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‘Green Lantern’ Blu-ray Review: A Treat for Fans of the Character

How’s the Movie?

Green Lantern Blu-rayGreen Lantern is a very kid-friendly superhero movie, which most people will rightfully interpret as code meaning “most adults will think it’s pretty stupid.” This Martin Campbell-directed live-action take on DC Comics’ intergalactic space cop hero is syrupy pulp. It’s playful and silly and filled with images and characters that are practically a Marketing God’s gift to Warner Bros.’ toy department. It’s also goofy with an anti-climactic script that somehow feels unfocused, rushed and overly long at the same time.

But even with all of its glaring problems, Green Lantern is still a fun flick. Forgettable, yes, but thanks to a mostly interesting cast (Reynolds is as perfect as the hero as Peter Sarsgaard is as the newly created lethargic nemesis, but side roles belonging to Blake Lively and Angela Bassett seem lost) it’s worth at least a rental down the road– if you’re generally a fan of superhero movies that is. If you’re not, this isn’t going to convert you. But what say the review aggregrators?

IMDB: 6.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 27% Rotten with critics, but 50% liked by the audience
Metacritic: 39 / 100, but with a 6.1 user score

What are the vital stats on the disc?

Green Lantern Blu-ray Menu

Studio: Warner Bros.
Release Date: October 14, 2011
Edition: Extended Cut (a 3D Blu-ray is also available)
Number of Discs: 2 (1 Blu-ray, 1 DVD)
Digital Copy: Yes

Runtime: 114 Minutes, Theatrical – 123 Minutes, Extended Cut
Video: 1080p, MPEG-4 AVC, 2.40:1 Aspect Ratio
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1, Portugese DD 5.1, Thai DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portugese, Indonesian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Thai
Region: Free

How does it look and sound?

Green Lantern Blu-ray ScreenshotGreen Lantern Blu-ray Screenshot

It’s hard to review the picture quality on a movie like Green Lantern because a lot of the complaints are going to come down to the film’s special effects. Oh, the presentation of it is about as pristine as you can expect from a Hollywood tentpole film like this, but the uneven quality in the film’s effects handicap the overall visual impression of the film. The live-action stuff looks great, but once people (and creatures) start flying around or using psychic powers, it gets stuck in an uncanny valley. Sure, the colors and deep and vibrant, but there can often be so much going on that it’s hard to appreciate exactly what you’re seeing.

But even if the film’s effects occassionally look either lifeless or unfinished, the same cannot be said of the sound mix. It’s powerful and wonderfully balanced. No dialogue is lost to the roar of the score or the sounds of alien mayhem.  It all surrounds in this kick-ass net of audio so bombastic it’ll make you forgive occasional blurs of CGI.

Anything exclusive to the Blu-ray?

Quite a lot, actually.  The extended cut of the film is only available on BD, but its extra 9-minutes of material are mostly inconsequential except for a new segment of the film showing much more of Hal as a child. Almost all of the worthwhile features here are exclusive to the BD, the highlights being:

Green LanternGreen Lantern concept Art

Green Lantern’s Light – This is WB’s familiar Maximum Movie Mode, which for the uninitiated is a mixture of behind-the-scenes materials that play like a picture-in-picture commentary track throughout the running of the film. It’s intended to be a sort of guided tour through the film, and it works great in that regard if you’re already a fan of the film and character. If you’re not, however, the often tedious nature of these modes will not warrant you basically watching the film a second time just to see all of these mini-featurettes. That’s not because it’s a particularly poor MMM, there aren’t too many dry stretches between bits, but because almost all of the crucial behind-the-scenes material is ground covered in Focus Points, a more concise featurette on the disc.

Green Lantern Concept ArtGreen Lantern Make-up

Focus Points (47 minutes) – Eight segments comprise this collective special feature and they can be viewed individually or watched in a “play all” chain: The Art of Green Lantern, Weapons Hot: The U.C.A.V. Dog Fight, Reinventing the Superhero Costume, Ring Slingin 101, We are the Corps, Acting Under 10 Pounds of Silicone, Guardians Revealed, When Parallax Attacks.

This isn’t just a repeat of everything that’s in Green Lantern’s Light, though. It’s an exhaustive look at the making of the film from the ground-up, and, if you (as I did) found the movie to be amusing but very busy, this will surely make you appreciate the movie more. Many incredibly talented people were involved with the crafting of this quirky superhero, from creature designer Neville Page to production designer Grant Major (The Lord of the Rings) to costume designer Ngila Dickson. This is very much so an artist’s film and Focus Points celebrates it with great depth. It’s just a shame that the script hadn’t been as meticulously conceived as everything else in the film.

Green Lantern Making OfGreen Lantern Universe

Now if you happen to like Green Lantern the comic(s) considerably more than you do Green Lantern the movie, there is a 20-minute Universe According to Green Lantern featurette dealing exclusively with the print version of the character and the men and women responsible for keeping him going strong after all these years. Beyond that, there’s a 7-minute preview of Green Lantern: The Animated Series, and a 9-minute special on Ryan Reynolds becoming Hal Jordan, but both of these are fairly superficial marketing materials.

Oh, and if you’re a gamer looking forward to Batman: Arkham City, some retailers are including a code for a Sinestro Corps Batman Skin for the PS3 version, though it’s unclear at this point who exactly will be carrying those copies. There should be a sticker on the cardboard slipcover announcing it (there was on the review copy, at least), so look for that if you want your Batman with more orange yellow on his chest.

What about non-exclusive features?

Green Lantern Deleted SceneGL Blu Justice Leage 1

There are pretty slim offerings here, but don’t take that as a terrible sign, because the HD side of things outlined above has all the good stuff. There’s a digital comic book (Justic League #1) that can be flipped through on screen (though even on a computer monitor, it’s hardly ideal reading), as well as a 7-minutes worth of deleted scenes. None are particularly eye-opening, and they all range in unfinished quality from shot footage to animatics, but at least one involving Sarsgaard and a hamster is amusing.

Final thoughts?

Green Lantern Concept Art

It’s hardly a surprise, but this is the kind of Blu-ray that really does treat fans right. If you’re a champion of Green Lantern, you’ve got plenty here to enjoy and there’s little doubt that you’ll get a huge kick out of seeing all the film’s many artists explaining in great detail how most (if not all) of the film was made. If you already dislike the film, seeing the sheer volume of labor and love that went into creating it won’t exactly change your mind about its problems as a whole, though it will help you look past some of them.

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