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Monday, June 20, 2011 

The Green Lantern movie's light burned out

I suppose I should now have a word or two on the Green Lantern movie, which has opened to dismal reviews and just $52 million at the box office - at least $10 million less than the more successful Thor movie gained in its first week - and is bound to lose money (via IMDB). I had a sad feeling this was going to happen, and there had been some earlier speculation it would tank. A couple months ago, I'd watched a trailer clip where Ryan Reynolds, in the title role, was getting up early in the morning, either for a superhero gig or to get to work early, and told the girlfriend he was spending the night with (Carol Ferris?) that "there's water in the tap." It just fell flat, and that was my first sign something was wrong. Now, we're learning that it may really be as bad - possibly worse - than what some of the trailers suggested. And not only that, this news (also via IMDB) tells that at least 63 percent of the audience was over 25. Clearly, they failed to draw in the children.

But frankly, I've been so dispirited and lacking faith in Time Warner's ability to craft an auspicious movie that it's too hard to care what fate awaits it. If they don't respect the comic books and allowed so much abuse by Dan DiDio, how can we possibly expect them to make a respectable movie production? The Catwoman movie from 2004 was just the start of these problems.

I've looked at the plot descriptions of the screenplay, and I can make some guesses what drowned this movie's green in yellow:
  • This was likely a studio influenced committee job, given that there's at least four scriptwriters, and Geoff Johns, as one of the supervising producers, could easily make a fifth, since the story draws from some of his own GL work.
  • And instead of Sinestro as the archnemesis, they made Parallax the enemy. Now, maybe they didn't have to make Sinestro the main adversary in this first movie, assuming there'll ever be a sequel, but even after being turned into a separate entity from Hal Jordan, Parallax was still an embarrassing mistake that should've been left in the past, and making him possess Hector Hammond actually diminishes that mind-controlling villain to a mere tool in a different villain's scheme. Couldn't they have made Lord Malvolio the adversary or even the Weaponers of Qward?
  • There's probably even more special effects in this film than in Tron, and making Ryan Reynolds' costume CGI-based just smothers it even more. His costume, if any, should've just been a simple cloth shirt and would've saved money on the FX if they'd thought of it. (The overall cost comes to $300 million). The result here makes it look like there's wrinkles all over his shirt and shoulders.
  • Plus, there's the mistake of injecting too many villains at once, like some of the Batman movies the first time around, even though Sinestro isn't a villain per se here and we may never see a sequel to see if he will become one.
I suppose if there's anything good that could come out of this, it's that it could serve as a well-deserved punishment for Geoff Johns. I found a post about Flashpoint #1 revealing he's exploited it for yet more unpleasant violence, with women (the Amazons) as the culprits. If that's how he's going to treat the source material of the DCU - and he did turn the Flash into a nasty travesty years ago - then if this movie's impending failure embarrasses his reputation, it'll be richly deserved. The scriptwriters certainly shouldn't have based their story on his writings. In fact, any unsuspecting sensible moviegoer who takes a closer look at some of the more gruesome work Johns's done as a comics writer - and even some of the cover drawings DC's commissioned - might be inclined to never bother again. And the saddest part is that Time Warner clearly couldn't care less. Which is why this film would just have to be seen as a suitable punishment for them too.

Green Lantern does have potential to make a good movie. Now, with developing disaster, that potential could be buried in the Qward dimension forever. And whether the comic-to-movie biz does well for Marvel, DC may have already hit a dead end: with NBC's rejection of the attempted Wonder Woman TV show and the fiasco of Jonah Hex, their own efforts to adapt more of their books may never get off the ground, thanks to how badly they've mishandled their own properties. If they ever do make a Flash movie, I will most definitely not be seeing it if it's even remotely written like a draft that was proposed earlier. Darkness that bad does not a good movie make.

Without a soul, there's no success.

Update: it dropped at least %70 in its second week. Now, the Hollywood Reporter tells that chances of a sequel are becoming very dim, and its overall budget could be as much as $400 million, making it very hard to regain the losses it's already facing.

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Casting probably didn't help, either, as I just couldn't buy Reynolds as Hal. Kyle, sure, but not Hal. It's the image or not enough machismo, I dunno.

Good analysis, as always.

Ten years ago, DC had it all with the media and Bruce Timm's shows and etc. Now, it'a Marvel's time to shine. Funny how that all works out.

I knew from the moment I saw the first preview"GL" was going to bomb. The only people more ignornant on what fans of the REAL DC heroes want to see than the writers and editors for the company are the writers in Hollywood, who are taking their cue from those same idiots.

It was the definition of a "meh" movie. I didn't actively hate it, but I sure didn't like it, either.

$300 million, most of it spent on putting a fake-looking costume on your protagonist (played by the whiny guy from that pizza place TV show). What a waste...

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