New on DVD/Blu-ray: Green Lantern

Ryan Reynolds in Green Lantern (2011) Movie Image

Warner Bros.’ “Green Lantern” didn’t exactly light the box office on fire, or leave the competition green with envy. (See what I did there?) In fact, it performed so poorly that any idea of a sequel seemed ludicrous. You can now judge for yourself whether the film deserves a sequel (or two) when the film arrives on Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group on October 14, 2011. Just in time for Halloween. Wait, maybe going as the Green Lantern won’t scare anyone. Unless, of course, you’re a Warner Bros. accountant. Ahem.

In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, an elite force of protectors for peace and justice has existed for centuries. They are the Green Lantern Corps. When a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the Universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of the Corps’ newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds). Bringing the popular superhero to the big screen for the first time, Green Lantern also stars Blake Lively (Gossip Girl), Peter Sarsgaard (Orphan), Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes), Academy Award® nominee Angela Bassett and Academy Award® winner Tim Robbins.

THE MOVIE:

The biggest issue with “Green Lantern”? I’ll probably end up using the phrase, “Well, it wasn’t THAT bad” more often than I’d like. And therein lies the problem — “Green Lantern” isn’t such a great movie that you can wholeheartedly recommend it, but, well, it’s not that bad. The film certainly doesn’t make the greatest use of its cast, but honestly, I always thought that was more the fault of the film being based on a comic book guy that can generate wacky items like big hammers or fists using willpower. I mean, what exactly can you do with that and not make it come across as silly? The Dark Knight this guy ain’t.

Ryan Reynolds, who has been primed to front a comic book franchise for a while now (the guy basically has the physique of a comic book character, for God’s sake) takes the lead as Hal Jordan, a hotshot test pilot and womanizer who ends up in the possession of a dead alien’s power ring. Said dead alien was a part of an intergalactic law-enforcement group called the Green Lantern Corp. (basically, space beat cops), made up of various aliens from around the universe. The dead alien happens to patrol the sector that includes Earth when he is taken out by a giant floating yellow cloud called Parallax.

Tomar-Re and Ryan Reynolds in Green Lantern (2011) Movie Image

Hal, now christened the new Green Lantern, finds himself being taken to Oa, the home planet of the Guardians, supervisors of the Green Lantern Corp. There, he’s put through a rigorous training, but all of that won’t prepare our hero for the biggest challenge of all — defeating his own doubts. Of course, he’ll quickly have to get over that little tidbit because Parallax is moving towards Earth, where another villain, this one a human name Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), has found himself infected by Parallax’s, for lack of a better word, essence, grown a giant head, and is slowly but surely becoming evil. Green Lantern has to beat both of these guys and, uh, romance his childhood sweetheart Blake Lively all at the same time. Or thereabouts.

Don’t worry, though, “Green Lantern” isn’t nearly as convoluted as it sounds. In fact, it’s a pretty simple movie, a by-the-numbers Origins Story in comic book movie parlance. Reynolds is certainly game as hotshot Hal Jordan, and like I said, you’re not going to need to CGI off any fat from that physique of his. So yeah, he makes a pretty damn great looking superhero. The problem, of course, is that Green Lantern isn’t really a great superhero to warrant a big-budget studio Hollywood film. It’s Green Lantern. He makes things using his willpower and generated out of his ring. I honestly have no idea why anyone thought this would appeal to a wide audience. Even kids might see Reynolds creating twin supersonic jets and think, “Huh. Why doesn’t he just, you know, fly? Wouldn’t he still have to control those jets with his mind?” Okay, so maybe kids wouldn’t think that, but I did, and therein lies Green Lantern’s problems. One of many, alas.

Green Lantern (2011) Movie Image

The thing about “Green Lantern” is? It’s not that bad. (See? There it is again.) It’s a decently entertaining movie, just so long as you don’t demand too much from it. There is a nice, fun vibe to the whole movie, and Reynolds certainly seems to be enjoying himself throughout. It’s really not his fault that the script is so lacking, or that director Martin Campbell seems over his head with the heavy green screen special effects. Speaking of which, the special effects are pretty good throughout, and Green Lantern’s costume is nicely rendered. The film certainly looks as expensive as it obviously cost to produced, so it has that going for it. Alas, eye candy may not be enough to save this one.

3-DISC BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO PACK:

As the box art (below) proclaims, “Green Lantern’s” Extended Cut DVD/Blu-ray Combo pack comes with the theatrical version of the movie you saw in theaters, and an extended cut that is 9 minutes longer, much of it in the beginning. You get more background on Hal’s childhood, as well as more on the trio of Hal, Carol, and Hammond as kids. Whereas in the theatrical cut the most you ever get in terms of a “love triangle” is Hammond bringing it up at the party scene. There may be additional scenes added back in later on in the film, but nothing overly important for me to really notice.

The disc’s biggest special feature is the Maximum Movie Mode (with theatrical version only), which allows you to watch the film while behind-the-scenes featurettes pop up in PIP throughout. For “Green Lantern”, D.C. comic book writer Geoff Johns is your host, which is a new one, since it’s usually the director who takes center stage for this. I’ve always found this feature to be a pretty interesting way to watch a film, especially ones that I’ve liked and really want to get more into the movie from every angle. Unfortunately Johns, while probably an affable enough chap, is more of a “guy with a camera who goes around interviewing people”, so what you get out of this Maximum Movie Mode is somewhat limited, at least in comparison to other Maximum Movie Modes I’ve sat through.

Ryan Reynolds in Green Lantern (2011) Movie Image

Other special features include 46 minutes worth of “Focal Points”, behind-the-scenes featurettes that explore every aspect of the movie. The one thing I got out of this? The artwork they put into this movie looks really, really good. Other notable features include 20 minutes of “The Universe According to Green Lantern”, which traces the character’s comic book origins, and 8 minutes of Reynolds “becoming” the Green Lantern in the aptly titled “Ryan Reynolds Becomes Green Lantern”.

You also get 7 minutes worth of deleted scenes, including more time with Peter Sarsgaard and his beloved hamster, and unfinished scenes featuring Reynolds acting without CGI. This might be worth it just to see Reynolds all covered up in motion-capture doohickeys acting all serious. Man, it just looks silly, to say the least. And for you really big GL fans, a digital version of the rebooted “Justice League” #1 comic book (because, duh, who doesn’t like “reading” comic books on a TV?) and a six-minute preview of the upcoming “Green Lantern” animated CG TV series. If the preview is any indication, the TV series will look a lot like “The Incredibles” in terms of animation — minus all the details and, uh, budget. They shouldn’t have bothered.

Buy “Green Lantern” on DVD or Blu-ray October 14, 2011 from Warner Bros.

Green Lantern (2011) Movie 3-Disc Blu-ray DVD Combo