Green Lantern (May Contain Spoilers)

Before the first teaser trailers, I had high hopes for the first film adaptation of one of DC Comics flagship characters, and after seeing early teaser photos I was interested in the direction the producers were taking Green Lantern. Although the teaser trailers left me unimpressed, I couldn’t not go and see what could be one of the big superhero hits of the summer.

Cocky test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is grounded after a test mission goes wrong. But in his crisis of confidence, he is chosen by dying alien Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) to be granted his mystical ring. By accepting this, Hal gets transported to the planet Oa and initiated into an intergalactic police force charged with keeping the peace across the Universe using the power of the Emerald energy of Willpower. They are the Green Lantern Corps – and Hal Jordan is the first ever human to be placed among their ranks. But as Hal begins his training with the Corps to become a Green Lantern, an entity of fear known as Parallax is freed from his prison created by Abin Sur and is headed towards Earth, already embodying Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) to spread fear on Earth. In order to defeat this intergalactic enemy, Hal must gather together more courage than flying a jet could ever take, and master the powers of the Green Lantern ring to save his colleague and love interest Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) and ultimately the Earth from destruction.

The film managed to stay true to a lot of the Green Lantern mythos and original storylines of the Corps, but it felt like there were things missing from the film as a whole that could have done it a lot more justice – no pun intended!

What first made me question the look of Green Lantern was the copious amount of CGI being used. While it’s understandable that for creating the world of Oa and Corps members like Tomar-Re and Kilowog (voiced by Geoffrey Rush and Michael Clarke-Duncan respectively) CGI needed to be used to make them as realistic as possible, but using it for things like Hal’s Green Lantern uniform seemed a bit like overkill to me. But that being said, it was explained to me that in the comic books the Green Lantern uniform is part of the construct the ring produces, so it seems fitting that his suit was CGI too and meant it had the moving energy effect as well, so even though it seemed like a bit much it was done for a solid reason.

Also on the subject of Green Lantern’s CGI, it seemed to me that there wasn’t enough of him using his ring to create big constructs and that wasn’t very adventurous for a superhero with that kind of potential. It would have been understandable if they had, say, focussed their attention on creating more of a solid script to back the film with, but even that became predictable in places and a bit hollow overall – especially since Hal’s scientist friend got severely overlooked and even forgotten about in certain scenes! There are clearly plans for a sequel (set for release in 2013) with the clip during the credits of Sinestro (Mark Strong, who manages to not blink for the entire 40 minutes he is on screen. Fact.) putting on the Yellow ring of Fear, despite the fact that his last scene in the film was him congratulating Hal Jordan on being right and bringing out humanity in the Corps. It almost felt like there was no reason for him putting on the ring in this film other than to create talk of a sequel and because his name is Sinestro. If you let a guy with a name like Sinestro into your group, you can pretty much bet he’ll stab you in the back. The clue is in the name. Still, at least it means there is a lot of potential for the sequel compared to the lack of depth in this film.

The action scenes and one-liners that the trailer campaign for Green Lantern didn’t ruin did impress and made the film worth the ticket money, but there wasn’t much that hadn’t been revealed by the trailers by that point, and the retrofitting for 3D wouldn’t make all that much difference to the visuals to make it worth paying the extra for it.

Overall, Green Lantern came across a bit like the kind of stereotypical superhero movie you see people watching in other films, but there were still plenty of bits throughout to satisfy long term fans of the original comic books. The action scenes and CGI were impressive, but because there weren’t enough of them and the script got hollow in places, Green Lantern suffered a little from Take-Away Syndrome – you enjoy it while you’re having it, but two hours later you’ve forgotten all about it and want another. Green Lantern gets 6 out of 10 for being entertaining but lacking a lot of what people actually paid to see.

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LISTED Film Previews – June 2011

Yes, it’s almost summer time and it does seem a shame to spend sunny days inside watching movies (well, for some of us it’s a shame). But should there ever be rainy days, and you find yourself with too much cash in your wallet and need to get rid of it quickly, then at least you’ll have these films to see! There are some blinders this month, and they’re only going to get better as we head into Summer Blockbuster territory, so wrap your eyes round these if you care to:

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (12A) (Dir. Matthew Vaughn)

If the last instalment in the X-Men franchise was an origins story for Wolverine, then this is the origin of Professor X, Magneto and the entire X-Men team. It’s 1963, and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr aka Magneto (Michael Fassbender) are discovering their mutant powers and band together to find others like themselves. But as a threat to the world emerges, a rift grows between the two and they begin to divide into opposing sides. X-Men: First Class will also see January Jones as Emma Frost, the questionable Nick Hoult as Hank McCoy/Beast, and Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw, as well as a whole host of other big names from Marvel Comics’ X-Universe. Also, Bryan Singer (the original director of the first two X-Men films) is on-board as producer, and director of Kick-Ass Matthew Vaughn takes control of bringing the origins of the ­X-Men to life. Expect a lot of what made the first X-Men films so great, but not quite as you recognise it. Released 1st June.

