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Green Lantern 3D Blu-ray Review
By James Harvey

Click Here!No one will ever mistake Green Lantern for something like The Dark Knight or X-Men: First Class. Itís a watchable movie, yes, but I found it got treated maybe a bit too harshly when it was released to theatres earlier this year. Yes, it failed to live up to its potential, no question about it, but was it on par with the likes of Catwoman or Batman and Robin? No. In fact, if this movie was released even a decade earlier, I am pretty confident the critical response to it would have been much different, but thatís a moot point. Letís take a closer look at flawed DC Comics summer tentpole flick Green Lantern.

In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. A brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers. But when a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds). Hal is a gifted and cocky test pilot, but the Green Lanterns have little respect for humans, who have never harnessed the infinite powers of the ring before. But Hal is clearly the missing piece to the puzzle, and along with his determination and willpower, he has one thing no member of the Corps has ever had: humanity. With the encouragement of fellow pilot and childhood sweetheart Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), if Hal can quickly master his new powers and find the courage to overcome his fears, he may prove to be not only the key to defeating Parallax...he will become the greatest Green Lantern of all.

To be blunt, Green Lantern is a flawed, uneven film. Director Martin Campbell tries to make a space epic that's also grounded in reality just doesn't work. Both of those ideas just clash together and, ultimately, we end up with what feels (and occasionally looks) like two completely different movies. That being said, it's not a terrible movie. It's serviceable and watchable, but not the outright abomination that many feel it to be. Watching it again on Blu-ray, my opinion remains unswayed. Does the film work and better or worse? Not at all. It remains...pretty much the same.

When Green Lantern is good, it's very good. The special effects, for the majority, look amazing. Hal's first trip into space is a great, fast-paced sequence that is flawless in execution. When he arrives on Oa, the homebase of the Corps, it all feels real and tangible. Yes, there are a few instances where Ryan Reynold's "real" head looks out of place amidst all of the "fake" special effects, but looking at all those's pretty spectacular. It just looks great. Ditto with the action sequences, as brief as most of them are. The constructs, created by Hal's ring, looks really great and are perfectly brought to life. Even some of the more sillier ones, like springs or giant fists, look dead-on and as believable as they can in context of the film. That's pretty amazing, since the film is always trying to ground itself in reality.

The actors do work to sell the premise of the film, too. They play it as straight as possible, which works for the most part. Mark Strong is absolutely perfect as fellow Green Lantern Sinestro, bringing a darker edge to the Green Lantern Corps. Peter Saarsgaard is great as an oily, self-loathing scientist who unknowingly finds himself in the middle of ages-old clash between the Corp and an evil entity. The whole cast does well, actually, save for Blake Lively who seems a little out of her element here.

And there's a lot in this movie, too. When you think about it, this film jams an unbelievable amount of content in a relatively short running time. Especially when you consider all the backstory that needs to be filled in, exposition that needs to be laid out, in addition to filling us in on all the main characters, and so on so forth. There is a lot here. But....we don't see all of it. Or enough of it. It's lost amidst some questionable editing and pacing. What should be an epic journey for Hal seems truncated and cut short, the viewer only catching the Coles Notes version of it all. Subplots are hinted at or even directly referenced too, but never followed up on or even acknowledged later in the movie. The short running time definitely hurts the film, though the extended version does alleviate that somewhat. Allowing for a bit more room to breathe, though still leaving some of the same unresolved plot problems. The film just eventually ditches all of this for a big climactic battle between Green Lantern and Parallex that, even after that is all said and done, we're given a quick epilogue and that's it. Credits role. Say what you will about the movie, it never slowed down from start to finish and actually remained pretty engaging for the duration.

There are valid criticisms against this movie, no question. The main villain - essentially a cloud of black smoke that devours fear - is pretty uninteresting. A neat concept, but likely one that would have been better conceptualized in a different manner, maybe as a Lantern or (spoiler!) in the creature's original Guardian form (don't worry, we learn about that in the movie's admittedly cool prologue). When Hal Jordan battles this creature there's no sense of danger, nor does it feel as epic as it should. It just seems like Hal is tossing a few tricks at the creature before taking the fight off-world. And even then, the conclusion of the fight feels somewhat anti-climactic. The film builds up for an epic finale, with the Green Lantern Corp facing off against this evil creature, but...we don't get that. In fact, we barely see members of the Corp save for a few cameos here and there and a few quick trips to Oa. Given the director - who rebooted James Bond in the incredible Casino Royale - a hand-to-hand fight with the ability to make ring constructs thrown in would have been very, very cool. Also, Hal's quick departure - and then return - to the Green Lantern Corp feels like a blip and has no weight nor does it make any sense in the context of the film. If the line where Hal states he's leaving the Corp was cut it would have had little to no effect on the end product of the film. In fact, it may have improved it somewhat.

Still, this feels like a film that was heavily dictated and controlled by the movie executives. You can almost see it with every frame, every cut, every word. It's no surprise the end result is a rather serviceable film when it should've been a major blockbuster.

That all being said, I still enjoyed this movie. Even with all its faults. While it is undoubtedly the weakest super-hero movie of the summer, I have to say I enjoyed it more than Thor, which I found to be kind-of cookie-cutter and bland. True, the same can be said about this movie, but there's this inexplicable sense of charm and wonder about this film that lifts up even the weakest parts of the film. Maybe it's the potential we all see in this film, and how - try as it might - it just doesn't quite get there. The design work I still find to be pretty astonishing, the acting is pretty solid across the board - save for one of two exceptions - and watching the Green Lantern mythos come to life is still pretty amazing to see (though I do wish we saw more).

