Friday, June 17, 2011

This Week in Why Bother: Green Lantern

“This Week in Why Bother” is an ongoing series in which I question why Hollywood is doing what it is doing, and explain why you need not bother with it.

I have virtually no interest in what the Green Lantern trailer promises: awful special effects, Ryan Reynolds, the bound-to-be-cringe-worthy-phoned-in Peter Sarsgaard and Blake Lively performances. 

Currently (at 10:30 a.m. on the film’s day of release) Rotten Tomatoes says the movie has a 21% approval rating.  It’s no real shock that $150 million doesn’t necessarily buy you a quality film, but don’t take my word for it.  (Click the author’s name for their full review.)

One of the absurdities of many modern superhero movies is how they adorn silly plots with great solemnity and millions of dollars in special effects. Nor does Green Lantern shortchange us on dialogue; indeed, it spends a great deal of time at the impossible task of explaining the logic and rules of its plot. I am amazed at how calmly humans absorb and accept the incredulities of these stories.

…If Warner Brothers doesn’t invest in quality — as it did with Christopher Nolan’s excellent Batman films — more substandard diversions like Green Lantern (and those previous DC big-screen bummers Watchmen and Jonah Hex) will be flooding multiplexes for the foreseeable future. If the company is going to shove a property like Green Lantern down consumer throats the least it can do is give us a good movie.  And Green Lantern is bad.

Green Lantern, a new primer on how not to make a comicbook movie unless you want to screw shit up. Flat FX, smirky acting, clunky writing and clueless direction. WTF?

Listen, I wouldn't give a damn if this screen Lantern had its own energy source. But not even director Martin Campbell, who worked wonders intro-ing James Bond in 2006's Casino Royale, can get this cinematic corpse on its feet. 

There are movies willed to life by the passion of their creators, and there are movies like Green Lantern, which are willed to life strictly by market forces.

Politically, Green Lantern could be a Tea Party recruitment video. It believes that the federal government is both omnipotent and inefficient, and that the country, nay the world, can be saved only by an individual hero — a Paul Revere out of Sarah Palin's mythology, who uses his lantern to warn the enemy that we will not give up our arms, especially such muscular ones.

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