Daily Archives: June 25, 2011

Review: Green Lantern / Super 8 Double Feature!

My parents came out for the weekend, which means (among other things) free babysitting. That, in turn, means movies!

My wife and I saw two movies in a row tonight: Green Lantern and Super 8.

Expectations were split for these two. I’ve been looking forward to Super 8 since the first trailer (which, btw, showed absolutely nothing taken from the movie). I had initially been looking forward to Green Lantern since it was first announced, but since its release and shockingly bad reviews my expectations feel into a pit.  So I was hoping that the night would average out to a decent time.

Super 8 was really well made, and looked and felt almost exactly the way I expected it to. The Goonies meets E.T. meets Cloverfield. That’s just about a perfect description. You could completely feel the input from both Speilberg and J.J. Abrams. Abrams’ signature lens flares and shaky cams are used liberally. The set designers did an awesome job – they absolutely nailed 1979. The kids were great, especially the two leads. This isn’t a kids movie, though. It’s for adults who saw The Goonies and then grew up. It’s got a lot of “jump” moments, it’s scary, and there’s some significant language. I don’t think they nailed the fatherhood reconciliation thing they were going for, but it was good enough and didn’t detract from the film significantly.

Stick around during the credits to see the finished version of the movie the kids are making in the film. Really funny.

Best line: “Drugs are so bad!”

Easily a solid 4 out of 5 stars. Very good stuff.

I was almost scared to go see Green Lantern. I’ve wanted this movie to rock since it was first announced in 2008. Close to three years I’ve been anticipating this film with excitement and dread. If they pulled it off, it could be pure awesome. If they screwed it up, it would fail miserably. I’ve followed the releases of trailers and clips, and I’ve been riding a roller coaster of emotions. The first trailer looked horrible. The second trailer looked way better. The third trailer looked better yet. Then a few released clips from the film dashed my hopes. Then, when it was finally released this month, the critics stomped the ashes of my hopes, ground them into the dirt, threw water on them, and spit on them for good measure. This film sits at 26% on Rotten Tomatoes as I write this. No one I know has said anything good about this.

I’m almost afraid to say it: I liked it.

I had a good time at this film. I may even like it better than Thor.

Were there problems? Absolutely. Interestingly, one of the places it failed was the same place Super 8 failed – the fatherhood angles. It just didn’t work the way it was intended. I think I would have structured the film differently, if I were in charge. I think it would have played better if we discovered everything along with Hal Jordan, for example. I also probably would have done away with paralleling the growth of Hal into Green Lantern and Hector Hammond into Parallax’s pawn. Hector just wasn’t interesting enough and there was some undeveloped backstory that was referred to as if we already knew it, too.

I also had some preconceived notions of who Hal was and this film certainly didn’t match them.

So those kinds of problems existed, and it’s not that I was unaware of them, but in the end I really didn’t care. I came out having had a good time. Even the released scene from the final battle that went a long way to convincing me I wouldn’t like the movie, came out looking fine within context (well, except for one bit, but I can let that slide). I’d see the sequel in a heartbeat.

I’ve been using Fantastic Four recently as my low watermark for barely watchable superhero movies. I was afraid I would have to start using Green Lantern in its place, but as it turns out that will be unnecessary. I really don’t understand why the general public hasn’t gotten behind this film. My wife enjoyed it. Why didn’t you, Mr. Public? I can see this film landing between 40% and 55% on Rotten Tomatoes, but 26% is too low.

As for me: 3.5 stars out of 5.