Before I start, I want to say that I am fortunate enough to have read the original shooting script for this movie and my initial dissapointment in this movie comes from knowing exactly what scenes were cut and just how important they were to developing an otherwise great story that could have made for one of this summer's biggest hits...
So why did WB decide to cut the movie down to a mere 1hr 45min? Such a short runtime is pretty rare for these types of flicks nowadays, so right off the bat I suspected something was fishy...
The main reason that I could find was budget.
With such a huge, effects-driven film, fantastical scenes on OA and scenes featuring more super-heroics were substituted for boring human interaction scenes.
Some of the things that were cut really had me scratching my head - such as the backstory behind Hal and Carol as kids. This was originall intended NOT to be a quick flashback, but a well thought out scene that really helped develop these two characters and how much impact the death of Hal's father had on him. The emotional impact - for the audience - was severely diluted by having it presented as a flashback.
Another great little scene that was cut was Hal's first 'use' of the ring. The scene had him eating a crab dinner at a restaraunt. As he struggled to crack the shell, the ring constructed a hammer and quickly smashed the shell to pieces and just as quickly dissapeared. Only Hal - and a little kid in the restaraunt noticed this alarming occurance.
Simple enough, but I was sad to see such a cute little gag not be there.
Another interesting string of scenes that featured more training of Hal and more interaction between Hal and Sinestro were also 86'd. Why? Some of the best - if not THE best acting in the movie came from Mark Strong and of course a stronger character relationship between Hal and Sinestro built up in the first movie would have made for a more dramatic rivalry in the sequel.
I remember reading the scene where Sinestro addresses the Corps. The script had a more dramatic, epic speech with Sinestro saying something like "and remember....WE ARE THE CORPS!" then followed by a thunderous ovation by the Lanterns. In the movie, Sinestro lets the Corpse yell the line - but I thought the original speech in the script was much more moving.
Also, the original script had a stronger focus on Hector Hammond as the villian rather than Parralax - who didnt factor in until much later in the film. It's been a while since I read the script, but if I remember correctly, the angle about the one Guardian becoming parralax was NOT the origin.
One of the biggest failes in the movie was the ommition of the super-heroics montage that was scripted. If you remember the preview trailers played on TV, you saw hal saying "lets go fight some crime" or something like that. This was the scene where he shows his friend the rings power for the first time. This scene was to be followed by a string of scenes featuring Hal using his powers for good all over the world - with of course a multitude of crafty and creative constructs. Sadly, the cut we got of the movie was severely diluted in the department of heroic scenes.
I have now seen the movie twice - the second time, I was able to reserve dissapointment and focus on what was left of a great movie by pinpointing where the cut scenes were and how much better the movie would have been had they not been ommited.
Taking away the extended training sequences, featuring MORE Killowog, Tomar-Re and Sinestro alone but a hurting on the movie. This really had the potential to be the "Avatar" of superhero movies, but WB decided to make this more and earth-based picture. Turns out, it was not for better but for worse.
So what now?
It's been announced that Warner Brothers ARE indeed going to move forward with the planned sequel. Maybe they don't want to lose out on the potential of a great franchise by pulling the plug like they did with Superman Returns (which I still feel could have had a very "Wrath Of Kahn" comeback had Singer been given the opportunity) but WB is going to have to step up and see what wrongs they made in producing this movie. As Darth Vader so perfectly said "Don't fail me again."
And what of a Directors Cut? If anyone here has seen the Director's Cut of Daredevil, you would know that the movie is 100 times better because of all the deleted scenes that were added. They gave the movie as a whole a totally different dynamic, focusing less on Electra's assets (ahem) and more on Daredevil being a "BA" and a very interesting character driven sub-plot.
Would a full Director's Cut do the same for Green Lantern? I would say 100% yes! Unfortunately, it may be a long time - if ever, that WB puts up the necessary financing to finish a multitude of effects-heavy scenes to add into the movie which would essentially warrent an entire re-cut of the film.
I would have rather waited another year if WB needed that time to finish effects and cut the movie the way it was intended then to get what we got. It's like we ordered a steak dinner, but it didn't come with potatoes.
I for one FULLY support the eventual sequel and will hope and pray that the second time WILL be the charm and the obvious problems with the first installment will not go unnoticed.