KUNG-FU PANDA 2 (PG) (Dir. Jennifer Yuh)

The hungriest martial artist in the animal kingdom returns for a second fistful of action. Po (Jack Black) is sent on a journey with the Furious Five to stop an evil master (Gary Oldman) from releasing a deadly new weapon which could eradicate kung-fu forever. If you allowed yourself to be a kid again and enjoyed the first one, then there are plenty more gags to entertain you in this sequel. And for once, having it in 3D might not be such a bad thing with all the action scenes and explosions! Released 10th June.

GREEN LANTERN (12A) (Dir. Martin Campbell)

One of the most highly anticipated comic-book films of the year (alongside the three Marvel Comics releases), Ryan Reynolds is Hal Jordan, a cocky test pilot who comes into contact with a dying, crash-landed member of an intergalactic police force. He becomes the first human to be granted membership into the Green Lantern Corps, and is given a ring that grants him otherworldly powers. But his admission into the squadron coincides with the appearance of the Parallax – a fear entity which threatens to destroy the universes balance of power. Even though there seems to be plenty of material to satisfy long-term fans of one of DC Comics’ forefront superheroes, there have been suggestions that the visual effects might not be up to scratch. While the alien world of Oa has been brilliantly created through CGI, the decision to have Hal’s Green Lantern suit done entirely in CGI as well might give the film a questionable look, and might end up relying on the action and story to save it. Released 17th June.

BAD TEACHER (15) (Dir. Jake Kasden)

Cameron Diaz stars in this slightly more adult comedy than what it appears to be as a recently jilted, unsaintly high school teacher who targets a colleague as her next lover, only to spark a war with a fellow teacher. Probably not one to see if you’re looking for something more original. Released 24th June.

As published in Listed Magazine and on http://www.listedmagazine.com

LISTED Film Previews – October ’10

Finally, we come back round to the Halloween films of the year – my favourite time of year for film releases! This is mainly because you’ll always see different production companies competing against each other for the Halloween High-Hitter of the Year. Obviously, in recent years, its been all of the Saw movies, because this has now been built up into a franchise in the same way that Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday The 13th was – to the extent that little kids were dressing up in clawed gloves and burnt faces at such a young age that they couldn’t possibly be old enough to thave seen the films. And that is what Saw is managing to do now – become a franchise and make an icon of itself. Don’t get me wrong, this is great for their business, but I think this year there’s going to be some stiff competition from a film thats generating hype all of its own….

Also, just as a note, more and more people have been leaving great comments on some posts, bringing up some very valid points and its a shame if these dont get read. So next time you’re reading one of these, check for comments about points you might have wanted to hear more of, because they might just be there. Now, time for the film feast for you greedy lot out there!

THE SOCIAL NETWORK (12A) (Dir. David Fincher)

Ever wondered how much trouble goes into creating a social networking site? The Social Network follows the fictional story of Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) and how he and a group of his friends came together to create the networking and photo sharing site Facebook. However, things start to turn ugly when arguements with his friend and co-founder of the site Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) compromise the website, his funds and everything he owns. The trailers for this film look pretty great, and it looks like there’s a surprisingly high amount of drama in The Social Network – which will provide a very welcome retreat from the Hollywood remakes! Definitely worth watching if you use Facebook yourself (so, everyone then?), or even if it’s to see Andrew Garfield’s performance before the Spider-Man reboot starts production. Released October 15th.

RED (12A) (Dir. Robert Schwentke)

Based on the DC comics series, Bruce Willis plays a retired black-ops agent whose peaceful situation is compromised when a new, high-tech assassin threatens his life. As a last resort, Frank Moses (Willis) reassembles his former black-ops team to break into the CIA. Considering that Bruce Willis did this after Cop Out (which was of a similar style to Red and pretty successful for Willis too) and that this also stars Morgan Freeman, a slightly barmy John Malkovich and a sniper-rifle toting Helen Mirren, you can pretty much bet that the mix of smart comedy and high-octane action is going to work pretty well for bringing in the audiences. It’s definitely worked for Willis so far, at least! Released October 22nd.

