I’ve always been a little frustrated by DreamWorks. Their success with cash-guzzling franchises like Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda has made them the most prolific animation studio in the world but they haven’t been able to marry quantity with quality with any consistency. It’s difficult to know, when attending one of their new films, whether to expect a How to Train Your Dragon or a Shark Tale. There’s no denying their ability to keep kids entertained but few, if any, of their films will ever be remembered in the same way as most of Pixar’s emotionally satisfying, story-led back catalogue. Continue reading
The wonderful thing about having a Cineworld Unlimited card is that it does away with that feeling of regret you get when having spent nearly ten quid on a film that turned out to be rubbish. It also helps you make a positive decision when you’re not sure about going to see a film. So it was with Green Lantern, one of DC’s second tier superhero franchises making the jump to the big screen. The reviews have been very average, it looked average, I went and saw it anyway, it was average, but at least I didn’t have to pay.
Green Lantern was always going to be a film playing catch up with the bigger name superhero flicks. Unless you’re into the comic scene chances are you may not have heard of the franchise or even if you have you won’t be knowledeable about the mythos surrounding the character. In simple terms Green Lantern is all about the Green Lantern Corps, a kind of cosmic police force created by the Guardians of the Universe who harness the power fo will using lanterns and rings to fight evil. One such Green Lantern warrior is mortally wounded by Parallax, a nightmarish cloud of starbound evil that feeds on fear, and crashes on Earth where his ring seeks out someone to replace him as the guardian of his sector of the universe. The ring chooses the reluctant Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a test pilot struggling to let go after his father’s death doing the same job years earlier.
It’s an origin story obviously and is therefore bound by necessary plot conventions but it lacks all the wonder and excitement of the genres best attempts. Reynolds is a bit of a cardboard cutout superhero absent of the charm and humanity of a Toby Maguire or Christian Bale. He plays a cocky tool with boring dead dad issues and can’t coax us into rooting for him but it’s not all his fault given the mediocre script. None of his relationships have any spark or even make much contextual sense and his jounrey to becoming the Green Lantern lacks weight. The supporting cast are all fairly forgetable, even the likes of Mark Strong and Tim Robbins who don’t convince they were that into it. There are some okay action pieces such as an early jetfighter dogfight and some of the training scenes where Jordan learns to use his ring to create weapons is fun but still feels restrained. I would have liked to see the writers really cut loose and let their imaginations go nuts and create some showstopping set pieces, after all the rings are limited only by what the wielder can imagine. The film relies heavily on CG which is at times technically excellent but lacks soul and tend to swamp the visuals.
Ultimately the poor script, dull story and lazy characterisation add up to a pretty dire film. Comic enthusiasts and fans will probably want to see how the franchise stacks up against the heavyweights but if you’re looking for an entertaining and engaging superhero movie check out X-Men First Class instead.
A half-hearted attempt to bring a lesser known license to a moviegoing audience that has brief moments of quality but can’t stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in the genre.