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Green Lantern 3D(2011)
A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.
For more about Green Lantern 3D and the Green Lantern 3D Blu-ray release, see Green Lantern 3D Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on October 5, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Mark Strong, Geoffrey Rush, Blake Lively, Clancy Brown, Peter Sarsgaard
Director: Martin Campbell
» See full cast & crew
Green Lantern 3D Blu-ray Review
In darkest 3D day, in blackest 3D night, a few too many things shall escape my sight...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, October 5, 2011
As if being a box office disappointment and a critical flop weren't bad enough -- Or should that be a box office flop and a critical disappointment? It's strange labeling a $200 million worldwide take a flop or a disappointment, and yet it was both -- Green Lantern left film fans and comic geeks cold. And, for once, a comicbook adaptation alienated moviegoers of all stripes for the same reasons, regardless of how familiar they were with DC Comics' space-faring saga. Where to begin? Director Martin Campbell's interstellar superhero actioner is too slow, too uneventful, too melodramatic, too anticlimactic, and offers too little too late. More? Its casting is riddled with odd choices and poor picks, its superpower showcases and superpowered showdowns are dull and CG-driven, its attachment to Earth infuriating, its performances clunky and inconsistent, its tone too disjointed, its hero too shallow, its fourth tier human villains too cheesy, its planet-chomping alien menace too cartoonish, and its true Big Bad relegated to the bench until an end-credits sequence calls him in for a sequel that might not ever come to fruition. Long story short? Green Lantern has high aspirations but never quite gets off the ground.
After a convoluted prologue of sorts fails to make the green essence of willpower all that awe-inspiring or the yellow essence of fear all that frightening, Green Lantern unleashes the Ender of Worlds to top all Enders of Worlds: Parallax (Clancy Brown)... a smoky space cloud with tentacles and a giant face. (Pause for unintended laughter.) After a fair amount of further exposition, we're introduced to death-defying top gun Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a hotshot test pilot who lives to break the rules, even if it rubs fellow pilot and ex-flame Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) the wrong way. Soon enough, though, Hal is forced to grow up and face his deep-seated fear when a wounded alien warrior named Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) crashes to Earth. Before Abin Sur dies, the will-harnessing power ring in his possession chooses Hal as Sur's successor, making the less-than-enthused pilot the first human representative in the Green Lantern Corps. (For those not in the know, the Green Lantern Corps is an interstellar peace-keeping organization established by an ancient race of beings called the Guardians of the Universe. There are 3600 sectors in the known universe, 3600 Green Lanterns, and 3600 sentient power rings in existence. Each ring chooses its owner, seeking out the most worthy candidate if and when its current owner is killed or gravely injured in the line of duty.) Before you can say "brightest day and blackest night" (actually, after you have time to say it at least three-hundred times), Hal is whisked off to the planet of Oa to be inducted into the Green Lantern Corps. There, he receives rudimentary training from three veteran Lanterns -- Kilowog (Michael Clarke Duncan), Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush) and Sinestro (Mark Strong) -- but quits the moment the going gets tough, returning to Earth like a pouting child. Of course, it isn't long before Parallax, power-hungry outcast Dr. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), corrupt senator Robert Hammond (Tim Robbins) and shady government agent Dr. Amanda Waller (Angela Bassett) require the down-on-his-luck Corps rookie to save Earth from destruction.
