Thursday, June 23, 2011

Green Lantern

Directed by Martin Campbell, Warner Bros. Pictures, 2011. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Mark Strong and Peter Sarsgaard.

Genre: Action, Crime, Sci-Fi, Thriller.

Question: Have you ever heard the expression: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade? I always thought that was good expression, but I ignored it when I was younger. I had piles of lemons rotting in the corners everywhere. It took a serious wake-up call - my health - to give me the proper recipe to not let the bad stuff get me down - even the details in my past don't bother me anymore. Now I make great lemonade even when lemons are coming at me at warp speed.

Unfortunately, many people ignore the lemonade advice and allow bad things, especially their past, dictate how they react in the present.  But if you have the will and the ability to not let fear rule your life - you will survive - and survive big time! That is the lesson Green Lantern taught. What a great concept!!

However, I am not sure the target demographic will catch the life lesson, but I applaud the story tellers anyway. I asked my son what the moral was in Green Lantern - he said "That superheros are cool?!" Who could blame him for that answer? Unfortunately, Green Lantern was not my favorite comic book summer movie. I think they missed a good opportunity to tell a more cohesive story to go along with the great message.

First, let me say I thought Ryan Reynolds was good casting for Green Lantern - according the previews and this time I did watch them, they showed what I like about him: his sarcastic delivery. He might be the best at it. When I saw Blade: Trinity  (Don't knock me - it was good and I love vampire stories), he was brilliant in it. But in Green Lantern they failed at letting him shine at what he does best. What a shame. It started out with a few good lines but as the story progressed - nada.

The special effects were pretty good, but, and I am probably in minority here, when there are complete CGI scenes as compared with slight use of it, they lose me. It happened in Thor and it happened here. I can't put my finger on why it bothers me. Perhaps it could be the lack of real, tangible objects that throws me off. However, the make-up for certain characters was phenomenal! Specifically Mark Strong's and Peter Sarsgaad's characters' make-up were exceptional.

Speaking of Peter Sarsgaard, big fan here, I found it perplexing when I saw him cast in this movie. Not that I didn't think he could perform well. He is one the best indie movie actors we have but this wasn't his normal project. He did a fantastic job, of course, and he had one the best lines in the entire movie -- I would recommend seeing it for just that scene. Awesome! I just wish it had more of that. Even his character didn't seem fully developed or written well into the story.

Then there is Blake Lively, great name, but lively was not her performance. I have seen her in a few movies and even reviewed a couple (The Town and The Private Lives of Pippa Lee) and I thought she did a great job in both. In Green Lantern she was sorely miscast. She tries to portray a tough, no-nonsense, fighter pilot/business woman who is the love interest for Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds). I didn't buy it. Plus, I saw no chemistry between the two of them. Oh well. She does have one scene where I liked her. Let's just say she points out the obvious to something and I thought it was awesome!

Another actor in Green Lantern deserves mentioning: Mark Strong. Oprah or Ellen once said Anthony Hopkins could read the phone book and they would swoon. Well, Mark Strong may become the next telephone book reader for this generation. You will not recognize him as Sinestro but you will when he speaks. When he opens his mouth I knew immediately was him.  He usually plays the villain (Sherlock Holmes, Kick-Ass, and Stardust) but here he is the leader of the intergalactic squadron.

I suppose I should have admitted this earlier - I didn't read this comic book growing up and I don't know if this story was accurate to the origin. The moral is great and I recommend parents take their kids to see it. They may not get it at first, but I know they will watch it over and over for the cool fighting scenes and creatures. So there is hope that they will eventually get it.

Hint: Stay through the credits.

My favorite part: The one line Peter Sarsgaard says - it really was perfect delivery.

My least favorite part: I would have to say Blake Lively.

Rating: PG-13
Length: 105 minutes

Review: 4 out of 10 (My son gave it a 10 out of 10)

Random thought: If you have not seen Peter Sarsgaard's other movies, let me recommend a few: Boys Don't Cry, Shattered Glass and Garden State. There are many more but start with those. He really is one of the best around, and I hope this movie allows him the freedom to go for juicier blockbusters. I will view them just to see his performances.

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