Editor’s note: We all love movies, but rather than ask a syndicated columnist who has never visited our beautiful High Desert, we commissioned our own local movie critic: Nolan P. Smith to review films and give us a local perspective. Enjoy!
High Desert Daily
(Apple Valley)-In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night: does DC Comic’s emerald ring-slinger shine in the hero’s first jump to the big screen, or is the light snuffed out before the journey even begins?
The film has been on the mind of comic book fans all year, as controversy was at every turn. With a lack of advertising until the final push, production and casting going on all the way up until April (Michael Clarke Duncan wasn’t cast to play Kilowog until April), the film seemed to live on shaky ground. So, how did the film stand up to the hero’s legacy?
Attending a midnight showing in Apple Valley, I was very nervous for this opening for many reasons: for one, at 11pm there were only six people lined up including myself. I had never attended a midnight opening with such a minimal line. This changed as 11:50 drew near, as every seat that the eye can see had been taken by a diverse crowd of moviegoers: families, comic fans wearing their Green Lantern rings proudly, children dressed in the green and black uniform, and more. There was a sense of silence about how the film would be: no one was talking about the negatives or positives heard before the showing. Everyone waited for the emerald twilight to come upon us: so did it measure up to recent comic book movie hits like Thor? The Dark Knight? Or did it plunder like Jonah Hex and Dylan Dog?
Green Lantern was definitely more on the side of the angels, thankfully. The film felt like a classic, old school comic type of movie. A popcorn flick that doesn’t take itself too serious, and it shouldn’t. This is not “The Dark Knight” and it never claims to be. This movie is about a fearful, irresponsible man discovering who he is. Ryan Reynolds plays the legendary Hal Jordan, test pilot and first human Green Lantern, and he does a great job doing so. Reynolds brings his comedic flavor to the character, but it doesn’t detract from who the character is. Blake Lively plays the love interest, Carol Ferris, to a T. Yet, I must say the show stealer of the film is iconic film villain portrayer Mark Strong as Sinestro. Strong fits the character more than I could have imagined, and seeing his performance really makes me hope there is a sequel. Yet, the film isn’t all heavenly. A few aspects keep this film from being the best comic book movie of the year thus far.
The main aspect that holds back this otherwise incredible film is the villain: yes, Parallax, the fear entity, is cool, but Hector Hammond (played by Peter Sarsgaard) is everything but cool or fear inducing. With much of the film dedicated to this large headed character that you can care less about, I felt cheated the screen time was wasted on him, where it could have been used to highlight more of the Green Lantern Corps. There lies the second negative aspect: despite all the posters and previews showing Sinestro, Kilowog and other alien lanterns, the screen time of all of them put together is frighteningly small.
Besides those two gripes, I felt the movie captured the essence of Green Lantern. The special effects looked rough at a few spots, but overall incredible. The constructs built using the ring made me feel like a kid again, as I always imagined how cool it would be to create objects out of just concentrating on them. If you are going in expecting a masterpiece, then I’m sorry. But if you go in expecting a great time at the theater, then you won’t be disappointed. Also, make sure to wait till the end of the first cinematic credits; you don’t want to miss the hidden scene.