Last week I started up a new series of blogs I want to do where I basically feature some of the worst movies I've ever seen, think of it as the opposite of Screened's Besties. Last week I talked about the film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged, and even though the movie was just total garbage, I started thinking that maybe it wasn't the best film to start off with, because so many people feel strongly about the book that my criticisms of the film could cut a little too close to home for those fans. So I started thinking that for this week I should make it up to them by picking something that was the equivalent for me, a terrible film that's based on a book that really spoke to me, something that has truly deeply touched me only to wreck my heart with a terrible adaptation.
Okay, I'll be the first to admit I'm not that big of a "reader," so this is about as close of an equivalent as I'm going to find. However I am a huge Green Lantern fan, like to an extent that I should be ashamed of it but I'm not (I think I'm missing that part of my brain). And this movie was so bad it made me go through all five stages of loss.
Stage 1 - Denial - "What? No, no way is this movie as bad as I was afraid it was going to be. I mean sure it only has a 27 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but that site is probably biased. I mean after all that site is owned by... the very same company putting out this movie... um..."
Stage 2 - Anger - "You have got to be kidding me! This movie doesn't even make sense! A Hot Wheels commercial in the middle of the freaking movie? You have to be kidding me!"
Stage 3 - Bargaining - "Okay, at least the stuff in space looks pretty decent. If Hal just leaves Earth right now, and goes back into space, then I'll let the movie slide. All you have to do is get off Earth Hal... that's all... the movie can be salvaged if you just go back to Oa... any time now..."
Stage 4 - Depression - "We're never going to get a good Green Lantern movie are we? This series will forever be a laughing stock."
Stage 5 - Acceptance - "Oh hey, Avengers comes out this Friday right? That looks awesome."
That's about as close to acceptance as I'm going to get, because every time I try to let this movie pass by and forget about it and just accept it as a crappy film, I just end up going through those other four stages again. I've been trying to think of a way to start this feature off, and I have no idea where to begin because there is so much craziness to this film, and I don't mean that even remotely in a good way. Last week Atlas Shrugged was so bad it was at least funny, this is so bad it was just really bad.
Okay, so test pilot Hal Jordan, played by Ryan Reynolds whose performance can best be described as "a slightly more serious Ryan Renolds," is chosen by this ancient race of aliens to be the cosmic police man of his sector of space. I repeat to you that I am a big fan of the comics, so I have no critiques so far of this concept, and shame on you if you do. However, Hal is chosen to be a Green Lantern because he possesses great willpower. We know he has great willpower because the movie tells us he does. This is a guy who sleeps in for work, wraps a present for his nephew while driving even though the present isn't due for another couple of hours, and then freezes up whenever he looks at a picture of his dad.
I kid you not, he puts a picture of his dad who died in a plane crash, inside of his plane, and when he looks at it he freezes and almost crashes. If the photo of your dad makes you freeze up, here's an idea, don't put that inside the plane you need to fly in order to survive. I'm deathly afraid of spiders, so when I go out to my car I don't put one right on the dashboard. And speaking of his dad's death, the flashback to this is probably the funniest moment of the movie. Right before his dad's plane explodes, he gives a thumbs up (to nobody, because there is nobody else inside the plane with him) and then the green screen behind him blows up. The studio spent over two million dollars making Hal Jordan's mask look good in post, but the green screen behind his dad when he dies is so bad that I could have done it. Seriously internet, I am ashamed at you for not having turned this scene into a meme yet.
But forget that, let's skip over everything else and get to the part where he actually becomes Green Lantern and he meets the rest of the Lantern Corp, which is comprised of millions of various aliens from different planets. Now this was probably my favorite part of the movie, not because it was a good scene, but because when I watched it my girlfriend turned to me and said "So are those actual Green Lanterns from the book or did they just make them up." At which point I geeked out, turned to her and said, "Oh yeah they're actual characters, like there's Stel, there's Bzz, there's Boodika, there's-" I went on for about five minutes about that, and that was my favorite part of the movie. Not because it featured a lot of characters I knew, but because for five minutes it gave me an excuse to stop watching the movie and talk about something else.
So Hal has to be trained, so he meets the drill instructor Kilowog, and this leads me to a little side note. The Green Lantern uniforms in this movie are meant to look like they're part of the body of whoever is wearing them, because nothing says "hero" like body paint. I bring this up with Kilowog because so far in the movie I've been able to go "Well... I guess I can see what they were going for, I understand they're trying to say it was a suit of energy or something," so I was able to buy it a little at this point. But then when it comes to Kilowag, you can actually see the hair on his body poking out through the uniform, and it seriously does look like Hal is being trained by a big naked alien that tattooed a GL symbol on his chest. And let's just stop and think about the fact that some guy actually had to go in and digitally add all that hair and texture to his body. Think about the hours and days and weeks this guy spent on this, do you think that he ever once stopped to go "You know... I think we're making him too detailed. I mean not to sound like I'm half assing this but... does anyone else here think he looks naked?" Although in all fairness I don't think anyone wants to be the guy in the office to stand up and say "does this alien look naked to you?"
