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Green Lantern Not The Brightest Light Around Cinema Screens

Green_Lantern_Movie_Costume_002By Chauncey Telese

Hello everyone, I hope all is well, the time is 2:51 am and tonight’s keep me awake album is Arcade Fire’s “Funeral.” Again, I promised to have a review of “Beginners” and “Midnight in Paris” ready to go, but it’s been a long and stressful week so we’re stuck with “Green Lantern.” So before I begin telling you why “Green Lantern” managed to limbo underneath the extremely low bar I had set let’s cover the good things that happened this week.

The Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat and proved that teamwork, role players, and resolve trump talent every time. Dirk proved he is one of the greatest to ever play the game and while his game six wasn’t as heroic as the previous five, it didn’t have to be. Terry, Barea, Stephenson, Kidd (congrats to him for finally getting a ring as well), and even Brian Cardinal picked up the slack. My favorite moment of the series was when Dirk left the court with 1.8 seconds to go in order to have a really emotional moment. He is a class act and continued to prove it and I couldn’t be happier for someone I’ve always rooted against (but respected). I’m also glad Cuban got his championship and proved his way of doing things could work in the NBA.

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Conversely, I am disappointed in LeBron, not because he failed epically in the fourth quarter, but how he handled said failure. He never looked more arrogant and small then he did in the post-game press conference where he said God didn’t feel it was his time to win a title and that no matter what we’ll all wake up with the same life problems. You stay classy LeBron, keep not developing a post game and squandering your god-like athletic ability. If I’m Wade, I’m especially mad because he backpacked the Heat for five games and when he couldn’t do it a sixth game, LeBron or, God forbid, Bosh (who I don’t remember being in game 6 at all until he collapsed in the tunnel crying), should step up right? I’m sure the Heat will win a title eventually but it’s going to get worse every year they don’t, as well it should. I know people feel that the media is being too hard on LeBron, but he brought it on himself with each dumb decision he made in the last calendar year. Hopefully this was a major teaching moment for LeBron because now that Dirk won a title, it’s just him and Nash that are the best two players without a title right now and unlike Nash, LeBron’s window isn’t shut.

Also, congratulations to the Boston Bruins for getting the Stanley Cup, and conversely, shame on you Vancouver. I realize Canadian affection for hockey can’t be matched in America but to riot after a 4-0 game is sad. If it were a loss in overtime that’d be one thing but when there is a blowout you sort of have time to register that you lost right? Either that or Molson is a lot stronger then I thought. Oh well, good job Boston and now that they’ve won a title in all four major sports in the last decade. they can go away for awhile, I’m sick of Boston (except in movies).

Justin Timberlake admitted that he smokes pot which is like Charlie Sheen admitting he likes winning.

The national nightmare is over; no, not the fire in Arizona or the flooding in Nebraska and Iowa, but Anthony Weiner resigned. He won’t be tweeting on government time any more! Let’s see, the GOP debate happened and out of a field of many, Bachman and Romney look like the only real candidates in the bunch. My money’s on Romney to get the nomination not because he’s necessarily the most compelling, but because Bachman has a Palin-esque quality of botching US history and ignoring facts and figures while arguing about facts and figures. Also, kudos to New York for getting closer to joining Vermont, Iowa, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and (in David Patterson voice) New Jersey, in being progressive. It’s your turn, California, get with the program!

Congratulations to Matt Stone and Trey Parker not only for yet another great season of “South Park,” but their musical “The Book of Mormon” won nine Tony Awards and is a smash hit. I can’t wait until it gets to LA!

There is one episode left of Thrones and my buddy Justin and I still can’t believe they killed Ned Stark. I don’t know where the story goes from here but man, if Ned isn’t safe, then no one is. I hope Sean Bean gets some Emmy love because he did an amazing job in nine episodes of work. There isn’t a whole lot to talk about TV-wise other than that until June 26 and 27 when “True Blood” and “Weeds” start up, but that’s still a week away and “United States of Tara” airs its last episode ever on Monday (so sad to see it go).

That about covers it so let’s get to tonight’s offering and, considering this weekend is Father’s Day and the only other option is “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” I’m guessing the studio bosses don’t like their fathers.

“Green Lantern” In the Brightest Day, the Blackest Night, Keep This Movie Out of your Sight!

This movie had a lot of negativity to overcome and like LeBron in the fourth quarter, it faltered. Ever since the ComicCon issue of Entertainment Weekly last year showed what Ryan Reynolds’s suit looked like, the internet exploded with doubt. It looked over-CG’d (still does) and forced Warner Bros. to play defense on their panel at last year’s ComicCon.

The first trailer released looked terrible and at times I pulled a Stan Marsh and couldn’t differentiate the trailer from a turd in a microwave. The movie seemed doomed from the get go and then in April, when they announced that the movie which already had a budget of $150 million (not counting marketing), would add $9 million more to its visual effects budget, pessimism grew even bigger. Fortunately for Warner Bros., they’ve had a pretty good year and still have the last “Harry Potter” movie in case this tanks (it will have a good first weekend but get swallowed up by “Cars 2” next week). So as you can tell, I thought the movie sucked, but simply saying that wouldn’t be constructive so let’s break down why it sucked.

