[Text] Green Lantern, by Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldernberg [review]

Ryan Reynolds is returning to the comic book genre this month, so I’ve decided to take a look back at some of his earlier efforts. Yesterday, I reviewed X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in-which Reynolds first appeared as an incarnation of Deadpool most fans of the character prefer to call Weapon X. It pushed-back the possibility of a Deadpool standalone for several years, and in that time, Reynolds defected to Warner Bros. Pictures’ DC Comics, and brought to the screen the second character to be called Green Lantern – Harold “Hal” Jordan. As I’m writing this on Super Bowl 50 night, here’s the trailer:

There’s no other way of putting this: Green Lantern is a spectacular failure. I can name a tonne of successful comic book origin films, like SupermanBatman and Spider-Man, but Green Lantern will join the ranks of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Hopefully, Deadpool, like Wonder Woman, will give us the origin story we want so I won’t have to keep ranting about it. But at least it isn’t called something stupid, like Justice League Origins: Green Lantern or something.

But what was stupid was trying to make this the start of a franchise without taking the time to justify it first. A large amount of the plot revolves around Sinestro’s plan to fight Parallax using a Yellow Lantern Ring, leading to him becoming the first Yellow Lantern in a mid-credits scene that was written presumably with the assumption that a sequel would be green-lit. But no such luck; Warner Bros. Pictures just scrapped by with a profit of nineteen-million dollars – about nine-and-a-half percent of the two-million dollar budget. Thus, we get Green Lantern committing a cardinal sin of film making: assuming there’ll be a sequel. Why would they do this?

Were they mimicking Marvel’s style? The most recent Marvel film at this point was The Incredible Hulk, but included a post credits scene setting-up Marvel’s The Avengers. The difference there, however, is that it was already a done deal. DC Comics were trying out an untested character but decided to go ahead and leave us with a scene that tells us a sequel will happen anyway.

If they were that keen for us to see Sinestro as the antagonist, why not just start with Sinestro, seeing as he’s considered the primary Green Lantern villain? Man of Steel started with Zod, Batman started with the Joker, Spider-Man started with Norman Osborn, etc. That way, we don’t have to deal with Parallax – a giant cloud of excrement that, I’m told, is completely different from the comic book version of Parallax. But then the source material is very much a problem with Green Lantern; sometimes, it’s treated with accuracy, and at others is shown to be very generic.

From what I’ve seen of the Green Lantern mythos, the source material is rich in imagination – indeed, all Jordan needs to do as a Green Lantern is fight fear with objects created from his imagination using will power. But all Jordan manifests are fists, guns and a weird, quirky car. Oh, and some missiles, because Jordan’s also a test pilot. We’re introduced to Jordan as such, hence his fearlessness, and further hence why the dying, Earthbound Abin Sur’s Green Lantern chose Jordan to become his successor.

It’s a deep moment, but it fails to resonate, because Jordan’s an unlike-able character. Not unlike-able in the sense of being written as unlike-able, but in the sense of not being written in any way resembling a person to-whom I can respond. We first see Jordan waking up next to his girlfriend, Carol Ferris. Ferris is the lone female character in a comic book film, so rest assured, only exists to serve as the hero’s love interest.

And that’s every single scene, by the way. But let’s not single-out that one character – all of them are written terribly. The corporate science antagonists made me feel, at times, like I was watching a film about a dog, and the twinkly nature of the CGI and planet Oa confused me greatly, considering how bad-ass and sexual Jordan actually is. “Whose the target market for Green Lantern?”, I feel inclined to ask.

Is it children, who’ve likely read the comic books? Is it for people old enough to be in a relationship featuring regular amounts of sex? I really have no idea. It’s like watching Twilight if Edward Cullen were a pimp – just don’t tell the tweenagers in the audience, of course.

The problem is, this all comes down to Ryan Reynolds, for no other reason than this: Reynolds is not a bad actor. And only when placed in a film like this does that really show through. When Jordan’s in ordinary situations, Reynolds make it believable when nothing else does. And when in extraordinary situations, Reynolds tries his best with a character that has a very mellow response to literally everything.

But I guess, ‘though, that’s what happens when a comic book film tries to check-list its mythology rather than treating it properly. Instead, it takes one of the most inventive ideas in fiction, and rushes past appreciating that to make sure that Green Lantern gets a film, regardless of its quality. I’d have preferred to wait for something that was left longer to stand. And I shall wait for 2020’s Green Lantern Corps on that basis.

Screenwriters’ Dispatch: Sean Ellis and Anthony Frewin’s Anthropod

Sean Ellis and Anthony Frewin have written WWII drama Arthropod, the name of an operation using Czechoslovakian soldiers trained by the British Army to assassinate General Reinhard Heydrich, who lead Nazi forces into the country.

