In 'Green Lantern,' an intergalactic hero adventure involving aliens and color-coded energy sources, Ryan Reynolds makes the annoyingly selfish and bigheaded Hal Jordan into a regular guy we can like. Part of that comes from his talent in delivering arrogance and pride as a believable defense mechanism. Hal is a fearless hot-shot fighter pilot who knows he's better than the showboating assignments his employer expects him to perform. He's essentially a cross between Tom Cruise's Maverick and Robert Downey, Jr.'s Tony Stark rolled into one. When he finally reaches that crucial turning point and owns up to his fears, we also believe his vulnerability is real. It may not seem like much of a stretch for Reynolds, but this is what he's good at. He knows how to sell this type of character.
Unfortunately, the rest of the movie doesn't appear to share that same level of confidence and overshadows Reynolds's natural screen appeal with lots of pesky exposition. Once we put some thought into it, 'Green Lantern' is actually a somewhat confusing mess. This is not so much in reference to the plot or the story, because that's easy enough to follow. A magical green ring scours the Earth in a matter of minutes to choose Hal as the next recruit of an intergalactic police force known as the Green Lantern Corps. At the same time, an alien life form named Parallax (voiced by Clancy "The Kurgan" Brown) is spurred by fear and escaped imprisonment, annihilating planets and determined to dismantle the Corps.
As would be expected in a script this predictable, our newly-hatched peace keeper is bound to go mano-a-mano against the foreign menace, who earlier already made human contact with Hector (Peter "What am I doing here" Sarsgaard). Of course, Hal isn't quite ready for the task since he knows pretty much nothing about his potential or of the power within the ring — which is weirdly placed on his middle finger. Cue training montage with a random kickass 80s tune, preferably something tailor-made for the moment by the likes of Kenny Logins.
Actually, there is no montage, which is surprisingly disappointing. Come to think of it, there isn't much of a training anything. All we get is a few minutes of wisdom with Geoffrey Rush looking like an anorexic fish with scoliosis, and a couple sparring matches with Michael Clarke Duncan as a giant, irritable crossbreed of a pig and pit bull terrier. As the devilish Sinestro, Mark Strong tries to act both those roles while also hinting at the film's possible sequel, when another certain ring of another certain color conveniently appears mid-story. Then there's Blake Lively playing Carol Ferris, the human love-interest grounding Hal and helping him discover his inner fearlessness.
Where we get into trouble is in the logic of the whole narrative. Do the creators think so little of humanity that they actually imagine Hal Jordan as the best candidate to represent our species? According to the plot, he is the first ever to be admitted into this obviously exclusive and very elite club of heroes. And apparently, he's the best we have to offer. With very little experience on his side, he's actually expected to go against a force so powerful and devastating that even the thousands of other Green Lantern members cannot defeat it. Hal is even given the power to literally imagine anything and use it as a weapon to combat evil. Springs, guns and jets are the best he can come up with. Seems to me the writers, of which there are five, have allowed fear to limit their own imaginations.
Director Martin Campbell does what he can with the material, offering small sparks of excitement that mildly distract from constantly wondering, "Why Hal?" The New Zealand filmmaker has shown he knows how to shoot an entertaining action sequence with two Bond entries and two Zorro flicks already under his belt. In 'Green Lantern,' he makes some wildly fantastic and grandiose CGI spectacles for the eyes to devour. But sadly, it's doesn't amount to much when coming from a script that won't play along with the endless possibilities of human imagination, which seems like a crucial aspect in the plot. Campbell and Reynolds work hard at providing superhero movie fans something to enjoy, but the story is barely doing anything at all, trying to coast unnoticed on the charms of the other two.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Warner Home Video offers fans several choices in their purchase of 'Green Lantern.' The first is a movie-only standalone that mimics its DVD counterpart. The other is a three-disc combo pack with a 3D copy of the movie, which apparently only contains the theatrical version while the last is a two-disc combo pack. The latter two contain the extended cut of the film, available only in 2D, and shows a few more scenes of dialogue which fill in the story a bit more, making it preferable to the original runtime.
The two packages also include a code for downloading a game add-on for "Batman: Arkham City" and a Sinestro Corps Batman skin. There is also a digital copy via Flixster called "Ultraviolet," which allows owners with an account to watch their movie on any portable device anywhere.