So I bring up Kilowog because he tries to train Hal, and part of that training is he creates a miniature sun and Hal has to try and fly away from it, telling him that the gravity is sucking him in and in space "The bigger you are, the faster you burn." And I don't know much about quantum physics, but I knew enough to know that sounded odd. So I called up a buddy of mine, who is an actual factual scientist, and I asked him, "Yeah, in space, the bigger you are the faster you burn, that true at all?" "What, no that's not true, why would you think that?" "I don't know, the big naked alien said it so I just had to check." I might be able to let this go, except that this comes back and is the whole reason why Hal is able to beat the villain in the end. The entire premise that this movie rides on isn't even true and was something I was able to fact check with one phone call. Anyways, back to the story. Kilowog slaps Hal around for about two or three minutes, and then he just says "I quit, this is too hard." Hal Jordan, chosen because he had great willpower, but after two minutes he throws in the towel. Seriously, this is getting so sad at this point I'm running out of stuff to say, and I haven't even gotten to the craziest part of the movie.
After quitting, Hal comes back to Earth and at a banquet the villain of the movie, Hector Hammond who is played by Peter Sarsgaard, decides to shoot down a helicopter over this crowded party. Now let's hold here for a moment. Before I get further into this scene, which is probably the dumbest scene of any movie I saw last year, let's talk about Hector Hammond. First off, he shoots down the helicopter because his dad, played by Tim Robbins, was in there and he was trying to kill him. Now Tim Robbins, I know he's got grey hair, but I swear they had to die it solid white in this film, because if they didn't then there is no way you would have been able to tell he was supposed to be the dad because Peter Sarsgaard actually looks older in this movie than Tim Robbins. Heck he looks older than everyone, he looks ten years older than Ryan Renolds, who he himself looks ten years older than Blake Lively, and all three of them were supposed to be in the same high school together (make your own Ryan Renolds being left behind joke here).
But anyways, back to the Craziest Part of the Movie. So this helicopter is about to crash into the middle of this party, and Hal suits up to use his ring to save the day. Now Green Lantern rings allow you to create energy constructs that are solid representations of anything you can imagine. Now a plane is crashing down, lives are at stake, and what does Hal decide to create? A Hot Wheels car and race track. Now you might be thinking "Why would he do that?" and if you're not thinking that, well then what is wrong with you because that is insane. Early in the film Hal goes to his nephew's birthday party and we see him hit a button on a Hot Wheel's car and launches it off a ramp, and when I saw that I knew it was just product placement. But I was fine with it, it was a little throwaway moment and it showed off that he was a tad childish, giving us a sense of his personality. And hey, product placement is something of a necessary evil, movies are going to do it anyway so they might as well do it well. But then, they bring it back for this scene, and they stop the entire movie for two or three minutes to force in a commercial for Hot Wheels.
The helicopter comes down, and he catches it on a car that he then races around a track for no reason. Now a lot of folks have tried to defend this scene to me by saying "Oh they were trying to show us how his mind worked, tried to show us that he is something of a manchild." Alright, fine, I can understand that, I can see why they would want something to show off his personality... HOWEVER, allow me to make my rebuttal. The crisis at hand is an aircraft that is crashing down. And what does Hal Jordan do for a living? He's a pilot, a test pilot even, a guy who flies planes and prevents them from crashing. That is his job, it's what he's done his entire life, on his business card it says "Hal Jordan, the guy who knows how to keep planes from crashing." Out of all the situations they could have thought up in order to shove a Hot Wheel's commercial into, they pick the one situation where it could not have made less sense.
Alright, I'm not going to lie, this has been going on a long time already and I'm not even halfway through with my list of grievances. So instead I'll just do a lightning round of whatever else I can think of.
Okay, that's it, there, I don't think there's anything left to complain about... well that's just a bold face lie, there is plenty left to complain about, but I don't have the willpower to keep typing. So if this still sounds like something you would be interested in seeing, then feel free to unfriend me on facebook and stop following me on twitter. However, this movie did still make money (sort of) and DC is still going to go through with their plans to make a Justice League movie, and so they've come out and said that they will be making a sequel. So as a GL fan, I would like to submit to the producers my solution on how to save the franchise. In the comics there are three other humans who serve as Earth's Green Lantern, so I'd just like to say forget Ryan Renolds, forget Hal Jordan, just start totally fresh with one of those other characters and do a complete reboot because starting from scratch is really your only option at this point. Now you may be wondering how would you explain Hal Jordan not being in the sequel? Simple, just say his plane was crashing and he thought he'd save himself by flying it into a giant Hot Wheel's track.