Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Green Lantern poll

Question: Which of the following aliens makes you not want to see Green Lantern the most?

Is it ...

A) This guy?

B) This guy?


C) This guy?

I don't know, aliens? I like sci-fi as much as the next guy, and I'm sure this is in keeping with the origins story of the character, but I just find it so ... alienating.


Travis McClain said...

I've been waiting for a Green Lantern movie nearly 20 years now, and I gotta say the last month has been a striking reminder to me how important it can be to just shut up about a movie that doesn't interest me. Someone out there is excited for it, and unless I've actually seen it I really shouldn't just go around putting it down. I'm not going after you personally with this, but after checking my blog roll today I'm reminded how strong the "Who cares?" reaction to this movie has been lately.

Anyway, to answer your question, Kilowog (C). Sinestro (A) will be far more important (even if it's not addressed in this film) and Tomar Re (B) is neat and voiced by Geoffrey Rush (always a plus), but I've always wanted more Kilowog in the comics and I'm thrilled to finally see him in a movie. Plus, he's voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan and I love to hear him speak. So long as they made any effort at all when writing his character, he should have some terrific dialog.

Vancetastic said...

One of the most regular debates I've had with other film lovers on the film blogosphere is whether it's a dubious practice to "review by trailer" on our blogs. I see both sides of the debate, but I ultimately come back to the idea that we're not saying the movie is going to be bad -- we're just sharing whether or not we want to see it. We've already made the determinations in our minds, so what's the harm in sharing? If Green Lantern can't survive a little harmless joking on my blog, then it's got worse problems.

But it comes down also to the difference in expectations you and I have coming in to it. You're anticipating it as a (presumably) lifelong fan of the comic. I'm looking at it as the much larger majority who are aware of the superhero but know little else about him. Speaking on behalf of what I imagine is quite a lot of us in my category, this movie has not done much to make me want to see it, and the fact that every scene in the trailer takes place either at night or in space doesn't help. I am predicting that extreme faithfulness to the mythology will hurt this movie and it will probably be a failure.

By the way, I think you answered the inverse of my question, but that was possibly intentional. :-)

Travis McClain said...

All fair points, and of course the purpose of a marketing scheme is to create a favorable first impression on the public. I don't mean to be so defensive, of course and I certainly did not intend to come off as accusatory in any way. I confess to some measure of apprehension, fearing that Green Lantern will feel more like a video game than a movie.

It's funny you point to fealty to source material as a liability for this film. For much of the last month, I've engaged in discussion about the problems plaguing the comics industry these days, where a scant 70,000 copies sold makes for a best-selling title.

If you think the movie trailer makes it appear too much for the lay audience, take a gander sometime at the ads from DC Comics promoting their Green Lantern collected editions. They're meant to be handy for newbies, but then you take a look at the page and quickly realize you're staring at about $200 worth of trade paperbacks. Any fans generated by this film, I suspect, will be entirely put off by the density of what's been going on in the comics. Will they start with the most recent and hope it makes sense? Will they start farther back, knowing how costly it will be to eventually get caught up?

In this regard, I sincerely hope that this film hasn't been too concerned with recreating panel-by-panel stories and instead has made a conscious effort to be accessible. One thing the marketing campaign really screwed up was not emphasizing that Martin Campbell is the director. I think it might comfort some wary viewers to know that the guy responsible for the two best Bond movies of the last 16 years (GoldenEye and Casino Royale) was at the helm.

The chief problem--and we see this increasingly happening with film franchises--is the sense that each story should "build" the universe, and take for granted that the audience is already up to speed. I think one of the elements that made the Bond and Indiana Jones movies so appealing was that you could watch any of them at any point and not need to have seen any others for them to make sense.

Storytelling across all media these days has become so self-important and bloated that if you're not willing to commit to the whole thing, it can be awfully discouraging. How many people started watching Lost after the first season? I know I didn't, because I was already too intimidated to start.

Back to Green Lantern, the easiest analog is to think of them as U.S. Marshals in the Old West. Each sector of space is assigned a Lantern. They've got rings capable of creating whatever the wearer can imagine. Think something of a cross between Jedi and Men in Black.

Vancetastic said...

And don't forget the excellent job Campbell did with the first Zorro movie. (He might have done a good job with the second Zorro movie as well, but I haven't seen it so I can't say.)

If anything it was probably me who was being defensive. I've taken some flak for prejudging movies, but I really enjoy writing a post about the new releases each Friday, which is inherently speculative. It keeps the blog feeling current, especially when I rarely see new releases in their opening weekend these days, so I can't write anything informed about them until they are already old hat. If that requires me to be a bit saucy and rake a few movies that may not deserve it over the coals, based only on superficial impressions and other observations that I consider to be somewhat clever, then that's how it has to be. I'll usually circle back and say I was wrong if it turns out to be the case. (Witness me making light of Tangled last fall, seeing it that afternoon, absolutely loving it, and writing an immensely supportive piece the very next day.) I think in an ideal world you would give every movie out there a completely fair shake, but I'm not writing this blog in a professional capacity, and I do like to speculate and be unjust from time to time if I think it serves some sense of readability in my blog. Besides, do I really have to give the next Alvin & the Chipmunks movie the benefit of the doubt?

As for Green Lantern specifically, I held no opinion about it one way or another except a general sense of "Oh, finally a Green Lantern movie" -- until I saw the first trailer. I just think that sci-fi is so hard to pull off, and such a niche market these days, that the amount of alien stuff you see in the ads is going to turn off people who just want to see a superhero movie. Might have been smarter to "surprise" people with all the alien stuff and get them in the door with more standard superhero stuff.

Dylan said...

Tough choice - they all look appropriately dumb in their own right. That said, I'm going with Fish Face: B.