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Friday, January 13, 2012

Green Lantern


Featured Reviewer: The Hollywood Reporter


Starring: 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

Mike Doyle ... Jack Jordan

Nick Jandl ... Jim Jordan

Dylan James ... Jason Jordan

Gattlin Griffith ... Young Hal

Jon Tenney ... Martin Jordan

Leanne Cochran ... Janice Jordan

Temuera Morrison ... Abin Sur



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Synopsis: Millions of years before the Earth was formed, a group of beings called the Guardians of the Universe used the green essence of willpower to create an intergalactic police force called the Green Lantern Corps. They split the universe into 3,600 sectors, with one Green Lantern per sector. One such Green Lantern, Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) of Sector 2814, defeated the fear-essence being Parallax (voiced by Clancy Brown) and imprisoned him in the Lost Sector on the ruined planet Ryut. However, in the present day, Parallax escapes from his prison. Six months later, after killing four Green Lanterns and destroying two planets, Parallax attacks Sector 2814 and mortally wounds Abin Sur, who escapes and crash-lands on Earth. The dying Abin Sur commands his ring to find a worthy successor on the planet.

Ferris Aircraft test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is chosen by the ring and transported to the crash site, where Abin Sur appoints him a Green Lantern, by telling him to take the lantern and speak the oath. At home he says the oath of the Green Lanterns while under trance from the glow of the lantern. After he gets attacked while leaving a bar Jordan swings to punch one of his attackers, letting out a huge fist of green energy, afterwards Jordan is whisked away to the Green Lantern Corps home planet of Oa, where he meets and trains with Tomar-Re (voiced by Geoffrey Rush) and Kilowog (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan). He encounters Corps leader Sinestro (Mark Strong), who is not pleased that a human which is primitive compared to other species has become a Green Lantern. With Sinestro seeing him as unfit and fearful, Jordan quits and returns to Earth, keeping the power ring and lantern.

Meanwhile, after being summoned by his father Senator Robert Hammond (Tim Robbins) to a secret government facility, scientist Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) performs an autopsy on Abin Sur's body. A piece of Parallax inside the corpse inserts itself inside Hammond, mutating the scientist and giving him telepathy and telekinetic powers, at the cost of his sanity. After discovering that he was only chosen due to his father's influence, Hammond resentfully attempts to kill his father by telekinetically sabotaging his helicopter at a party. However, Jordan uses his ring to save the senator and the party guests, including his childhood sweetheart, Ferris manager and fellow test pilot Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), who later recognizes Jordan under the suit and mask. Shortly afterward, Jordan encounters Hammond, who succeeds in his second attempt to kill his father by burning him alive. Both Jordan and Hammond realize Parallax is on his way to Earth.

Back on Oa, the Guardians tell Sinestro that Parallax was once one of their own, until he desired to control the yellow essence of fear, only to become the embodiment of fear itself. Believing the only means to fight fear is by fear itself, Sinestro requests for the Guardians to forge a ring of the same yellow power, preparing to concede Earth's destruction to Parallax in order to protect Oa. However, Jordan appears and tells Sinestro not to use the yellow ring and for the Corps to help him protect his planet from Parallax's imminent invasion. They deny his request, but allow Jordan to return and protect his home planet.

Upon returning to Earth, Jordan saves Ferris from being injected with Parallax's essence by Hammond. Parallax then arrives, consuming Hector's life force for failing to kill Jordan, and then wreaking havoc on Coast City. Jordan lures Parallax away from Earth and toward the Sun, using the Sun's gravity to pull and disintegrate the entity. He loses consciousness after the battle, but is saved by Sinestro, Kilowog, and Tomar-Re. Later the entire Green Lantern Corps congratulates him for his bravery. Sinestro tells Jordan he now bears the responsibility of protecting his sector as a Green Lantern. Sometime later when he is alone, Sinestro, still in possession of the yellow ring, places it on his finger, causing his green suit to change to yellow along with his eyes.

