Green Lantern – Review

Green Lantern (2011) 

Directed by Martin Campbell. Starring Ryan ReynoldsBlake LivelyPeter Sarsgaard.

I should probably start by stating few facts about my position with Green Lantern and superheroes in general.

First of all my only little knowledge of Green Lantern came actually from an episode of “The Big Bang Theory“, other than that, I didn’t even know there was such a comic until I read that Martin Campbell was going to make a movie. In other words, I wasn’t really a fan (and let me spoil you the surprise: I’m still not one!!).

However,  I always try to be as open-minded as possible, in fact I was quite excited to learn something new about a new superhero. The fact that I hardly knew the existence of Green Lantern had nothing to do with me not liking the film: I wasn’t a fan of Thor either, and yet I did manage to enjoy the film for what it was (here’s my Thor review) and as far as the X-Men I knew next to nothing when the first Bryan Singer movie got released and still liked it. Finally, I should also point out that I have nothing against comic superheros either (in fact I still consider Spiderman 2 one of the best action movies of the last few years!).

Green Lantern opens with a very confusing prologue, visually unoriginal and heavy in exposition, characters and soulless CGI. And as it got louder and louder, more and more frantic the whole thing got even more confusing.  I must confess, the film lost me right from the word “go”,  but I decided that it didn’t really  matter: “It’s a comic! How hard can it be?” I said to myself. Thankfully I was right and when finally the action cuts to planet Earth I was able find my bearings again, though the feeling of boredom stayed with me throughout.

Once we are finally introduced to our hero, played by Ryan Reynolds,  I realise that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t really know how to take this film. Reynolds seems to be just as confused as he plays the character sometimes with a complete straight face and sometimes with a smirk irony as if he knew that the whole thing is just preposterous. He’s likable enough, but sadly lacks of any emotional depth. The only thing left to marvel at, is his perfect body which only made me even more annoyed and jealous: in fact it distracted me even more as my mind started to wonder “when was the last time I actually went to the gym?”

Director Campbell, never really seems to be in control of what’s going on and instead he decides to cram the film with as much noise as possible  hoping it might distract his audience from thinking that this is actually all a bit of a mess… The result is that sometimes even some of the dialogue gets lost (though I’m prepared to bet that despite those 4 writer being credited, I didn’t really miss much). Campbell clearly feels uneasy with this universe and doesn’t quite know what to make of it. The whole philosophical side is just ridiculous, the action scenes are too messy, the special effects underwhelming and the love story is so flat that it becomes redundant.

The pace is completely off and for a film of this kind which lasts just under two hours, I found myself looking at my watch way too often.
The editing is just as uncertain just like the rest of the film, as Stuart Baird seems to be randomly cutting to wide shots and close-ups, irrespective of what the action would require and not taking into account that a film in 3D should really hold its shots for much longer, otherwise the 3D effect is lost on its audience. But then again, who cares about 3D! This is another of those films that’s been converted into 3D after it was filmed (and my God, it shows!!) and I suspect will have a very short life in this form: many people will probably watch it on DVD or on TV anyway, so why bother cutting it for the 3D format. Those action scenes, particularly at the beginning, are so fast that you really have no idea what’s going on.

It doesn’t really help the fact that there are way too many characters, obviously introduced to us because of a possible sequel (clearly set up in the end credits with a silly plot twist): after all today it’s all about franchises, isn’t it? (Bloody hell, Warner, aren’t you happy with your 8 Harry Potter films and your never-ending Batman?! Do you really want to embark into another franchise? ).

Peter Sarsgaard plays a sleazy over-the-top baddie without a proper script to allow him to actually be one of those really good baddieMark Strong is pretty much wasted, not to mention Tim Robbins in what is possibly his most forgettable role in years. Angela Bassett plays is as if she’s been told “you’re not allowed to show any emotion, in fact deliver those lines thinking of something else…”. Even Geoffrey Rush who probably had a couple of hours spare in his schedule was just happened to pass by the film set, lends his voice for one of the character sounding pretty much like one of those Owl from that film by Zack Snyder.

Finally James Newton Howard‘s film soundtrack (who I usually really like) is as derivative as all the rest. Not bad, but certainly unremarkable, just like the film itself.

