Green Lantern (Three Disc Blu-Ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) – Available October 14, 2011
by Aaron Einhorn
Green Lantern had a tough challenge ahead of it this year. It was right in the middle of a Marvel-dominated summer that included critically loved (and fan appreciated) films such as Thor, X-Men: First Class and later on Captain America: The First Avenger. It was preceded by the very well done animated Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, and it had to overcome the challenge of casting Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan – when most fans had been clamoring to see Reynolds play Wally West, The Flash.
Well, the film hit the theatres, and left, and didn’t do much to change opinions going in. Some people liked it, some hated it, some were indifferent. You can read Diane’s review of the film here. In any case, it came and went from the theatres, and this Friday it makes it’s bow on DVD and Blu-Ray. We were fortunate enough to get our hands on the Green Lantern (Three Disc Blu-Ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) set for review, and after devouring the set, here are our thoughts.
In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, an elite, powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. Warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him the ability to create anything his mind can imagine. But when a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan (Reynolds).
Hal is a gifted and cocky test pilot, but the Green Lanterns have little respect for humans, who have never harnessed the infinite powers of the ring before. But Hal’s humanity is one weapon no member of the Corps has ever had, and if – with willpower, determination and the encouragement of fellow pilot and childhood sweetheart Carol Ferris (Lively) – Hal can quickly master his new powers and find the courage to overcome his fears, he may prove to be not only the key to defeating Parallax… he will save the Earth and all of mankind from certain destruction.
Buy It 10/14 on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack with UltraViolet Digital Copy or Download to Own
The official synopsis does a pretty good job of filling you in on the plot. Hal Jordan, as played by Reynolds, is a general screw-up but an excellent pilot. After alienating his family, his potential love interest and his job, he is chosen to wield the Green Lantern ring when Abin Sur dies on Earth. Sur is being pursued by Parallax, and a bit of Parallax transforms Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) into a telepathic, telekinetic monster. After being taken to Oa to learn about being a Lantern, where he meets fan-favorite Lanterns Sinestro (Mark Strong), Kilowog (voiced by Michael Clark Duncan) and Tomar Re (voiced by Geoffrey Rush), Jordan returns to Earth, fights Hammond, defeats Parallax, and gets the girl (Blake Lively).
It’s a very by-the-numbers film, but when dealing with this many out-there concepts, it almost had to be. The mythology of the Green Lantern universe is vast, and translating that down into a film is a daunting task. It would have been much easier had Director Martin Campbell played it safe and kept the film on Earth, and for that I give him credit. Instead, the riskier route of putting much of the action in space and on Oa was taken, and the film is richer – although more predictable – as a result.
The supporting cast is killer. Strong, Duncan and Rush are perfect as the three alien Lanterns, and in particular you can see how Sinestro will make the bad choices we know are ahead of him. Lively is competent as Carol Ferris, but rarely given enough to do. Sarsgaard does a great job as Hammond, and makes you both despise him and feel sympathy for him, and all in all, the rest of the supporting roles work great.
The problem, of course, is Reynolds himself. The first is an acting issue, and the second is an effects-driven one. We’ll deal with the acting first. Reynolds is likeable, good looking and quippy. These are all great qualities in an actor, but they make for an odd Hal Jordan. Jordan is many things, but quippy isn’t one of them, and that element of the film felt a little off to me. I could have accepted it, but the bigger problem is that Jordan is shown as a guy who had potential and promise, but who has wasted much of it and is just too immature. The problem, at least as a viewer in my mid-thirties, is that Reynolds and Lively just aren’t old enough for that to ring true. Reynolds looks like a young guy, and it’s hard to say “Wow, so much wasted potential” when looking at him. That makes the conflict and turn-around of the character feel off.
The effects-driven problem is one that has been much discussed, and we won’t go into it too much farther. But the CGI mask and costume look awful.
There are also some real issues with the Sinestro stinger at the end. Fans of the comics know it’s coming, but it feels rushed and unexplained, and fails the logic test.
Green Lantern is a fun film, and it’s one I can easily rewatch, but it is ultimately forgettable in many ways, and considering my love for the character, I find that somewhat inexcusable.
When you load the DVD up, you immediately get trailers for Green Lantern: The Animated Series, the Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters video game, and DC’s New 52. Diving in to the bonus features, there is a longer preview for Green Lantern: The Animated Series. The preview bounces around enough to give a hint as to the plot of the series without revealing too many spoilers.
Additionally, there’s a digital copy of Justice League #1 – not a lot to say here, although it is nice that the HD qualities from the Blu-Ray actually make included digital comics viable.
We then move in to the real meat of the bonus features. First we have two featurettes “Ryan Reynolds Becomes the Green Lantern” and “The Universe According to Green Lantern.” The later is a history of Green Lantern and how he was recreated in the Silver Age, and how he has evolved into the present. It has Dan DiDio, Geoff Johns, Eddie Berganza, Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, Ethan Van Sciver, Dennis O’Neil and more each reflecting on Hal Jordan and how the current status quo of the Emotional Spectrum developed. It may not be of much interest to film fans, but comic fans should love it. “Ryan Reynolds Becomes the Green Lantern” is a much more typical behind-the-scenes look, but is still fun and should give Ryan Reynolds fans some joy.
There are a number of mini-featurettes viewable either within the film using “Maximum Movie Mode” or individually from the menu. This is all fairly typical fare, looks at how the costume was remade, how the Guardians were redesigned, etc.
The deleted scenes can be viewed within the film as the extended cut, and can also be watched outside of the film. Annoyingly, you can’t select between them from the menu. As is often the case here, deleted scenes are a mixed bag. Sometimes they’re great, sometimes they have fan-service moments that just didn’t fit into the film. And usually you can see why they were cut.
The Digital Copy this time around comes from Ultraviolet, which allows instant streaming, in addition to download. It’s a switch up from the reliance on iTunes, but sadly one I couldn’t review in advance since the download is disabled until the street release of this set.
Finally, we have a nice little bonus for PS3 owners who plan to get Batman: Arkham City. Included with this set, you get a code to give Batman his Sinestro Corps uniform in the game. Silly as a bonus, sure, but something that plenty of fans will get a kick out of.
Although the home video transfer didn’t do any favors for Ryan Reynolds’ CGI mask, the film looks just as gorgeous in HD as it did in the theatres. The ring effects are generally solid, Hammond’s transformation is surprisingly effective and horrendous, and the film is shot in lush colors.
Green Lantern is a fun film that, as long as you don’t take it too seriously, is more than capable of entertaining. A strong supporting cast makes this a film that can easily be rewatched.
Ryan Reynolds isn’t a bad actor. He’s fun to watch, and is great in many roles. Sadly, Hal Jordan just isn’t one of them.
The CGI mask and costume, while great in theory, never quite work. It’s one small effect among many, but it’s one we have to see a lot of. Bad call.
Fan reception for Green Lantern was divided, and if you didn’t enjoy the film in the theatre, than nothing found on the Green Lantern (Three Disc Blu-Ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) set is going to change your mind. The extended cut is a little more enjoyable than the theatrical, but it isn’t a game-changer. That said, the bonuses included here do add to the enjoyment of the film, and I can’t imagine that any Green Lantern fan will be completely unhappy with the package.
You can order Green Lantern (Three Disc Blu-Ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) by clicking on the link to Amazon, or you can order through Comic Hero News at our online store.