A Blu GREEN LANTERN

So, the Green Lantern  Blu-Ray/DVD combo dropped this past weekend, and it’s being touted as “The Extended Cut”.

Don’t you believe it.

Well… OK. It is longer because they’ve added a sequence from 1993, in which young Hal Jordan skips school and beats a path to the airfield to see Dad Jordan die in a fiery ‘splosion.

Other than that, there’s not anything really that stands out as new footage. Really. Calling it “The Extended Cut” is a bit disingenuous, even if it’s technically correct.

So, the movie hasn’t changed, and you can read what I thought about it here. So this will focus on the extras on the Blu-Ray.

First, there’s a pretty spiffy preview of the new Green Lantern animated series coming to Cartoon Network. Even though I’m not sold on the trend toward “Clone Wars” type maquette CGI characters, I get it. That’s the new shiny. Like vampires. Or zombies. We just have to live with it. (Hey! What about animated CGI maquette zombie vampires that sparkle! Too much?)

Next, a digital copy of Justice League #1, part of the “New 52” that launched this year. Problem: there’s no intuitive navigation. I don’t know how many times I bumped back out to the menu because I couldn’t find the button to advance to the next page/screen. And on my TV the text is illegible. Pretty pictures, but the words got in the way. No zoom function?

Speaking of getting in the way, that leads me to the picture-in-picture commentary. Throughout the movie, a little pop-up screen comes up in the bottom right quadrant of the screen. Geoff Johns walks us through all sorts of behind-the-scenes features that should be separated as behind-the-scenes features on the disc. Commentary, you put in the audio track. But if you’re going to show me how you made the movie, show me that and nothing else.

And yes, I said “quadrant” there. The “commentary” picture takes up fully one-fourth of the screen. I got about fifteen minutes into it and had to turn it off. It’s that annoying to me.

Annoying: Blake Lively, still. Although, this time around, she wasn’t as annoying as Carol Ferris. But maybe that’s because I knew what to expect this time around. Lower expectations = less disappointment? Maybe.

I still think there are too many stories fighting for screen time, and I blame Geoff Johns for that. It feels like the movie is trying to get the audience up to speed on too many things at once, almost as if they felt they had to gamble on information overload so the audience would understand the Green Lantern mythology. (Even though according to Johns at New York Comic Con, Green Lantern 2 is still a possibility, so they could have spread it out).

If there is a sequel, here are a few suggestions (not that anyone’s going to listen to me):

1. Recast Carol Ferris with someone that understands what it means to be a leading lady. Someone who understands that Carol is a CEO, smart and sexy in the same package. Someone who will one day be one of Hal Jordan’s best enemies.

2. Make Hal Jordan less of a Kyle Rayner or Guy Gardner. Please, no more Daddy issues. That’s been done to death. Use the Silver Age Green Lantern as a standard. This whole “ability to overcome fear” thing is just overdone. Hal Jordan is Green Lantern because he’s fearless, by the standards of the ring. Let’s see that.

3. Introduce Oliver Queen. They were best friends throughout the Silver Age, even when they didn’t get along. The O’Neil/Adams run defined the two. And the differences in personality bring in so much potential. Plus, it’s a way to back-door Green Arrow into his own movie. Why not? It’s working for Marvel.

4. Assume your audience is intelligent. Don’t over-explain things. Don’t keep coming back to the same point over and over and over and over.

5. Sinestro is not the bad guy yet. Green Lantern 2 should focus on one thing: Hal Jordan becoming Green Lantern of sector 2814. Plant the seeds of Sinestro’s demise. Yes, I know. They already did this with Green Lantern: First Flight, and they did it well. But that was animated, and the live-action guys seem to think they can ignore these, so OK. Train the new guy. Conflict of styles between Sinestro and Killowog. Boodika, Tomar-Re and others can figure into this, especially now that there’s going to be a bit of hero worship for the guy who beat Parallax single-handedly. (And do we know for certain that Parallax is dead? This is science fiction, after all…)

OK, so there we are. The Blu-Ray is out. Feel free to visit our store if you want to pick up a copy.

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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