The combo packs arrive with Region Free, BD50 discs and one DVD-9, housed inside a blue eco-amaray case. The cardboard slipcover is a glossy, shiny design of the Green Lantern Corps with Hal Jordan, front and center. Once placed inside the Blu-ray player, the disc commences with promos for a new Justice League comic-book series, a Green Lantern cartoon series and a videogame based on the movie. Afterwards, we have a still of Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern on Oa with the menu selection at the bottom of the screen and music playing in the background.
'Green Lantern' lights up Blu-ray with a sometimes excellent 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode, but it also shows several distinguishing features that keep it from being a knockout.
For the most part, the picture has a beautiful cinematic appeal and vibrancy, so it might be an accurate representation of the theatrical experience. It is often razor-sharp and highly detailed, making every little object plainly visible. On Oa, jagged edges and formations in the rocks are clear and precise while on Earth, lines in random architecture, the threading on clothing and Hal's energy costume are very distinct and diverse. Facial complexions, especially in medium to close-up shots, expose pores and minor blemishes with terrific lifelike textures.
A few of the drawbacks seem to be the result of the cinematography, where the color palette intentionally pushes more reds and oranges, creating a very warm and consistently attractive appearance. In doing this, saturation levels tend to make flesh tones look slightly tanned and unrealistic. Primaries are not affected too greatly, but come off a bit too strong in some scenes, though green is understandably meant to be brighter than most.
Contrast is also somewhat off, in that several sequences show amazing clarity and crispness one minute, then suddenly go flat and dull in the next. Basically, the image has plenty of three-dimensional pop throughout, but it's quickly countered by lifeless, stale moments with noticeable blurriness. Worst still are the black levels, which are predominately rich and abundant, with good gradational distance, but there are a number of scenes where they appear lackluster and terribly murky, this greatly affects the discernible details within shadows, exposing a bit of noise in the background, and in a movie that's generally dark, with many poorly-lit interiors, this will be a notable problem for viewers. Noise reduction, which seems intentional on the part of the filmmakers, can also be detected at the most random moments. And finally, I detected some very minor, even negligible banding in one or two scenes.
All in all, this transfer isn't a complete mess, with a majority of the presentation being more than satisfactory, but it does show some problematic concerns that keep it from being comparable to other freshly-minted releases.
Without a doubt, the clear winner on this Blu-ray release is this very engaging and exciting DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack.
Rear activity is at a near-constant with plenty of atmospherics and commotion, especially in scenes taking place on Oa. During the many action sequences, the track shows fluid, convincing movement between channels as jets zoom overhead from behind to the front or debris flies and scatters everywhere from the screen to the back of the room. Directionality is truly exhilarating in pretty much every battle scene, creating a terrifically immersive soundfield that pulls the audience right into the middle of the action. Parallax comes with an overwhelming sense of space as it smoky, thunderous tentacles spread into all the speakers.
The one minor drawback in all this is the fact these moments of mayhem also sound much louder than they really need to. Not sure if it's in the original design, but it seems as if the engineer got a bit carried away by turning up the dial just for this high-rez codec. Basically, viewers might want to keep the remote handy in case things seem over the top and loudly exaggerated.
As for the rest of the lossless mix, the front speakers deliver a captivating and spacious soundstage, creating a very theatrical and dramatic imaging that's very enjoyable. Channel separation and panning is quite persuasive and flawless, while off-screen effects sound as if in the room. Dialogue is crystal-clear and intelligible so that listeners never miss out on any of the conversations. Dynamics and acoustics are equally impressive with rich clarity and strong room-penetration. Except that when the decibels suddenly rise, some of the upper frequencies lose a bit of their lucidity and transparency. It doesn't necessarily sound distorted, but when battles erupt, some of the distinct details come off a tad muddled. The low-end, on the other hand, exhibits a powerful and commanding response that accurate and thoroughly enjoyable, making this an outstanding audio presentation.
Along with the Ultraviolet Digital Copy, the same bonus features can also be found on the DVD releasing day-and-date as the Blu-ray.
While nowhere near as bad as something like 'The Green Hornet,' Martin Campbell's 'Green Lantern' is still pretty bad and fairly disappointing in the story department. As usual, Ryan Reynolds turns up the charm and makes an otherwise floundering, second-rate character into something watchable and somewhat entertaining. But the rest of the movie, outside of Campbell's directing skills and the action sequences, is sadly lacking for a middle-of-the-road superhero flick. The Blu-ray arrives with mostly good but a bit unusual picture quality, while the audio presentation offers a wall-rattling aural experience. Supplements also brings a wealth of goodies for fans to enjoy, making the package an easy purchase for them but others will want to rent first before making any commitments.