Whew. If it sounds like there's a lot going on in Green Lantern, that's because there is. And yet, somehow, there isn't. Despite all the subplots, despite all the double, triple and criss-crosses, despite having two or more planets to explore, Campbell's Earthbound misfire has all the depth and dimension of its 3D presentation. Which is to say: not much at all. The plot is in a constant state of perpetual motion, but it doesn't move anywhere or anything, and it certainly isn't going to move anyone. More distressingly, Lantern's heroes and villains are as flat and two-dimensional as its story. Hal Jordan, Abin Sur, Kilowog, Sinestro, Tomar-Re... each classic comic character leaps off the pages of "Green Lantern," comes to life in animated features like First Flight and Emerald Knights, and has the potential to be unforgettable on the big screen. But with Campbell and his squad of writers at the helm, each Lantern and monstrosity is underdeveloped, under-realized and underutilized. (Yep, even Jordan, whose arc consists of dealing with his father's death and, well, dealing with his father's death.) It doesn't help that the trickier elements of the Green Lantern universe -- fists and baseball bats being crafted out of green light, star-flung police officers punching and swatting inhuman monsters, a hero who disguises his face with a sliver of a mask, and an 3600-strong army of bizarre alien creatures that make the Mos Eisley Cantina regulars look like models at an L.A. casting call -- come off as silly, corny or both. (Campbell's task was admittedly a difficult one, but not impossible.) Comic fans will naturally be more forgiving, albeit only to a point and only insofar as their own will allows. Reynold's CG suit fails, Hal's use of a massive green racetrack to save senator Hammond and his guests is as ridiculous as you might imagine, CG beasties Kilowog and Tomar-Re never feel like meat-and-bone characters, Parallax is one of the most unintimidating villains to rear its head in a superhero adaptation (his comicbook form is much more unsettling), and the culmination of Hal Jordan's powers is... a pair of green fighter jets chained to his back? Hrm.
What works? Not very much by my estimation. Strong stands out despite his truncated appearances and delivers an impassioned, dare I say nuanced performance, Rush and Brown's voicework is spot on, Reynolds does his best with a hit-or-miss screenplay, the Guardians of the Universe succeed on every level (in spite of a few details that will leave comicbook purists grumbling) and Jordan's training, short and insufficient as it may be, is a great set piece that provides visual, thematic and character-driven thrills aplenty. Sadly, that's about it. Sarsgaard, Robbins and Bassett ham it up to such heights that they nearly bring the film crashing down; Lively tries, and tries hard, but remains out of her element, out of her comfort zone and out of her league; Kilowog is wasted thanks to an uninteresting design and mashed-potatoes voicework; and, even with a whole universe to explore, Campbell and his screenwriters seem convinced that audiences won't relate to a story that doesn't take place on Earth, won't connect with characters who aren't human, and won't root for more than one hero. Why adapt "Green Lantern" if you aren't going to spend time tearing through the cosmos or teaming Hal with all the characters that make the comicbook the fan-favorite that it is? First Flight tossed Jordan into the far reaches of space, mixed in a healthy homage to The Shield, and came away all the better for it. Thor juggled Earth and Asgard brilliantly. No, it wasn't the Nine Realms epic it's sequel is purportedly set to be, but Branagh followed the story wherever it took him; Campbell, by contrast, seems desperate to get away from Oa as quickly as he can, concocting any and every excuse necessary to keep Hal stuck in Earth's orbit. It's everything a Green Lantern film shouldn't be, truth be told, and it pays the price accordingly. Here's hoping Green Lantern 2, if it gets the green light, unshackles Hal, hands over the keys to the heavens, and sends DC's Emerald Knight in a cross-universe battle with someone more befitting his attention. Some like Strong's Sinestro, who I suspect would have made the series' first film a more intense and fascinating cinematic introduction to the Green Lantern Corps.
Green Lantern 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
Another day, another poorly implemented 3D conversion. When will studios realize that dark, dreary imagery doesn't translate to 3D very well? When will they start converting only those films that dramatically benefit from the process? Green Lantern 3D boasts the same highs and tumbles with the same lows as its 2D counterpart. But with the added veil of 3D glasses, a diminished degree of depth and dimensionality, and some of the flattest 3D imagery to hobble onto Blu-ray this year, it's much more uneven and, in my humble opinion, disappointing. Surprisingly, sequences involving the most visual effects are the most two-dimensional, while the film's practical photography exhibits the most measurable pop. Very little ever jets off the screen, even when giant fists fly, vivid energy blasts erupt, planes hurtle toward the viewer, villains toss helpless heroes across city blocks, alien ships crash to Earth, or when Campbell's cameras explore Oa. No, the best 3D bits involve closeups of Sinestro, passing shots of Hal Jordan, the well-lit Abin Sur autopsy set and other "real" elements. Kilowog looms but doesn't tower, Tomar-Re stands out but doesn't leap off the screen, the Guardians scowl but retreat into the shadows, and Parallax fills the screen to such an extent that dimension is moot. (There are some nice shots toward the end of the film as Hal and Parallax battle it out near the sun, but the bulbous beastie doesn't leave much of an impression elsewhere.) It doesn't help that the detail-stamping shadows, heavy contrast leveling and (inherent) DNR that plagued the 2D presentation are only exacerbated here. Pardon the potential overstatement, but a handful of shots in Green Lantern 3D are downright unwatchable.