The Wrap reports Marc Guggenheim‘s written an adaptation of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, titled Uprising, chronicling a civil war against Earth from a Lunar colony.

Variety reports Diablo Cody‘s rewriting Barbie.

Deadline reports Michael Berg‘s adapting Mrs. Frisby & the Rates of Nimh, which Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer hope will establish a franchise. The story’s to be an origin of a mouse who teams-up with super-intelligent lab rats to escape a laboratory and lead mouse civilisation against Humanity.

Harve Bennett‘s died. Bennett’s most popular screenplays were Star Trek III: the Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home.

Deadline report Jeff Buhler‘s sold Descendent to Lotus Entertainment, inspired by news reports of real events of parents who become worried over the source of their son’s above-average intelligence. Buhler said

I have always been fascinated by the concept of reincarnation which is a widely held belief for billions of people around the globe. Descendant explores this world in a very personal and frightening way that has never been realized on film.

The Hollywood Reporter claims reports Eric Heisserer has adapted Ted Chiang’s Prisoners, in-which a xenolinguist and physicist are recruited by the government to assess the intentions of aliens that have landed all over the world, but experiences flashbacks that develop the secret truth of who these beings are.

Debbie Horsfield‘s spoken to Radio Times over the adapting of Poldark:

He is a rebel and he is not an outcast so much but he stands apart from the rest of society. What I loved about Ross Poldark is that he has got a bit of Tom Jones and a bit of Mr Darcy because he’s a gentleman and bit of Rochester and a bit of Rhett Butler and a bit of Robin Hood. He is actually all the good heroes rolled into one and yet he is his own unique personality. That’s what’s great about him. He does have a strong sense of justice but he’s not priggish about it. He’s a leader but he doesn’t seek leadership – but people will follow him. That’s a true leader. I think the books are so extraordinary. I feel more pressure doing justice to [them] in the way I would feel about doing justice to a Jane Austen or a Dickens. I’d be doing [Poldark]  for years and years but I love the stories so much.

Deadline reports Drew Pierce is working on a second instalment in the Ghostbusters Cinematic Universe, featuring an all-male version of the team.

Jenji KohanBruce Miller and Tracy Miller have co-written The Devil You Know‘s pilot, about the Salem Witch Trials that divides New England.

Tax Analysts reports the federal government of Mexico have offered Sony Pictures Entertainment $20M if they make screenplay changes to more positively represent the country. They claim the intention is to show modern Mexico City structures and its skyline. Part of the conditions is to cast a Mexican as Estrella, who can’t be herself Mexican. Bond uses Estrella’s apartment as a base of operations while hunting an assassin targeting the governor of the Federal District, which the offer proposes becomes an international leader instead, while the Federal District Police becomes a special force. Bond’s confrontation with the assassin currently leads to a cage match in an ambiguous location, but Mexico are requesting it instead be a chase through Mexico City during the Day of the Dead celebrations.

Steven Moffat, co-screenwriter of the upcoming Sherlock special, has spoken to Entertainment Weekly over the function of Victorian production design seen on set:

The special is its own thing. We wouldn’t have done the story we’re doing, and the way we’re doing it, if we didn’t have this special. It’s not part of the run of three episodes. So we had this to do it – as we could hardly conceal – it’s Victorian. We wanted to do this, but it had to be a special, it had to be separate entity on its own. It’s kind of in its own little bubble.

The Hollywood Reporter claims Craig Kyle‘s written a Blue Thunder retelling about a military helicopter with technology of a potential future.

CNN reports Jonathan Herman‘s rewriting Scarface.

Indiewire reports Ehren Kruger‘s writing a serial adaptation of The Brothers Grimm.

BBC News reports Douglas McGrath‘s adapting his stage-play musical Beautiful, chronicling the career of Carol King, into a motion picture.

Armando Iannucci, writer of The Thick of It starring Peter Capaldi, has confirmed interest in writing a Doctor Who episode for the actor. Speaking to The Guardian, Iannucci said

I’m a big fan of Doctor Who and obviously with Peter, who’s loving it, it would be nice to. I’ve spoken off and on to them but it’s a case of being able to fit something in. It’s a nice thought. In our conversations there was an idea we had, but it may be a wee while yet before we get round to working out when it would be. Knowing I am committed for the next year or so, it’s all on hold. Let’s get back in touch when we can.

According to The Hollywood ReporterJason Segal and Drew Pearce have been hired by Warner Bros. to write The Million Brick Race, an installment in the LEGO Cinematic Universe.

Speaking to Comic Book ResourcesSimon Pegg has spoken about how he came to write Washington Project and what it’s about:

It just came out of conversations I was having with J.J. and Bryan Burk, and they decided to kind of like restart the process. Because I’d been on the set with Burk-y on Mission: Impossible, he said, “Maybe you should come on and write it with Doug and Justin and him and Lindsey Weber”. And I was a bit, “No. I don’t want to – it’s too much pressure!” But I think we just want to take it forward with the spirit of the TV show. And it’s a story about frontierism and adventure and optimism and fun, and that’s where we want to take it, you know. Where no man has gone before – where no one has gone before, sensibly corrected for a slighter, more enlightened generation. But yeah, that’s the mood at the moment.”