SAW VII 3D (18) (Dir. Kevin Greutert)

Although the Saw franchise has probably gone on way longer than it rightly should have by now, the latest instalment in the series is not only in 3D but also sees the return of original Saw victim Carey Elwes as Lawrence Gordon. Whilst a deadly battle rages between those who want to take up the mantle Jigsaw left behind, a group of his survivors gather and seek support from fellow survivor and self-help guru Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flannery). But Dagen’s own motives are so dark and destructive they may start an entirely new wave of terror. Advertised as the last Saw (even though VIII has been green lit), it’s likely that the 3D effects will go down well amongst the loyal fan base, but personally this is not what my money is on for the Halloween success of the year… Released October 29th.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 (18) (Dir. Tod Williams)

The sequel to the biggest low-budget phenomenon of recent years is finally seeing the light of day. Or not, as the early trailers suggest… Not much is known about the storyline, but what the trailers have revealed is a lot more frightening goings-on in a new house with cameras in every room, with a dog and a baby taking up residence in the house as well. With the director of the original on board as a producer, Paranormal Activity 2 is set to scare the living snot out of audiences all over the world! Released October 29th.

LISTED Film Previews – June ’10

Ok, so these may be a tad late, because I thought I had put them on already but wasn’t sure, and also because I’ve been working on the next month’s ones as well as all my normal work, which has all been building up to the final few days which are still yet to come. And yet I still find time to do these film previews for you lovely people. Because I’m just awesome like that. Wrap you’re dirty great eyelids around these then!

GET HIM TO THE GREEK (15) (Dir. Nicholas Stoller)

Somewhat of a spin-off from Forgetting Sarah Marshal, Russell Brand returns to reprise his role of the outlandish rock star Aldous Snow. Jonah Hill (from Superbad) plays a lowly intern at a record company who is given his big break when he has to accompany an out-of-control Aldous and get him to LA’s Greek Theatre in time for his concert. Get Him To The Greek looks set to have some great performances from its cast, mainly because Jonah Hill is naturally very funny, and Russell Brand only has to be himself to play this part. This could well be choke-on-your-popcorn comedy! Released June 4th.

KILLERS (12A) (Dir. Robert Luketic)

Playing the rather unexpected role of an international super-assassin Spencer, Ashton Kutcher takes the leading role alongside Katherine Heigl who plays his newly wedded wife Jen. They live quite happily in domestic bliss, until the morning after Spencer’s 30th Birthday, when they discover he is the target of a multi-million dollar hit. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the hired killers have been stalking the happy couple for years, and they begin to suspect each of their neighbours! This could easily be hollow entertainment for the masses, a la The Bounty Hunter, but if you’re in the mood for simple comedy then this could prove to be ideal. Released June 16th.

JONAH HEX (12A) (Dir. Jimmy Hayward)

Delving even deeper into the world of comic books, Josh Brolin plays DC Comics’ scarred colonial bounty hunter with supernatural powers, who gets hired by the US Military to take down a terrorist (John Malkovich) who is preparing to unleash Hell on Earth. Many original fans are amazed that such a little-known DC Comics character is getting his own film release, despite how much potential Jonah Hex has as a hero character. The two things that will likely bring this film down is a bad case of Ghost Rider­-itis in the script, and Megan Fox’s flat acting. Hopefully, the character and the action will be enough to carry this film on their own. Released June 25th.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE (12A) (Dir. David Slade)

Although the first trailer for the third instalment of the infamous Twilight Saga made it look more like “Static Mid-Shots of Miserable Teenagers 3”, the second trailer released on the internet managed to gain back some credibility with the promised story of a pack of newborn Vampires led by vengeful vamp Victoria (now played by Bryce Dallas-Howard, who was originally offered the part in the first film) moving to attack Forks, and teasers of mass-vampire slaughtering courtesy of the Giant Wolves. Interwoven in this is the continuing conundrum of Bella’s (Kristen Stewart) decision of her love between super-buff Wolf Jacob (Lautner) and sparkly Vampire dream-boy Edward (Pattinson). It’s likely, though, that some of us might start wishing she’d just make up her mind so we can see some vampires get torn apart… On the whole, though, this film WILL be a success, whether you want it to or not! Released June 30th.

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