Spoiler Level: High
Anyone who knows me knows I don't believe in or advocate illegal downloading, but when I read last night that a work print of the upcoming Green Lantern movie had been leaked to the web I had see it. Everyone who knows me knows I have become a HUGE Green Lantern fan over the last decade, and I don't think I've looked forward to a movie this much since Phantom Menace, so I had to download this and watch it ASAP.
Perhaps I should have learned from history. Sadly, this movie makes Phantom Menace look like Empire Strikes Back.
Ryan Reynolds does a fine job, and the special effects that were completed in this print looks decent, but the changes they made to the Green Lantern mythos are just so far off the mark that it makes me long for the days of the Incredible Hulk movies, where Daredevil was a ninja and Thor was two people. Yes, it's that bad.
I can handle some changes, like Hal Jordan being more manic and cocky than he is in the comics, becuase (a) the character needs to grab mainstream audiences and that's what's popular, and (b) Hal's personality got changed around a lot depending on who was writing him anyway.
Long-time readers know I've always been understanding about changes for a new medium, but the changes here are pointless at best and insulting at worst. Oa is no longer a planet, it's a now a pocket universe on a "higher plane of existence." I guess so it's easier for the Guardians (who are now also green) to watch the entire universe at once. Green Man looks nothing like a, well, green man anymore. Why? What's the point of that? If you were so in love with your new design, why not just make him a new GL? Then there's Kilowog, who Dennis Haysbert plays with a Scottish accent. Well that's just great, a big mostly-green stubby-eared CGI guy with a Scottish accent. Kilowog has become freakin' Shrek! And Sinestro is gay, and constantly hitting on Hal. Not in a funny, played-for-laughs kind of way either, but in a creepy, look-how-you-can't-trust-this-guy kind of way. Now Sinestro doesn't become a bad guy yet in this movie, but anyone who knows anything about Green Lantern knows that Sinestro is Hal's number one nemesis, so that combined with the way he's portrayed here makes it come across as homophobic. And I'm all for gay rights and equality and visibility (hell, I'm a card-carrying member of the HRC) but giving Sinestro an extended gay love scene was just too much.
For what it's worth, Hector Hammond is portrayed as a total perv yet totally straight, which I guess was their attempt at doing a balanced portrayal. And it is consistent with the way Hammond's been portrayed by Geoff Johns in the comics, so at least they got something right.
Oh, and the musical score sounds like screeching cats. Literally. It sounds like James Newton Howard took a dozen cats, stretched them out on a rack and started whacking them with a mallet in a demented desire to get each one to yowl at a precise pitch. What the hell is up with that? Didn't John Williams totally kill the "space sounds bizarre and eerie" approach in the 70's? If they're trying to go retro, it doesn't work at all. Then again, I didn't like the musical score to the Battlestar Galactica remake either, so what do I know.
Other than all that, the film has potential. Like, say, in the way that Attack of the Clones was an improvement over Phantom Menace.
Lastly, I want to point out that this is exactly why you shouldn't download movies. This is just a work print, so with some carefull editing (is there time for reshoots?) what comes out in July might not suck this bad. And it could be that being such a big Green Lantern fan, my expectations were just too damn high. But if you absolutely, positively think you can not wait like I thought I couldn't, then here's the link to the bit torrent for the Green Lantern movie. But don't say I didn't warn you.
So all in all, it's probably better to not pay any attention to this post anyway.
UPDATE: April Fools! I actually like Phantom Menace.