Earlier this year, DC Comics’ Emerald Warrior made his debut in a live-action film starring Ryan Reynolds in the title role of Hal Jordan, cocky test pilot turned Guardian of Sector 2814.
The film, heavy on computer-generated special effects, arrives on Blu-ray in Green Lantern: Extended Cut (Warner Home Video, rated PG-13, $35.99) and, although it never resonated with critics and general movie audiences (numbed, perhaps, by the recent waves of superhero movies), it should please anyone dazzled by the comic book format.
In particular, the loyal fan of heroic pop art, fascinated by the Lantern mythos, will find a story construct similar to a typical sequential art issue touting a costumed crusader.
Viewers get a mix of a Green Lantern origins culled from DC editor Julius Schwartz’ 1960s Silver Age revival of the hero and from 2008’s Green Lantern: Secret Origin, a comic book series orchestrated by creator Geoff Johns, through a story that also incorporates a universe-consuming, fear-sucking villain.
Specifically, Hal Jordan is on a self-destruct mission while toying with the emotions of his childhood sweetheart, Carol Ferris, until his fateful meeting with alien Abin Sur who gives him the green power ring that transforms him into a member of the premier galaxy police.
Meanwhile, a battle wages against Parallax that involves lots of Green Lanterns, and ultimately the fate of the Earth will hang in the balance.
Much like the average superhero comic book, one-liners stack up with superficial character relationships while those big splash-page action scenes generate the smiles.
The best parts of the movie involve watching members of the Green Lantern Corps interact with Hal and each other, and watching the Green Lantern use his powers in splendid high definition.
Corps members hanging out on Oa (planetary headquarters to the group and beautifully brought to life) such as Sinestro (actor Mark Strong at his most irritated), lizard-bird Tomar-Re and the bulky Kilowog should satisfy along with flashes of R’amey Holl (a butterflylike female), Bzzd (a large fly), Stel (robot) and even face time with Guardians of the Galaxy (perfectly crafted). I’ll gripe that this group never appears enough or when Hal needs them most.
Of course, Green Lantern uses the power ring and his creativity to construct nearly any object in his battles. Special effects not only deliver a fantastic costume (energy suit), but also has Hal and his cohorts produce, on the fly, such items as a sword, chain saw, steel pillars, giant fist, brick walls, rope, boulders, Gatling gun, anti-aircraft gun, jet planes and a small sun.
It’s especially slick as Hal saves a senator using a Hot Wheels-inspired construct.
Ultimately, that’s the bulk of a breezy two-hour “Green Lantern” that finishes with the possibility of a sequel, or, in my world, a second issue. Except that the Blu-ray price of admission is about nine times what one might pay for a comic book.
Note: One truly annoying part of the Blu-ray is watching the extended edition. It basically replays a scene from Hal’s childhood that is already covered in tighter flashbacks later in the movie.
Best extras: When I wrote that the Green Lantern Blu-ray and movie is for the comic book fan, I meant it and the extras will not disappoint.