It’s no secret that Superman and Batman are the two biggest characters in the DC comic and movie universes, but the famous duo may have to clear space next year when fan-favorite Green Lantern shines in theaters.
Most of Warner Bros.' decisions, so far, have all been the right ones as they attempt to bring a second-tier DC character to the big screen – hiring Martin Campbell (Casino Royal) to direct, bringing Greg Berlanti (Dirty Sexy Money), Michael Goldenberg (Contact) and Marc Guggenheim (Eli Stone) onboard to write the screenplay, securing the musical talents of composer James Howard (The Dark Knight) and casting fanboy favorite Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) as Green Lantern himself.
However, the filmmakers' decision to ditch the standard latex/leather/spandex combination for Green Lantern’s superhero costume in favor of a more modern, completely CG costume remains the most questionable choice they've made to date.
WB and other involved parties have supported this decision from the get go - at least publicly - telling fans to expect a truly masterful sight on screen. However, every trailer or picture released up to this point doesn’t seem to support their claims. After taking a good hard look at more stills from the Green Lantern trailer, I’m very worried the SFX of this movie may be headed into realm of SyFy channel original movie.
Before fanboys starting coming at me with the “CG isn’t done yet” argument, I fully understand there are still likely hundreds of man hours worth of work left on SFX. But I have to call foul on that argument because a trailer is supposed to give potential audiences a reason to see a film...not reasons to doubt a film’s success.
Putting out shoddy CG and expecting viewers to forgive it because it's unfinished is like a five-star chef serving food while he’s still preparing it, then telling his patrons, “Don’t worry; it’ll taste better when I'm finished cooking it.” No one would wait around to find out if he is true to his word; they would just move on to better food.
The first picture of Reynold as Green Lantern which debuted on the cover of Entertainment Weekly looked pretty good even if the “alien grooved” concept wasn’t warmly received right away – but from there it has mostly been a downhill slide. The transformation scene at the end of the first trailer (see the picture at top) was almost laughable because of the cheap looking CGI and off-putting tone of the color scheme. These latest pictures aren’t helping the situation either.
Nothing really seems to have changed in this latest round of stills – the color scheme is still off, the suit still looks too fake, the hands, arms and feet look ridiculous and then there’s the awful mask. Even if the CG animators are able to fix the colors and add more realism to the suit, if they aren’t able to make Green Lantern’s mask look like it actually belongs on Reynolds’s face then the entire suit concept is sunk.
As the suit looks right now, there is no way it could possibly make our top six superhero costumes list – although it could reside easily next to Steel and the infamous “Bat Nipples” of 1997. There have been plenty of great-looking practical superhero costumes made for movies in the past few years, and there have been plenty of movie characters who were either created entirely from CG or at least enhanced with it.
Marvel’s Incredible Hulk looked fantastic as an entirely CG character and James Cameron’s epic film Avatar consisted almost entirely of CG created Na’vi and those looked incredible as motion capture characters - so why then can’t the Green Lantern suit look just as good?
Answer – because neither the Hulk nor the Na’vi tried to combine the flesh and blood tones of a live actor with a CG effects. This is, as I see it, the main problem with the Green Lantern suit. Reynolds’ face doesn’t look like he’s wearing a mask, there’s no bunching or indentations on his face where the edges of the mask would sit, nor any of the other little nuances that just can’t be recreated within a computer environment. For all of its vast technical achievements, even Avatar had its moments of unrealistic CG and they spent YEARS perfecting those graphics – the Green Lantern CG staff has no such window of time in which to churn this out.
It could be the case that when Green Lantern releases in theaters next year WB has another Dark Knight-type success on its hands with Oscar-worthy story, acting and directing; however, if the quality of the all-CG suit becomes a distraction to audiences, then none of the good things about the film will be remembered.
Do you think Green Lantern’s all CG suit currently looks sub-par and has the potential to derail the film if not corrected, or does it even matter to you what it looks like?
Green Lantern protects the universe from evil June 17th, 2011.
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