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“Green Lantern”
a review by Darby O’Gill

In brightest day, in darkest night, Green Lantern manages to shine bright! Now let me just say upfront, I’m a huge Green Lantern fan! And over the course of the last year and a half, I’ve been looking forward to, as well as fearing, Warner Bros. big screen adaptation of my beloved Green Lantern. I tried to keep myself from seeing too much footage leading up to the film’s release, however the trailers I did see, looked good for the most part. Although, I would be lying if I didn’t say that there were a few things that did cause me to worry that the film might not live up to my expectations. The trailers and marketing campaigns, at times, did make it look like the film might focus a little too much on the Green Lantern’s Corps and all its members, and not enough on Hal Jordan. It also looked like there were going to be a lot of epic space battles, and a part of me was worried that the CGI would take over the show, causing it to become another movie that was more animated than actually filmed, much like Avatar. These were all fears mind you, which is ironic, given the nature of the Green Lantern story.

In Green Lantern, test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is doing the best he can to hold on to his wild and carefree life, but the galaxy has other plans for him. Unbeknownst to Hal, or any other earthling for that matter, there is a galactic police force in place known as the Green Lantern’s Corps. On the planet Oa, a group of beings known as Guardians of the Universe, forged a series of rings each with the ability to harness the raw green energy of will power. The rings are the source of each Green Lantern’s power, and they are only limited by its wearer’s will and imagination. The rings themselves have the ability to choose only the most worthy to wield their power, and when a Lantern dies it is up to the ring to find its nearest successor. The only job description is a being without fear. Fear is a Lantern’s biggest challenge, and it’s the yellow energy of fear that is currently threatening the universe. When Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) is fatally wounded, he races to the nearest planet in his sector, which just so happens to be Earth, so that the ring will be able to find a successor. That’s right; it’s none other than Hal Jordan! The man without fear… Well, if you don’t count commitment and responsibility.

I’ve got to say, I really enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would! They somehow managed to pull it off! It’s got a little bit of an old school feel to it, in the spirit of Superman and Star Wars. I’m also glad to report that my fears were ill founded. The filmmakers take us to Oa, but at the same time manage to keep the story mostly grounded on Earth. It’s a really happy balance. We get to see tons of Lanterns, and at the same time never feel bombarded. Even though I’m happy with the balance, I would like to have spent a little more time with Sinestro (Mark Strong), Kilowog (Michael Clarke Duncan), and Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush). Speaking of which, the casting in this movie was amazing! This might come as a bit of a shock to some of you, based on one of my earlier statements (which can be found here). Ryan Reynolds makes a pretty good Hal Jordan! He didn’t play him the way I originally thought he would. I’ve got to say, I was wrong. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think Nathan Fillion is still the best choice, it just means that Ryan did a really good job. But hands down, the show stealing performance of this movie has got to go to Mark Strong! He manages to embody everything I’ve ever imagined Sinestro to be. I really would have liked him to have gotten a little bit more screen time. The movie does have its flaws, however minor. The 3D looks nice at times, but overall is not needed, and ultimately underplayed. There’s a helicopter crash at one point in the movie, and not only does it look like something out of a bad amusement park ride, but you can tell they were hoping to get a nice little 3D moment out of it as well. Sadly, it doesn’t work. The angle’s not right, and the whole sequence seems rushed. (For those of you that have already seen it, I’m talking about before Green Lantern shows up.) There’s one other thing that bothers me, and it makes no sense. The reason I like DC Comics more than Marvel, is because I believe the characters of the DC Universe can cross paths and interact with one another in a more believable way. I buy Superman working with Batman, or the Green Arrow teaming-up with the Green Lantern and Flash, where as with Marvel, I don’t buy any of their characters interacting with one another. But, in each of their movies they successfully bring up other characters. For about a half a second I thought it might happen in Green Lantern, and that we might finally get that acknowledgement of other heroes in the DC Universe, but no such luck. If Warner Bros. could take one page out of a Marvel’s movie making playbook, it would be that one; especially with the announcement of a Justice League in the near future. The only other thing I wasn’t a big fan of, was the add-on scene at the end of the end credit sequence. It felt really out of place. I realize they want to entice the audience with the hopes of a sequel, but that scene felt like something that they shot in an alternate script draft and wanted to just tack it on for the sake of tacking it on. Also, that five second clip should be the entire storyline of the second movie! Which I guess they could still do, but talk about your spoilers for people that don’t know that’s coming! Oh, well. I’m glad the movie didn’t let me down and I’m looking forward to seeing it again real soon!

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“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is the fourth installment of the Pirates Trilogy… Yeah, I don’t get it either. Look, I don’t care if you want to make five, or six, or hell even thirty-two sequels to a movie. Just don’t call it a trilogy if there’s even a remote chance you’ll be making more… That goes for you too Scream 4! Once you’ve said the word trilogy, you’ve lost all rights to making more than three movies for that series. You can start a new series that features one of the secondary characters now as a featured role, but that’s it! That’s a rule now. So, let’s stop throwing the “trilogy” word around as loosely as the word “literally.” Sorry, I just had to say something. Now, let’s talk review. Johnny Depp returns as Jack Sparrow… I’m sorry Captain Jack Sparrow, and this time he’s on his own. Well, that’s just to say Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) aren’t joining him this time around, but don’t worry Capt. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) is still around to give Jack a hard time. I’ve enjoyed the last few installments (notice I didn’t say trilogy) of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies… Well not the last one. At World’s End was a total misfire. It just had way too much going on at one time; way too many characters and overlapping storylines, which is also why losing Will and Elizabeth on this one really kind of helped. Although, that’s not to say they weren’t missed. This, for lack of a better word, skeleton crew, felt like it was missing something at times. I’m not sure exactly what it was that was missing, because at the same time it felt like just more of the same old same old, but something definitely felt off. Well, to me anyway.

In On Stranger Tides, some time has passed since the last movie, and Capt. Jack Sparrow finds himself once again searching for his beloved Black Pearl, which leads him to London. He also discovers that unbeknownst to him, Capt. Jack Sparrow is looking to put a crew together. Upon hearing this news, Jack decides to find out exactly who is impersonating him, and thank him for saving him the time of assembling a crew and procuring a boat. But when things don’t go according to plan, Jack finds himself a measly deckhand aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge, and under the command of the infamous Blackbeard (Ian McShane). One thing leads to another and you’ve got two crews racing to find the Fountain of Youth. Much like the other films of the series, everyone has their own agenda, and Jack’s playing every card he can to make sure he gets what he wants in the end. Johnny Depp is really great as Capt. Jack! And don’t get me wrong; I’m glad they’re making more Pirates of the Caribbean movies! I think Capt. Jack Sparrow is one of those characters that just lives to be seen on the big screen, like James Bond and Indiana Jones. The 3D is okay. It’s nothing special, but it does help that it was actually shot in 3D and not just converted for the sake of ticket sales. Overall, On Stranger Tides is a nice addition to the franchise. Until next time, drink up me hearties, yo ho!

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