Den of Geek reports Alien Nation is to be rewritten by Art Marcum and Jeff Holloway.

The Hollywood Reporter also reports Friday the 13th‘s reboot is to be written by Nick Antosca, whose draft resulted in the production’s green lighting.

The Wrap reports Fifty Shades of Grey writer Kelly Marcel has departed the sequels Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.

It’s been announced Jamie Mathieson and Catherine Tregenna are writing episodes for Doctor Who‘s ninth season, titled The Girl who Died and The Woman who Lived.

It’s reported that Disney have bought a screenplay by Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek for a Mulan retelling, based on the Chinese legend of warrior Hua Mulan, who disguises herself as a male to join the army, becoming a national hero with her dragon companion Mushu.

On his blog, GRRM, in an entry titled Conventions and CancellationsGeorge R.R. Martin stated he won’t be writing an episode for season six of Game of Thrones, adapted from his novel series A Song of Ice and Fire. He said:

after wrestling with it for a month or so, I’ve decided not to script an episode for season six of GAME OF THRONES.  Writing a script takes me three weeks, minimum, and longer when it is not a straight adaptation from the novels.  And really, it would cost me more time than that, since I have never been good at changing gears from one medium to another and back again.

The Telegraph reports Stan Lee‘s writing an original superhero drama, Lucky Man. Detective and gambler Harry Clayton acquires a charm that gives him control of luck. His gambling’s lead to his wife and daughter abandoning him, his boss suspects him of Theistic Satanism and he’s in-debt with a crime kingpin. Lee said

Luck has always been a fascinating subject to me, and I am excited to finally share that fascination with audiences around the world.

Screen Daily report Steve McQueen and Debbie Tucker Green are co-writing a six-episode miniseries chronicling the lives of Black people in London from 1968 to 2014. McQueen said

I don’t think there has been a serious drama series in Britain with black people from all walks of life as the main protagonists. This isn’t a black Our Friends in the North.

Production company Rainmark managing director Tracey Scofield told Broadcast

He wants to reach a very wide audience with this. It is very entertaining and moving. Steve has done a lot of research on it and we’re now working on the script and appointing writers with an eye to shooting next spring.

Arrow: Left Behind — review

Screenplay by Marc Guggenheim and Eric Oleson.

The season three mid-season opener of Arrow follows the open ending of the mid-season finale, in-which Oliver Queen was defeated by the leader of the League of Assassins, Ra’s al Ghul, and left to die. Contrary to popular jokes/rumours/beliefs, the show was not renamed Canary, but instead revealed Queen to be alive. Whereas most “everyone thinks I’m dead” narratives, Queen chose not to reveal his survival to the other characters, and instead remained absent for the majority of the episode.

Which is my biggest problem with it.

The faked-death narrative is one of the most unoriginal, but I don’t care. It’s one of the most commonly used, but is so simple that it can be reimagined by lots of writers: how is the character going to be apparently killed? How will (s)he survive? Who’ll know this? How will that character reveal their survival? Will it be to everyone at once, or one-by-one? It’s an exciting formula, and the best part of the storyline is where the truth is revealed – each character will react in a different way. But instead, by the end of this episode, nobody discovers Queen’s alive. They wonder if he is, not actually knowing for sure, but Malcolm Merlyn presents to them the alleged murder weapon, which Ghul left at the scene of the duel to mark what he thought was Queen’s death. So now, everyone believes that Oliver Queen is no more. Which is all very well, this episode being the aftermath, and therefore showing each character dealing with the outcome of the mid-season finale. Fine. But what’s the point of a gap of several months between these two parts if the return isn’t going to do what everyone knows should happen? It left the episode feeling completely pointless, almost like a prolonged mini-episode set between the half seasons to promote the end of the hiatus.

Instead, we get Vinnie Jones developing his plan to “take over the Glades”, and the remaining characters attempting to stop him. It’s almost like a spin-off for literally every character except the protagonist. These characters just don’t connect. That could be because Queen’s absence isn’t binding them together, or whether he’s the only one who’s interesting enough to deserve an entire show, but it was strange that the episode only showed its own titular protagonist in fleeting moments. Those few scenes, in-which he’s dragged through the snow to refuge was far more interesting because of the setting and the atmosphere. What was wrong with making that the main story, and instead showing it from Queen’s own perspective, leading to him returning to Starling City and then discovering what’s happened in his absence?

Hopefully, everything will be back to normal with the next episode.

Arrow: Left Behind — unnecessary narrative tangent resembling filler 2/10.