Across The Universe 7 – The Colour Green Brings Expectation

On the middle week of every month, regular Biff Bam Pop! contributor, JP Fallavollita, shares his musings on comic books, comic book art, comic book collecting and the overall comic book universe. That gives him a lot to talk about but don’t hold it against him if he speaks with a DC Comics slant. That’s just how he rolls (with the capes and the masks).

There. I thought I’d start with an image.

Not just any image, mind you, but an iconic one. Well, iconic if you’re a Green Lantern fan. And I am. Iconic if you believe a film you haven’t yet seen will capture the collective imagination of the world, garner millions upon millions of dollars at the box office and spawn sequel after sequel that does the exact same thing. And I do.

Well, I hope.

The first Green Lantern movie trailer dropped this past Tuesday night and I, along with the rest of the pop culture world – especially the online pop culture world, have been put into a tizzy over it. Some love it. Others hate it. Everyone who has seen it has an opinion. And I’m left wondering: what is this, our love of movie trailers and the judging of entire films, franchises, actors and directors based on only two minutes of cut scenes, regularly viewed out of context?

I’m not sure there’s a pat answer but I do know that reaction is important – positive reaction anyway – otherwise film studios wouldn’t work so hard at creating the art form (and it is an art!) called the film trailer.

With Green Lantern, there are a number of preconceived expectations for the film. First and foremost, there’s a lot of hype surrounding this movie from a niche comic book audience that must be satiated by the celluloid creators. In recent years, the Green Lantern monthly comic book has been one of DC Comic’s best selling. It can be argued, quite easily, that it is the single publication that the rest of the DC universe hinges on in terms of story direction. The character of Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern, has risen from a tier two status (behind Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman) into the high echelon, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with those other characters now. That’s a mighty achievement in a time where comic book sales are significantly lower than they were thirty, twenty or even ten years ago. Hence, the need for DC and parent company Warner Brothers, to move their intellectual property into other media, places where properties such as Green Lantern can be leveraged into almighty green (a-hem) dollars. Batman, under director Christopher Nolan, has been a smashing success both commercially and artistically. The iconic character of Wonder Woman has been problematic to bring to the screen for a myriad of reasons I shall not discuss at this time. And Superman…well, Superman didn’t even give us a punch in his most recent celluloid reboot.

But Green Lantern sure does!
And thank goodness for that!

Yeah. It’s cheesy. A giant green fist energy construct emanating from the ring on our hero’s finger? Well, that’s Green Lantern in a nutshell, ladies and gentlemen. Check your realist expectations at the front page of today’s newspaper. Anything Hal Jordan can imagine, he can construct. This is the science fiction and fantasy genre, after all.

I love spoilers – which is probably why I love trailers so much. There are others I know that won’t view one because they want to retain a certain element of surprise for when they actually sit down in a theatre and see a film. Not me. I want to know and I want to know now. Sure, the clips we see in a trailer are disjointed from the actual film, but when I go through these two-minute Quicktime reels in slow motion or in a frame-by-frame fashion, as I’m sure many others do, I’m looking for images that showcase the broader world of the movie. I’m trying to figure out if the spirit of the original concept has been left intact. I’m searching for those hidden gems that tell me the creators of the film got the essence of the character and their inherent universe right.

For Green Lantern, that means wacky aliens. This is a story that is as broad as the universe – as broad as the imagination. Think Star Wars broad. Maybe bigger. Instead of Jedi, you’ve got cops in green uniforms. Instead of light sabres, you’ve got power rings. Instead of “the force”, you’ve got a light spectrum that exudes an inherent power, namely green and yellow light. But it’s all of the different aliens from all of the different planets in the universe that create the metaphor for Earthly culture, an idea that we viewers can grasp onto and understand. Given certain attributes, anyone can be a Green Lantern. In the trailer, your favourite alien Green Lantern Corps members are there. And they look great. Tomar Re looks impressive, for one. As does the enormous Kilowog. “Poozers” everywhere, I’m sure, hyperventilated at the site of him!

Star actor Ryan Reynolds is going to have to carry a lot of weight in this film. And the internet chat boards haven’t been too kind, likening his Hal Jordan to his Van Wilder. But the character of Jordan always had a bravado to him and Reynolds has that inherent in his psychological make up too. If there are comparisons to Van Wilder, it’s because that character also shared this particular trait. But Reynolds can act. He can bring more than a cocky sureness to a role – more than what can be gleaned in brief glimpses from a trailer. The actor has recently received plaudits for his starring role in the film Buried. The fact that he was named People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” just the other day goes a long way in the belief that the public, specifically females, will accompany their male counterparts and see this film in the summer of 2011.

So then, for the first two minute trailer of the film we got: a sexy man, Top Gun-esque fighter jets, funny one-line zingers, space ships, weird aliens, crazy energy-ring fights, other-worldly planets, and, of course, the underlying hope of a sequel.

Such is Green Lantern’s might.

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