Green Lantern 3D (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
Directed by Martin Campbell
Studio: Warner Bros.
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 114/123 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Spanish
Subtitles: SDH, French, Spanish
Region: no designation
Release Date: October 14, 2011
Review Date: October 20, 2011
An evil, fear-infused soul sucking alien known as Parallax has mortally wounded Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison), one of the strongest fighters in the Green Lantern Corps, a group of intergalactic champions whose strong will and lack of fear enable them to focus and magnify terrific power through a combination of green lantern and a power ring. The dying Sur is brought to Earth for the ring to find its next bearer: cocky, risk-taking test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds). The ring teleports Hal to the planet Oa for training by the legendary taskmaster Kilowog (voice by Michael Clarke Duncan), but he’s upset to learn that the leader of the Lanterns Sinestro (Mark Strong) is unimpressed with Hal’s progress and sneers at his being chosen for the honor of becoming a Lantern. His lack of faith in Hal’s ability to transform into a true hero undermines Hal’s own confidence in his abilities, not a good thing since Parallax is an alien that feeds off fear and because Parallax has infected one of Hal’s associates Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) with special powers which in his frustration over a domineering and dissatisfied father (Tim Robbins) has made him into a powerful threat who won’t listen to reason from anyone. Hal is going to have his hands full with both of these enemies and with no back-up from his fellow Lanterns.
Superhero origin stories are usually overly complicated from the conception stage, so trying to impart that into a feature film and then have enough time left over to actually initiate a real adventure makes the origin film of a superhero a particularly tricky proposition. Despite four named screenwriters on the project (Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg), the film’s story is something of a muddle (the sheer number of alien names which bombard the viewer in the first few minutes is very off-putting unless one is a student of Green Lantern), and with action switching back and forth from Earth to Oa and characters changing loyalties and either accepting or rejecting allegiances, it’s all overly complicated and not especially ingratiating. (It helped Superman and Batman that they were essentially loners: not so many people in on their secrets initially nor as many people to deal with at the beginning of their crime-fighting careers.) Director Martin Campbell has his hands full juggling so many character, plot, and relationship balls at the same time, and he quite frankly drops them occasionally with the murky, undernourished writing not helping matters any (some kind of romantic triangle between Hal, Hector, and Hal’s girl Carol Ferris played by Blake Lively is alluded to but lacks significant development; the parallel daddy issues both Hal and Hector have could have been a film all to themselves). The final showdown isn’t nearly thrilling enough for all of its special effects-laden flash, and the romance between Hal and Carol is undercooked and uninteresting.
Ryan Reynolds has shown some depth as an actor in more serious roles, and he certainly has the physique and bravado necessary to occupy Green Lantern’s iridescent green outfit, but he doesn’t make a standout impression here. Blake Lively is even less impressive in an unexciting role, and there isn’t much chemistry between the duo. As usual, villains usually come off best in this kind of film, and Peter Sarsgaard makes the most of his monomaniacal professor overdosing on his increasing powers until they overtake him. As the depreciatory head of the Lanterns, Mark Strong is a terrific presence, and one regrets that the film’s lack of success will prevent him from pursuing this character’s path to greater power. Michael Clarke Duncan and Geoffrey Rush use their distinctive voices wonderfully as two other Lantern mentors for Hal.
3D implementation – 2.5/5
The film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. All stops seemed to have pulled to make the film a stunning comic book viewing experience with superb sharpness, bold color that rarely bleeds (hard to tell sometimes with that luminous green CGI suit that Reynolds wears), and lifelike flesh tones. Black levels reach the depths of inkiness making it often difficult to tell where the blacks of space end and the letterbox bars start, and while there may be details crushed in the shadows during some of the darker scenes, they aren’t serious problems even while wearing 3D glasses. Subtitles when used are easy to read. The film has been divided into 14 chapters.
Like The Green Hornet, Green Lantern is a film that does not gain much from the 3D experience. While there are some occasionally interesting placements of objects on different planes in certain scenes, oftentimes one is hard pressed to tell if a scene is even being shown in three dimensions. There are no forward projections at all, and even space doesn’t seem to have gained much depth from the addition of another dimension. There was one slight bit of crosstalk with the head of an ancient in the foreground, but otherwise, the 3D film presentation is one free of ghosting.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix offers reference quality sound design one would expect from an action-based comic book movie. The surround field is kept active almost constantly with split effects, and James Newton Howard’s music score is on almost constant aural display. Bass levels are often quite deep giving the LFE channel a strenuous workout. Dialogue is clear and clean throughout and has been placed in the center channel.
The 3D disc contains only a Warner Bros. 3D promo trailer for some of their current and upcoming 3D films on Blu-ray. The 3D film on the disc is the 114-minute theatrical cut of the film only.
For the contents of the other discs in the set, please refer to Warner Bros. reviewer Ken McAlinden’s comprehensive review of the 2D Blu-ray set which can be found here.
3.5/5 (not an average)
Green Lantern is mediocre in two major ways: as a comic book action film and as a 3D experience. Fans of superhero movies may or may not be somewhat more forgiving for the film’s strike-and-miss execution, but there’s no question that the film looks good and sounds great on Blu-ray. A generous and welcome set of bonus features extend one’s appreciation of the filmmakers’ efforts even if they were mostly in vain.