Saturday, December 10, 2011

Green Lantern Steelbook (Best Buy Exclusive) Review

Bruce Wayne is probably laughing his butt off right now...
Comic books are cool.  Nowhere can you find the perfect merging of great storylines and artwork in one place.  From Stan Lee's classic Captain America, to the Secret Wars, to the most recent Justice League New 52 and Marvel's Civil War, comic books take us to places that are only limited by our imagination.

I wish I could say the same for their movie counterparts.  That has certainly been a mixed bag - from brilliant (TDK & BB, Thor, Cap, IM) to downright forgettable (Elektra, Daredevil, Catwoman, Jonah Hex, Superman Returns), movie interpretations don't seem to get it.  Some films suffered at the macrp level: Watchmen, for all its absolute brilliance, should have been a trilogy.  Iron Man 2 didn't have a full working on the first day of filming.  Green Lantern is an example of this latter troupe of forgettable film, with everything going wrong that could have: a plodding storyline, poorly-chosen actors, silly action scenes that rely too much on CGI, and a finale that fails to deliver a knock-out punch.  The blu-ray release suffers in some key areas as well, but oher aspects bring home the bacon.

Video Quality - 3/5
As many have stated, there is some serious lighting issues going on with this movie.  Artisitically, you can see a lot of Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins and TDK in GL, where director Martin Campbell wants to emulate the dark world of the superhero.  Unfortunately for Campbell and Warner Bros, this transfer is stuck in the mud: black levels are a real problem, leaving some background scenes unnecessarily hidden; Hal's uniform, an issue for me in the theatres, looks even worse here; action sequences (like the finale) seem stuck in a murky mess.  You really have to wonder if Campbell and Warner actually knew what was happening as shooting commenced and dailies were reviewed; in this case, the fine adjustment during the movie-making process did not happen, nor was the process considered in the transfer.

Audio Quality - 5/5
If video quality is subpar, GL's soundboard is an entirely different story.  The DTS-encoded Master Audio results in what you'd expect: explosions are booming, dialogue is clear, and ambient sounds (traffic, crowd screams, and music) are mixed very well.  Anyone with a surround system is gonna love the sound parade that Campbell puts on. 

Special Features - 5/5
As a special feature-phile, I appreciated the diverse amount of offerings.  The blu-ray offers two versions of the film: the original 114-minute theatrical version, and a 123-minute extended cut.  However, the additional minutes do not help the film, and the DVD only contains the original cut.  This isn't a big deal, although I could understand other reviewers' apprehensions as consumers are still making the transition to HD.  Cast and crew interviews, additional deleted scenes, and a feature on Ryan Reynolds are all offered in HD.  The feature "The Universe According to Green Lantern" is an excellent introduction into the world of this character.  There are other offerings as well (Justice League digital comic book copy, a 7-minute proview of Green Lantern: The Animated Series) which help rescue the overall effect of the product from the pit of Parallax.  Best Buy's steelbook edition (the one I am reviewing) is absolutely gorgeous - check out the images below, especially the back cover and inside artwork.  BB should be commended for offering American audiences such worthwhile packaging.  I understand the embossed slipcase is nice as well.

A terrific Best Buy steelbook saves this offering.

Check out the gorgeous inside artwork - Sinestro would be...proud?

 Overall - 3.5/5
I can't say that Green Lantern: Extended Cut is the worst of the superhero offerings, but man it's close.  If it wasn't for the outstanding steelbook case and special features, I'm not sure I would have bought this film.  A poor transfer of disappointing movie is somewhat equalized by great sound, a solid list of features, and one of the best American steelbook offerings of 2011.  But with their uneven effort now affecting GL, where does this leave the DC film world?  As Batman begins his final, and hopefully most engaging, chapter can DC pick themselves off the ground to make a great GL sequel (Star Trek: The Motion Picture vs Wrath of Khan), or is this the shape of things to come (the ENTIRE Twilight series)?  For now, the prospects appear as dim as the video transfer of this product.  I smell the dreaded 'r' word ('reboot') in Hal Jordan's future...