In the end, this is probably out there with some of the most disappointing comic book movies of all times (Elektra, Daredevil, Spawn, The Avengers, the 1998  versions, just to mention a few…). Its main crime is that it thinks is a lot better than it is… and that it must have cost a lot of money too!!

One positive note: I did like the costume…

4.5/10

If you enjoyed this Review you might like the ones on THOR, HARRY POTTER 7.1, INCEPTION, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, TRON: LEGACY

Check out more reviews here

 

 

 

Buried – Review

Buried (8.5/10) 

Directed by Rodrigo Cortés. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Stephen Tobolowsky, Samantha Mathis.

Let me just start by saying that this film is brilliant!! I had heard about the concept (90 minutes with a man stuck in a box/coffin with a lighter and a cell phone) and I was already waiting for pretty claustrophobic experience. However, what I also found was an incredible roller-coaster of an action movie, wonderfully told, constructed, directed and perfectly balanced. And, more importantly, despite its premise, it was never boring, slow or repetitious (I don’t think there’s a single shot being repeated twice). In fact, they even managed to have a couple of really tense action scenes: yes action scenes within a box!!!

The director has been very brave to even attempt something like this, but he’s also been able to play the game within the rules he had set up and never cheat: the camera never leaves the confinements of the coffin. This is a film that Hitchcock could have made, and he would have made him proud!

You know you’re in for something quite interesting from the title sequence itself, which once again is reminiscent of those Saul Bass titles in a Hitchcock’s movies. They’re beautifully designed, perfectly paced and they’re accompanied by a sort of “Hermanesque”score that you would probably expect from an action movies, but not from a movie which you know it’s going to take place inside a coffin.

And that pace, energy and inventiveness permeates the whole film from there onwards.

The first few minutes are probably the toughest to watch (well, in fact there’s very little to watch since most of that time is spent on a black screen): it’s the moment when our character realizes he is “buried” alive.  It’s a claustrophobic experience, beautifully orchestrated just with simple sound effects of his body moving around, thumping against the side of the coffin (the use of the 5.1 sound is impressive), breathing heavily and then finally screaming. It is excruciating! At one point I remember thinking to myself: “If it is all like this I don’t know if I’ll be able to take it…”.

But somehow, once the film gets going and the mystery unravels, then you almost became used to the settings, just like the main characters gets used to it too.

I don’t really want to give away too much, because part of the fun is discovering what’s going as the story unfolds. The script is beautifully constructed,  giving the audience new and interesting clues every few minutes, thus making us always intrigued and, as I said before never bored.

There’s a sequence involving a snake at some point, that might be a bit of a cheap trick but actually ends up being one of the most accomplished action-packed moment I’ve seen in any action film this season. To be able to pull something like that off, it is an achievement indeed!!

And just when you think the film may run out steam, here comes a new idea and a new trick in the bag. I may even go as far as saying that despite the overall silliness of this movie, it is at the same time one of the most accomplished and inventive I’ve seen in a while.

Technically it is pretty much faultless too: the camera swoops around the box showing you the action from any conceivable point of view and using pretty much any every trick in the book (zooms, tracks, extreme close-ups and so on). The sound design and sound mix on this film are both just as important and they are both top-notch, as they’re so carefully balanced to making you really feel you’re in there inside the box.

I am looking forward to seeing what the BluRay will look and sound like (This will be coming out around Valentine’s Day, although I cannot think of a worse date movie…).

I should also spend a couple of words praising Ryan Renolds, who literally carries the whole film on his shoulders as he’s on screen from every single second.

The music, as I mentioned before for the title sequence, treats it all like a real action movie and to me that was probably slightly overdone. It works for most of the film, but I can’t help thinking it was a bit too bombastic in a few other places.

But I am really picking needles here and I shouldn’t, because this is a little MASTERPIECE: it’s not just a tagline or a gimmicky one-trick-movie, but it’s a true lesson on creating and building tension in a movie.

Rodrigo Cortes understand film-making, how to build tension and how to sustain it throughout. He’s been able to create an action film which is also, moving and funny in places. I can’t wait what he’s going to do next.

I can see that “Buried” might not be for everyone, and it’s definetely not for the faint-hearted or those people who suffers from claustrophobia, but if you like tension, thrillers, action romps or simply good film-making and pure cinema this is for you!

8.5/10

OTHER RELATED REVIEWS:

 127 Hours

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: