Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's Not Easy Being Green

Went and saw Gray Lensmen–uh, I mean, Green Lantern–last night. (Hardcore science fiction fans will get the joke ...)

It was fun, I'd give it a C-minus. 

So far this summer, the latest X-men entry is the clear winner, for character stuff alone. 

GL has a lot of flash, space-opera sensibilities, and nice enough EFX. We opted for the 2D version; aside from Avatar, I haven't seen anything in 3D since that was worth the extra ticket cost. Cameron got it right, nobody else has. 

My biggest gripe would be that old notion that the audience is too slow on the uptake to get it, so we have to have the upfront once-upon-a-time voice-over explaining the history and backstory they think we need. Better that was spent on character development, of which there isn't quite enough. 

We don't need the set-up. The reboot X-men movie just jumped right into the middle of the story, and GL could have done the same thing. It would have been better. 

The story, such that it is, is fine; the villain tragic and sufficiently creepy, and the supporting actors way over-qualifed for their roles. Tim Robbins? Angela Bassett? A waste of talent, what they are given to do. 

Mark Strong does a nice turn with Sinestro.

Best piece of hardware is not the suit, which is pretty cool, nor the ring, nor the lamp, but a doohickey in the lab that looks like a roller coaster loop with a single car going round and round for no reason of which I could conceive. Funny. 

What sells the movie is whether or not the lead is likable, and Ryan Reynolds, who buffed up for the role, is that. The chemistry between him and Blake Lively (as Carol Ferris) is okay, if not all that hot. 

Listen to the soundtrack, and you'll now and then get a sting that sounds a lot like the fanfare music in the first Chris Reeve Superman movie. No doubt in my mind this was deliberate. 

When the major villain shows up, the fight sequence is over pretty fast, and every beat in it is predicable.

There's a teaser during the credits that won't surprise anybody who waits to see it, and t sets up the sequel, if the numbers are there to pay for it. 

Hey. It's a summer movie, buy the popcorn, turn the brain input knob down to low, enjoy the ride.

Come on, Cowboys and Aliens ...


Vaughn said...

The lensman dredges up old memories

Bobbe Edmonds said...

You let too many movies off the damn hook with that "Hey, it's a summer movie" thing. It's synonymous with saying "Hey, here's your mental pablum for June!" It doesn't excuse directors, writers or producers.

If X-men first class set the bar, then REACH for it, goddammit! You have the money ("You" being Hollywood, not "Steve Perry") and obviously the talent on hand to direct, film and edit such a picture, and it's obvious that word will leak out as to which was better. The days of Siskel and Ebert being the only reliable source for movie reviews are GONE DADDY GONE, and people are finicky about shelling out $20-plus dollars to take their girl out for a matinee these days.

Steve Perry said...

It's like the difference between Budweiser and Chimay, Kid. Lot of folks are happy with a Bud, and if you try to give them any more than that, you are wasting your time. I gripe about that pre-story credit crawl or V.O. telling us stuff, but there are a lot of movie-goers who seem to want to hear it.

If somebody hands me a Bud at a party, my expectations aren't as high as they are for the Nazi brew.

The X-men revamp was better than it needed to be.
Green Lantern isn't, but it's good enough for most.
Sturgeon's Law.