Thursday, June 30, 2011
GROAN LANTERN (Outta the way, MAD Magazine!)
Man, oh man. I did not want Green Lantern to be my next review. Tree Of Life is out, right? And yet, there I sat, shelling out $123.64 to see a movie that I could've cared less about. It was a result of peer-pressure. The pressure stemmed from having spare time, and was standing in a movie theater lobby with a friend who had already seen Super 8. Our choice was either a movie about fighting robots starring Indy Jones Jr., Mad Men: X-Men Edition, or a documentary about turtles. SUMMERTIME! We literally looked at each other, shrugged, and said: "Green Lantern"? And judging from what I saw onscreen, that was how the producers decided to make this movie!
I was never into Green Lantern, as I find his power as confusing as I do sort of lame: The hero has a ring that is green, because it's made out of Willpower, which is green, duh. He also has a lantern made out of the same material, and he needs the lantern to charge the ring up, for reasons I don't totally get. Like, the lantern holds a power supply, fine, but it's not like it's a HUGE lantern, or that it plugs into anything, so if it is endlessly self-sufficient, power-wise, why wouldn't the ring power itself as well? I guess you couldn't just call him "Green Ring", that sounds like a problem you would have with your bathtub. So he has this ring, and whatever he can imagine will be created by the ring. But if he doesn't imagine it hard enough, then it won't be very strong? UH-OH BETTER CALL IN THIS GUY!
What is Green Lantern's biggest enemy? FEAR! Fear is the enemy of Willpower, I guess, and fear's color is yellow, so green is enemy of yellow. But did you know green is partially made up of yellow? It's true, I went to art school for five years. (Five!) So, is Willpower partially fear? Also, when you fight yellow stuff with green stuff, it seems to hurt it physically, so is all this "stuff" solid matter, or a spiritual force? I DON'T CARE IF THERE IS A MILLION DIFFERENT COMICS THAT WILL TRY TO EXPLAIN THIS, I'M WATCHING ONE MOVIE. If I want a movie that makes no sense out of context to the book, I'll watch Dune, because at least it has Sting in a hilarious codpiece.
If you are a regular reader of my reviews, you know that I can joke around with a movie that I actually like. "Joke joke joke. Nah, just kidding, you're okay." I'm like a terrible, insulting friend to those movies! Not this one. How can you make a movie about a hero that can create literally anything, who gets his training in OUTER SPACE so boring?
Ryan Reynolds plays a fighter pilot who, we are told 5,000 times, is the best. He is also a reckless risk-taker. I would think that those two things would go hand in hand, but I will fully admit, I am not a pilot! His super-hot girl co-pilot thinks he is taking too many chances. She is so mad at him for being late to plane-flying, that she refuses to be his girlfriend until the last ten minutes of the movie!
So Ryan Reynolds ends up crashing a plane, because he remembers how his hotshot pilot dad crashed a plane? His freak-out is triggered by the photo he has of his dad IN THE COCKPIT WITH HIM. We see a flashback of baby Green Lantern seeing the whole thing go down, (although he could just be remembering a scene from Top Gun) and he looks about nine years old. Now, I realize that you would never totally get over a traumatic event like that, but Reynolds has apparently gotten over it to the point that he grew up to be a pilot, so how hair-trigger can he be?
In any event, he loses his job, and goes to the local pilot bar for a drink, where they keep the EXACT SAME PHOTO of his father behind the bar. Was his dad just handing out headshots to everyone? ("Which look do I choose, smiling with teeth or no teeth?" - G. Lantern's dad, R.I.P.)
As he leaves the bar, he gets beat up in the parking lot, but fights back with his newfound Green Lantern powers.
Oh, did I forget to mention that a dying alien crash-landed on earth, gave the lantern and ring to Reynolds, told him that he was a defender of Earth, and passed away? Well, he did.
Eventually Reynolds gets flown to outer space, where he is given a green suit made of pure energy to protect his body, and a mask "to disguise your identity when there is danger". Hahahaha! I don't know how it works on other planets, but it may take more than eye-diapers to really shroud a hero in mystery. Are we still really holding onto this idea? What year is this? Is there a communist listening in on my rotary phone? Can I see Milton Berle in a dress on my kinetoscope?
So the exposition aliens tell him that he has to represent Earth for the power of good, and that he can only be a hero when he learns to believe in himself, and to treasure every sunset, and when there was one set of footprints it was Him carrying you, and you can't save every starfish on the beach but it mattered to that one, etc. etc. Ultimately, it doesn't matter how many motivational posters they show him, Great Fear do they still feel in this one, so they shoot him back to Earth.
Oh brother, am I still re-capping this? Look, if you've ever seen a superhero movie, you know this whole drill, beat by beat. For as short as this movie is, it's almost exhausting seeing something trudge along in the exact way you think it will. Lantern learns to use his powers, gets the girl, find out how to face his fear. Time for a sequel.
And don't get me started on this:
One of the villains works as a science teacher in the Science Building. THE SCIENCE BUILDING? This movie had FOUR WRITERS ON IT!
(If Mad Magazine editors are reading this, I would love an interview. Here are some other title pitches:
BRRAAAPP YEEECCHHH-TERN )