To quickly comment on the new footage, it's a mixed bag. While we don't really get anything new with the Green Lantern Corp, we get a nice amount of background information on Hal Jordan, including an extended flashback to the day his father dies. The flashback actually cements the connection between Hal, Carol, and Hector only hinted about in the theatrical version, and it really should have remained in the film. Not only does it add some depth to the main characters of the film, it also adds some context to Hal's eventual disastrous test flight early in the film. Outside of that, the new content is the odd extended moment here or there that doesn't really add anything else to the film.

Perhaps I can't help but also feel a little sorry for this film and all involved. I still think the critical drubbing it got upon its theatrical release was really overboard, and I doubt the extended cut found here will really change any opinions. While the extended cut does feel a bit roomier, and it does add a nice few personal touches to the story that felt lost in the theatrical version, many of the same problems of the film remain. The weak villain, the inconsistent acting, the I said, I could go on. But even though this film has so much working against it, it's has this unlikely pull. At least for me. I won't stand up and say this is a great movie. But regardless, I liked this film nonetheless and I would definitely recommend others to check this film out for themselves before drawing their own conclusions. You just might be surprised.

The Blu-ray:

Moving on to the Blu-ray release of Green Lantern, Warner Home Video has provided a nice home video release for the big-budget summer flick. Available on both 3D Blu-ray and regular Blu-ray, the studio have given Green Lantern a serious helping of bonus content.

Click Here!Looking first at the video and audio quality found on the regular 2D Blu-ray, I'm somewhat disappointed in the video. It seems to be tinted darker than it should be. Blacks are deep and full, yes, but shadows seem a bit more thicker than they should, with bright colors never feeling fully...well...bright. For example, the color white never pops as much as it should and visibly looks a shade or two darker. Also, Hal Jordan's Green Lantern costume doesn't seem to pop as it did on the big screen. There are times when the image appears a bit muddy, with compression and blocking very, very apparent. It's a surprising transfer given the high, high quality WHV usually churns out. The 3D version of the film features all the same identical problems - too dark - but now it's somewhat hidden in a weak post-conversion 3D job. Thankfully, the audio is absolutely killer! Dialogue is clear and well-balanced throughout. While it may get lost once or twice during some of the bigger set pieces, never once was it difficult to make out or understand. The movie also takes full adventure of the audio mix with pretty much every channel getting a stellar workout. Whether it's a gigantic explosion or a massive fear-sucking creature, the sound is usually pretty rocking. Everything sounds immersive and pretty robust.

So...what of the special features? Well, they're pretty excellent. The biggest extra feature is, of course, the extended edition of the film, clocking in at an additional nine minutes. Some of the new content does add to the movie - like the extended flashback - but the rest is mostly superfluous.

Moving on, the disc starts up with trailers for DC Comics: The New 52 and Green Lantern: The Animated Series, but trailers for the main feature surprisingly missing in action.

Up next is the Maximum Movie Mode, hosted by DCE Chief Creative Office and comic writer Geoff Johns, who takes the viewer through an assortment of behind the scenes details. MMM looks at the film's development, the special effects, character deigns, costume work, bios, trivia and more. It's a wealth of information that fans of the character and movie (heck, even those who don't like the movie) will definitely enjoy. All of the featurettes from the MMM are also available separately as Focus Points. All in all, Warner Home Video once again does an excellent, excellent job on creating a nice, immersive experience with the Maximum Movie Mode.

A small collection of featurettes are up next, including "The Universe According to Green Lanter," which takes a closer look at the Green Lantern lore, including the character's comic book background. It runs roughly twenty minutes but still packs in enough details to entertain casual or die-hard fans. Afterwards we get a short 10-minute look at how Ryan Reynolds became the Green Lantern in the obviously-titled "Ryan Reynolds Becomes the Green Lantern." It's a quick look at the CGI suit, his training and research and his approach to the beloved comic character.

After that, the disc is wrapped up with seven minutes of deleted scenes - most of which were wisely cut but actually would've been nice to see in the extended cut, a Justice League #1 digital comic, a preview of Green Lantern: The Animated Series, a PS3 code to unlock the Sinestro Corp Batman costume for the upcoming Batman: Arkham City game, and an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film. To note, the 6-minute Green Lantern: The Animated Series preview is the high-definition version of the same 6-minute preview released earlier this year. The CGI does look better in high definition, I have to admit.

Both a standard definition and digital copy of the film are featured on an included DVD along with the previously mentioned 3D-version on a separate Blu-ray disc.

All in all, it's a solid Blu-ray release for Green Lantern, though fans may want to skip the 3D release and stick with the 2D. Personally, the 3D does nothing for the film. The regular Blu-ray title features a fine release for the film - adequate video, excellent audio and a very nice selection of bonus features - and is obviously the best way to check out the summer super-hero adventure. Is it a perfect film? Far from it, but it's neither as terrible as it is made out to be. I would definitely recommend giving this film at least a rental before deciding whether or not to add it to your home video collection. It has its fair share of problems, but I still manage to find the film inexplicably enjoyable to watch. If you haven't caught the film, check it out. Like I said above, you just might be surprised by what you see.

This October 14th, Green Lantern flies onto Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group.

Green Lantern will be available on Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, featuring a 3D hi-definition, a hi-definition, a standard definition and an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the standard definition theatrical version of the film, for $40.99; Blu-ray Combo Pack, featuring a hi-definition, a standard definition and an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the standard definition theatrical version of the film, for $35.99; and on single disc DVD with UltraViolet Digital Copy for $28.98. The extended cut will be in hi-definition on the Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack only.

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