Even when simpler 3D shots succeed, the resulting 3D effect doesn't stack up as well as it could. I constantly found myself wondering why Green Lantern was converted in the first place, much less released, as is, for 3D home viewing. Surging green light should open up the image; instead, it flattens it more. Sprawling planets should stretch into the distance; instead, both Oa and Earth settle for far less. Hal Jordan should shoot out of the screen; instead, he shoots up, across, down, at an angle... everywhere but out. Even when he launches himself at the viewer, it rarely seems as if he's capable of breaking through the divide. Explosions should balloon and glowing creations of will should blossom; instead, they hang in mid-air without pushing forward all that much. Jordan's brief training and first major battle with Hector features some of the more convincing 3D found on the disc, but for all the brick-wall playfulness, swashbuckling fun and flame-thrower flash and sizzle, these scenes still don't hold a candle, 3D or otherwise, to the best 3D sequences I've had the pleasure of viewing. It's strange. The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, two hand-drawn catalog films fresh from the Disney Vault, offer infinitely more 3D punch and pizazz than Green Lantern 3D. Who would have thought? And yet here we are. Is Green Lantern 3D a complete failure? Not quite. There's very little ghosting or crosstalk, no major artifacting or aliasing, and just enough decent-looking shots and scenes to render Warner's 3D transfer a so-so bonus feature; one worth the four-dollar difference in price. More often than not, though, the 3D presentation crashes and burns, particularly in comparison to other recent 3D releases. My advice? Save your hard-earned 3D dollars for more deserving 3D releases.
Green Lantern 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Ah, this is more like it. While Green Lantern's visuals are trapped in a maddening free fall, Warner's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track kicks on the afterburner and roars overhead. Dialogue is clean, well-grounded and intelligible throughout (minus a few lines dwarfed by mid-battle chaos) and sound effects, be they down-to-Earth or powered-by-will, remain crystal clear from start to finish. Explosions, minigun fire, Kilowog punches, jet engines, toppling buildings and burning stars take full advantage of the LFE channel, and dynamics lend power and presence to an already engrossing soundscape. The rear speakers are responsible for plenty of sonic flash and flair as well. Alien warriors rocket past, energy blasts streak across space, Parallax billows and fills the soundfield, and every intergalactic hotspot and Earthbound locale is nice and immersive. (Even though Lantern's distant planets seem to be slightly more enveloping than our own. I suppose Campbell has more to play with when he's off-world, brief as those opportunities may be.) If the film's transfer came to life with the same vividness and tenacity as Warner's lossless mix, this would be an entirely different review. Ah well, one-half of an outstanding AV presentation is better than nothing I suppose.
Green Lantern 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Green Lantern 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
If Green Lantern worked for you and a purchase is in order, its standard 2D Blu-ray release may be more to your liking. Unless you're an unremitting 3D diehard, Lantern's 3D image is too flat and two-dimensional to bring much to the 3D table. Even Thor 3D fares better, and the God of Thunder's 3D presentation is merely average. That said, Green Lantern's 3D release is a whopping four dollars more than its 2D counterpart, and it offers the same extended and theatrical cuts (even though the theatrical cut is the only one to appear in 3D), the same decent (but problematic) 2D transfer, the same excellent DTS-HD Master Audio track, and the same generous suite of bonus materials. For four dollars more, fans can nab three versions of the film rather than two, making the 3D release, mediocre 3D presentation and all, the wise consumer's choice.
Green Lantern: Other Editions
Green Lantern 3D Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Green Lantern Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D (Updated) - August 25, 2011
Warner Bros. has detailed the release of the their 2011 summer superhero flick Green Lantern. The film, which stars Ryan Reynolds, will be available in both 3D and standard Blu-ray combo packs which have been priced at $40.99 and $35.99 respectively. A release ...
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