In 2008, with “Hellboy II” and “The Dark Knight,” the theme was to take comic book characters and put them into a realistic setting and handle it with the utmost maturity. The theme of superhero movies this year has been to aim for a grander scale. “Thor” had a ton of mythology to explain while simultaneously setting up “The Avengers” and “X-Men: First Class” went back to the ’60s. “Green Lantern” has to literally set up an entire universe.  Some would say this is an obscure hero, but not really, considering how many nerds and posers wear Green Lantern shirts around town but the movie treats it like it is.

The basic concept of “The Green Lantern” is that the universe was created by immortal beings who found an endless energy field made of will and that 3,600 specially-chosen beings would guard the entire universe from evil. They basically police the universe and since humans (wait, hold on, now I’m listening to Radiohead’s “Ok Computer” album), are a young species, they have never been chosen. Also, there is an alien entity known as Parallax that thrives on fear and uses it to grow in power and can destroy entire worlds. The Green Lantern Corps best warrior Abe Sapien is fatally wounded while trying to stop Parallax and crashes on Earth where he is met by his successor, Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds).

Hal Jordan is an arrogant almost Maverick-like fighter pilot who we are lead to believe is irresponsible and nowhere near as fearless as his famous father who died in a plane crash. I say ‘lead to believe’ because really, other then being late for his training exercise at Ferris Aircraft because he slept in with a hookup, we don’t know who he is. He is reckless in said training exercise and almost costs Ferris a big contract, much to the chagrin of his friend and fellow pilot Carol (a gorgeous Blake Lively) whose dad owns the company and who had a brief relationship with Hal, but he walked away (I don’t know how you turn down Blake Lively, but he did it apparently).

That all changes when Abe Sapien crashes on Earth and his Green Lantern ring chooses Hal and brings him to Abe. Hal activates the ring and is taken to Oa, the home planet of the Green Lantern Corps where he meets Sinestro (Mark Strong) who believes Hal to be unworthy, Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush), and Kilowag (Michael Clark Duncan) and they all try to teach him to use the limitless power of the ring.

Right there, that is a compelling story, because we are taken to outer space with an enemy that the Green Lantern Corps can’t figure out and that should be enough. Well, we spend way too much time on Earth with stuff that doesn’t matter, and not to get all film school on you but none of what we see on Earth is earned. For instance, the character of the human villain Dr. Hector Hammond (played by Peter Sarsgaard) isn’t really developed, so when he becomes evil by coming into contact with the piece of Parallax that killed Abe we don’t care.

The script never bothers to introduce us to Hector, which wouldn’t be a big deal, but apparently he has a rivalry with Hal over their shared affection for Carol. We don’t really learn that until they somehow fight each other in the middle of the movie. The romantic stuff with Carol doesn’t work either, because we don’t know who she is and the dialogue between the two is atrocious. Hal never really has an arc, because just as quickly as he’s arrogant then humbled he figures it out. What made “Iron Man” work is that, even though Tony Stark was given fresh perspective on his role in the world, he could still be an arrogant narcissist while upholding justice. Hal flip-flops a lot emotionally, so we never really care about him much less his mission and that really hurts the movie.

Ryan Reynolds tries as hard as he can to use his charm and likability to get us to care about Hal’s rise from arrogance to hero, but everything happens so fast that it doesn’t feel earned. Peter Sarsgaard, while usually a very talented actor, just screams a lot and just acts like a creeper and not a villain. Tim Robbins plays his dad and just sort of acts like a stereotypical movie politician, they both probably did this for the check and even if they didn’t, it looks like it. The action is for the most part boring, the dialogue is abysmal, the emotional moments aren’t that emotional and none of the story really builds to anything and feels like a half-assed superhero movie.

That isn’t to say there isn’t anything to like, the world of Oa looks amazing and all the time Hal spends there and in space is really cool and interesting. The first 20 minutes and the last 20 minutes are entertaining. Reynolds is good considering the material and surprisingly the script is self-aware as to how cheesy and bad it is at times, so I can’t outright hate it. It reminded me of my friend Andrew’s old bass player. He wasn’t reliable, never really tried to learn bass, was kind of a scumbag, and not the kind of person you could handle in large doses but what saved him from being kicked out of the band was that he was openly aware of all of these things so while you didn’t expect much from him, and you were comforted that he didn’t either.

I tried not to let the fact that I had a bad day and that my right contact lens fell out before the movie, or that I felt like I was so tired and out it all night to stop me from finding some joy but sadly,  “Green Lantern” was every bit the crapfest I thought it would be. My friend Justin agreed with me that the best thing the movie has going for it is that Blake Lively is hot, but my other friend Grant, my go-to comic book guy (and he kind of looks like Comic Book guy a little) was actually pretty pissed, so if you’re a nerd, you will be too.

All in all if you and your dad are hell-bent on seeing a movie on Father’s Day then go see “Super 8” or rent, because as far as new releases, there isn’t much for you here. The time is now 4:03 and I must sleep.

Thank you for reading and stay tuned, as next week Lightning McQueen, Mater and I do some racing in “Cars 2.” Remember you can see these and other fine films at your local Edwards.

P.S. as I said earlier, Sunday is Father’s Day and to my dad Rocco I wanted to wish a happy Father’s Day, I know you and I are like oil and water but I love you all the same.

Green Lantern Not The Brightest Light Around Cinema Screens

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