Don't get me wrong, Campbell knows how to craft a realistic action-thriller, as evidenced by GOLDENEYE and CASINO ROYALE. (Okay, VERTICAL LIMIT too.) But I think he's the wrong guy for this genre and this particular job—though GREEN LANTERN's shortcomings definitely don't fall on his feet alone. The script, from four writers led by Greg Berlanti (LIFE AS WE KNOW IT, "Everwood") is a complete mess and somehow takes a $200+ million budget and makes a fairly boring movie out of it. Even the Extended Cut featured on this Blu-Ray, which fleshes out the humans a bit more (yes, the three main characters did know each other when they were kids), still doesn’t help fix all of its big problems.
Mainly, GREEN LANTERN thinks you're stupid. Even with its rich, celestial mythology, a majority of the movie feels wholly unnecessary, stuffed with superfluous exposition and plot points we just don't need. One of the best examples is Hal Jordan's backstory. The film opens with Hal as a kid and the tragedy of his father's death. It then jumps to grown up Hal, who within 5 minutes, has a full flashback to the childhood we just saw! GREEN LANTERN is filled with stuff like this, making you slog through ninety minutes of setup before you really get to the title character. With the Extended Cut, it's nearly an hour before Jordan dons the suit, then we spend another hour with his brief training on Oa and his waffling about whether he wants to actually be a hero, before finally in the last 20 minutes we actually have Green Lantern, as promised, fighting against a giant sludge monster from space. I'd have no problem with the pace or all the character stuff if it was executed well. But those final 20 minutes actually work well as a creative superhero action film, which makes the rest of the movie that more frustrating.
We've been waiting for Ryan Reynolds to be a superhero for a long time now and he does his best with the character here, providing a lot of the film's goodwill. He'd definitely make a fantastic Green Lantern in a better film. Reynolds does "cocky yet likable" very well, but the script makes him really work for it by writing Hal Jordan as an immature whiner for most his screen time. Peter Sarsgaard on the other hand actually has something to work with as Hector Hammond and the actor seems to be having fun as an effective over-the-top villain. Tim Robbins and Angela Basset (playing DCU staple Amanda Waller) are quite wasted though, and all I'll say about Jordan's love interest Carol Ferris is "Blake Lively is to fighter pilot as Denise Richards is to nuclear physicist."
GREEN LANTERN's special effects are definitely impressive (even the Lantern suit) and probably the showcase of the entire film. While the action in the movie is pretty minimal, what's there does work. Same for the outer space element, which should set GREEN LANTERN apart as something cinematically unique to the superhero genre. Most of the extraterrestrial stuff is cool to look at, but unfortunately is also fairly brief and shallow, which is a shame because Mark Strong makes for a great Sinestro. Like with everything else, what does work about GREEN LANTERN is ultimately hindered by its script.
Maximum Movie Mode: You might've seen this option on other films like WATCHMEN and HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. It offers a picture in picture video commentary, behind the scenes snippets, art, trivia and other branching featurettes. Hosted by comic writer Geoff Johns, this is an immersive "experience" chock full of info for fans in a visually stimulating way. While Johns did consult on the film, the fact that he leads this instead of the writers or director is telling, however.
Focus Points (46:55): If Maximum Movie Mode is too much for you, you can still watch all the produced BTS segments here. There's some good stuff, including a lot on the effects work (15 layers of VFX to make each ring construct!), the impressive make-up, space setting, Reynold's CG costume and more.
Deleted Scenes: A few segments that didn't even make it in to the Extended Cut, including Sarsgard telekinetically playing with a hamster, a bit more with Sinestro and Hal that fleshes out their relationship (plus, you get to see Reynolds in his motion capture suit), and an extra scene with Hal and his nephew during the final battle.
Ryan Reynolds Becomes The Green Lantern (8:46): Reynolds discusses what drew him to the character, how he mentally and physically prepared, and some of the stunt work he had to do. (A lot of the big action beats were done practical, which is a shame because in the finished film they look all-CG .) You also get interviews with Geoff Johns about the character, cast and crew talking about how great Reynolds is and more.
The Universe According to Green Lantern (20:11): Important comic writers, artists and even some diehard fans discuss Green Lantern's history in the comics and compare it to the film.
Justice League #1 Digital Comic (9:13): Digitally flip through the first issue in DC's "New 52" comic relaunch.
"Green Lantern: The Animated Series" Preview (6:30): Ironically, the writing here looks a lot better, but I'm not a huge fan of the animation style used.
An Ultraviolet Digital Copy and "Batman: Arkham City" PS3 Character Skin Code are also included.
Extra Tidbit: The stinger at the end of the film with Sinestro makes absolutely no sense within the context of the story.