a thunderously successful adaptation, “Green Lantern” is a hit-or-miss.

Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine“) is a cocky and careless, top test pilot with Ferris Aircraft. In a “Top Gun” fashion, he dogfights robotic drones, shows off his maverick side by going outside the rules of engagement in beating out the drones, which effectively costs the company a billion dollar defense contract. Behind the bravado, Hal is haunted by the memory of his dad (Jon Tenney), also a test pilot, who died before his eyes when he was a little boy. There’s always a fear that he would meet the same fate. Blake Lively is Carol Ferris, a fellow pilot, vice president of his father’s company, childhood friend and ex-girlfriend.

In a faraway galaxy, the Green Lantern Corps, protectors of the universe’s order, are facing a growing monstrous enemy, Parallax (voiced by Clancy Brown), which threatens to destroy everything. When warrior Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) is mortally wounded, he crashes into earth with his spaceship. Each Green Lantern wears a ring, harnessed by the power of will. Abin’s ring flies out and chooses Hal, the first human ever recruited as a Lantern, bestowed with the highest honor and greatest responsibility.

Hal is flown to planet Oa to meet the rest of Green Lanterns. When Hal is transformed, his skin turns into a glowing green energy and he can manifests any object that he imagines in his mind, which can be used as weapons. He’s trained by porcine-like Killowog (voiced by Michael Clarke-Duncan) and fish-like Tomar-Re (voiced by Geoffrey Rush), and challenged to a test duel by a Lantern leader, Sinestro (Mark Strong). As Green Lantern, Hal is to focus his mind and not let fear defeat him. Otherwise he would get killed by Parallax, which carries the power of fear, and can detect and feeds on fear.

On earth, a biologist named Hector Hammond (Peter Saarsgard), is called upon by the government to dissect the alien’s deceased body. During the process, the remnant of the fear energy remaining in Abin’s body infects him, deforms his skull and inhabits his human form. Always being made to feel inferior, he targets his dad, a U.S. senator. While Hector is a side story, he’s more gripping as a villain than the distant, smoky-tentacled space monster Parallax. Although Hal’s ultimate confrontation with Parallax is no less fearsome.

With shiny visuals and special effects, “Green Lantern” is entertaining overall but subpar. As an origin story, it lacks an engaging script and at times feels mechanical. It’s not able to find the proper balance of tone, vacillating between goofy and grave. While the shifts between the two worlds flow seamlessly in “Thor,” they’re less cohesive in “Green Lantern.”

Lively may be lovely as a love interest, but she doesn’t show the credibility of a skilled pilot or high-powered executive. However, she does have a chemistry with Reynolds. And Ferris plays a role in making Hal realize his inner ability to overcome fear and thus be trusted as the bearer of the cosmic ring.

Lastly, and perhaps more importantly, Reynolds is suitably cast. While he’s not a compelling enough character or superhero to care about, as Green Lantern, he’s believable in his solemnity, yet his comedic charm helps when dealing with the absurdity that comes with the premise.

After soaring sky-high with “Thor” and blown away by the extraordinary force of “X-Men: First Class,” adjust your expectations and you’ll float along for the intergalactic ride with “Green Lantern.”

Copyright (c) 2011. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, lifestyle/travel writer and film columnist. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com. Nathalia owns a movies blog, The MovieMaven (http://themoviemaven.posterous.com)

"Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven (sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com."

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