Review: by: The Hollywood Reporter
The latest superhero movie, Warner Bros.' reinterpretation of the comic book character, stars Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Peter Sarsgaard.
At least for some members of the public, Green Lantern will prompt the question of how many more comics-based superheroes with awesome powers and responsibilities we really need. Dramatically tart in certain scenes but more often just spinning its wheels doing variations on similar moments from previous episodes in the lives of likewise endowed relatives in the DC and Marvel universes, Warner Bros.' attempt to launch a major new fantasy action hero franchise serves up all the requisite elements with enough self-deprecating humor to suggest it doesn't take itself too seriously. But familiarity may begin to breed creeping signs of contempt, if not in immediate negative box office results then in a general fatigue with such enterprises that's bound to set in sooner or later.

Known to multiple generations of comic book fans through various incarnations that have sprung up since 1940, Green Lantern possesses powers that would be the envy of many another hero, including virtually infinite strength to unleash and ward off destruction, as well as the ability to propel himself quickly into the deep reaches of space and back. He's also accoutered in a uniform distinctly less cool than Batman's and less emblematic than Superman's, a skin-tight green affair with a matching mask that, here at least, he can remove simply by wishing it away when his girlfriend prefers to look him in the eyes without laughing. Simply put, it's an outfit you really can't get away with unless you're as good looking as Ryan Reynolds.

Not uncharacteristically, the future Green Lantern suffered a terrible tragedy in his youth; his beloved test pilot father went up in flames before his very eyes. Courting the same fate himself, little Hal Jordan also grew up to become a dauntless airman, a mad daredevil whose abiding policy with both plane crashes and with women is to be able to walk away from them. Twice burned in this regard has been Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), a fellow flier and aviation heiress who nonetheless has eyes only for the reckless cad.

But it's for his apparent lack of fear that Hal is chosen by the guardians of an ancient and very distant civilization to join the ultra-elite Green Lantern Corps., a group so exclusive that no human has ever before been invited into it. The script by the quartet of Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldberg is heavy on exposition, for the benefit of the uncomprehending Hal as well as for the audience, which cannot be expected to know much about this second-tier DC figure.

In fact, the backdrop is not uninteresting. The universe, according to this gospel, is made up of 3,600 sectors, with the oldest and most advanced is to be found on Oa, an intergalactic outpost where wrinkled, Yoda-like sages have long reigned over a select group of diverse aliens dedicated to boldly repulsing evil wherever it asserts itself.

But when a renegade Corps leader decides to embrace fear and become the arch-villain Parallax (the boom-boxy voice of Clancy Brown), humanity is alerted by the arrival on Earth of emissary Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), a purple-skinned fellow who, before expiring, passes off his green ring and empowering lantern to the unsuspecting Hal. He's a reluctant hero, to be sure, who, after a rough training mission to Oa, is only convinced to take up the cause against the imminent Parallax by the immensely impressed Carol.

Not quite doing for an untested superhero what he did for James Bond in Casino Royale, director Martin Campbell seems to most relish the amusing character of Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), a brilliant nerdy scientist enlisted by the government to examine Abin Sur's corpse. Thrilled by the privilege, he is unwittingly contaminated by the exposure and quickly transformed into a mind-reading Elephant Man lookalike with a zealous propensity for the dark side and a score to settle with his bigshot politician dad (Tim Robbins). Sarsgaard has great fun with the role in a performance that increasingly seems like a sly imitation of John Malkovich at his most arch.



But the real threat is Parallax, who eventually attacks Earth in the visually disarming form of a billowing, shape-changing, fire-breathing, octopus-like brown cloud. Faced with such an opponent, Hal packs away his misgivings once and for all to embrace his new powers and cleverly lure Parallax to the one place that might doom him.

To be sure, there is enough going on here to keep fans' 3D glasses glued to their heads: In Oa, there is a whole new planet to explore (even if parts of it disconcertingly resemble a darker version of the ugly set for How the Grinch Stole Christmas), the actors are mostly well cast and effective enough and the action comes on frequently, if not always convincingly; the hero's way of rescuing a large outdoor gathering from an out-of-control helicopter looks hokey and Carol's last-second saving the day in a climactic emergency is flat-out ridiculous.

Now more than ever resembling the circa 1965 Warren Beatty, Reynolds passes muster as a bad boy with greatness thrust upon him and future installments, should they follow, will not need to indulge his prolonged vacillations about accepting his new role in life. And speaking of sequels, an end credits insert plainly reveals which noble character becomes a villain in the next episode.


 

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