Tuesday, 23 November 2010

In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night...

By now, if you're reading this particular blog, chances are you've seen the Green Lantern movie trailer. I've watched it a few times now, and thought it only right that I chime in with my two cents, given he's one of my favourite characters. The thing is, the more I watch it, the less I like it, and it's not down to any one story element or character issue that the trailer raises, but rather, the look of the film.

Now, I'm not one of those who thinks that effects are the be all and end all of a movie. Far from it. I can quite happily sit through a film with only average effects if the storyline keeps me hooked. Or a shit film with shit effects if it's one of those shit films which is also AWESOME!!!! But I digress. The problem is, the effects in Green Lantern, as they are right now, look awful. The alien characters, many of whom could've been done as prosthetics, seem to have been augmented with CGI, and it looks wrong. I understand the need for Kilowog to be a CGI creation. I mean, look at him.

But why do it with Abin Sur or Sinestro when some pink face paint would work just as well?

It doesn't make sense. The ring effects also look wrong, though I understand that's harder to nail down as everyone will have a different idea about how these should look in action. That said, the Justice League cartoon got it pretty right, so maybe the production team should look here for inspiration?

The worst part though is the costume. When the initial pictures were released, it looked bad. We knew all along the Green Lantern uniform was going to be a CGI creation. For some reason. And the pictures didn't inspire confidence. I chose to give it the benefit of the doubt though. Perhaps, in motion, it might look quite good? It doesn't. I get what they're trying to do. The uniform is a creation of the ring, so they've tried to make it look like it's made of energy. But it's really not working. The Green Lantern uniform is, for my money, one of the best superhero costumes out there. To see it ruined like this, creating one of the worst looking superhero costumes on film since the Batsuit gained nipples... It doesn't bode well.

What I will defend, however, is Ryan Reynold's portrayal of Hal Jordan. A lot of people are complaining that he's playing him as too cocky and light hearted, but ya know what, Hal Jordan is cocky and light hearted! He's a devil may care test pilot with a huge streak of arrogance running through him. There have been comparisons with the Iron Man film, with some people saying that this is the tone the producers are going for. Ignoring the tone of the films themselves, it's actually quite apt to compare Hal Jordan with Tony Stark. Hal may not have Tony's millions, and was never as big a prick as Stark was when he started out, but he does share Stark's immense levels of self belief and eye for the ladies. Hal has mellowed in recent years in the comics (which, given events, is only natural), but as far as the trailer shows us, Ryan Reynolds performance is pretty perfect for the younger, inexperienced and, importantly, fearless Hal Jordan who first became Green Lantern.

The trailer hasn't shown us much of the villains to judge their performances, or given away a huge amount of the storyline, so we don't have much to go on, but to be honest, I'm a little worried about this. The aforementioned tone, yes, does seem to have been influenced by Iron Man, which, despite the character similarities, just won't work for Green Lantern. And those effects... They need to be cleaned up if they want people to believe them. They have time to do so, but I can't help but think it's not going to be enough.

Fingers crossed, this will all turn out okay. The involvement of Geoff Johns, who has written some of the best Green Lantern comics ever, is reason to think they might pull this off, as is the fact that it's directed by Martin Campbell, who so successfully revitalised Bond in Casino Royale. But for now, we're just going to have to wait and see whether the Green Lantern film is cinemas Brightest Day, or its Blackest Night.


  1. Great comments, Paddy, and for the most part I totally agree. Couple of niggling points:

    Abin sure appears to be prosthetics and make-up actually. It's why he (and Hector Hammond) are the only good looking effects in the trailer.

    I would argue that the Hal Jordan of the film seems to have a struggle with fear, as Carol Ferris has to tell him to rise above it. Of course, in the comics Hal was once affected by fear, which led to Parallax controlling him (and given that Parallax is confirmed as in the film, this could well be touched on). But he certainly doesn't seem fearless in this trailer. Cocky, sure, but not necessarily fearless.

    The suit I agree is the worst offence. I mean, that mask...it looks bad, it looks obviously not really there, and somehow even makes him look like a bad guy. Plus, obviously the idea behind a CGI suit is to tie it in as a creation of the ring; so why does it look organic? Someone pointed out to me that it looks very much like the Spawn costume from the film.

    As for Kilowog...I would loved to have seen him as a massive animatronic myself. I mean, CGI in action sequences sure, but that snippet of him in the trailer...would have looked so much better as a Jurassic Park-style animatronic.

  2. I could be wrong, but Abin Sur did look like prosthetics augmented with CGI to me, and just looked bad.