Green Lantern - what went wrong? ...and the sequel...


Master Member
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.
So why did WB decide to cut the movie down to a mere 1hr 45min?
That one's easy.. by cutting 15 minutes of film, you could fit an entire other showing in a day.. more butts in the seats.

The problem with a character like this, since GL is not normally one of the "big name" comic characters (Spidey, Batman, Superman, etc), so it needed more exposition than is needed in other films. But that makes it a slower film than some of these big action pieces we've been getting, which isn't what the studio wanted (bunch of damn suits sitting around a table that don't know a f'in thing about filmmaking). Anyway, while I enjoyed the film for what it was (also helped by the fact that I don't know the character that well, so I don't know what they got wrong), I did feel that the film could easily have been 30-45 minutes longer, with decent character and exposition time, and it would have been a better overall film.
That makes me REALLY not want to see it now.I originally wasn't interested because Ryan Renolds was in it and cast as "The Green Lantern",but was otherwise going to see it because of the Avengers movie that will be coming out next year I think? What a let down.
Ya know... I'm usually pretty pro-CGI. I think when it's used correctly, it's every bit as effective as practical effects.

However, the idea to use CG to create Hal's costume just never worked for me. I guess it worked in the film to some extent (and I just got home from seeing it for the first time)... but, this was just way too much bad CG. Oa, the Guardian's, most of the GL's and just a terrible looking Parallex - but, that Hector Hammond practical make up was pretty bad, too.

There's just so many basic flaws in the film that it's hard to pinpoint what went wrong and how to save the next one...

But, I'd try to make it a bit more personal, with some actual character development and try to limit the CG a bit (or at least be prepared to spend the cash to make it look good), because if you can't do it correctly, it looks like a cartoon, and this GL looked like a cartoon most of the time.
Your assessment is right on target!

Here's hoping we get a Director's Cut of GL on Blu-ray and DVD.
That makes me REALLY not want to see it now.I originally wasn't interested because Ryan Renolds was in it and cast as "The Green Lantern",but was otherwise going to see it because of the Avengers movie that will be coming out next year I think? What a let down.

Avengers is Marvel, Green Lantern is DC........
I'd do a Hulk/Punisher and make a new GL movie totally ignoring the present movie's existence. Get Christopher Nolan to oversee its production. And no Ryan Reynolds.
The only important bit is that they greenlit a sequel, so all Internet whinge-ing is obviated.
Not trying to pick a fight, but I beg to differ.

Green Lantern had a 22% drop between its opening on Friday and the subsequent Saturday, which means poor word-of-mouth. Plus, there was a 66% drop between the film's first weekend and the second one. That puts the film's performance in the neighborhood of Ang Lee's Hulk movie versus recent superhero films.

Here's a link to The Hollywood Reporter's article on Warner Bros. plan to pursue a sequel:
Warner Bros. to Pursue 'Green Lantern' Sequel - The Hollywood Reporter

And another one for THR's analysis of what went wrong:
'Green Lantern': 5 Lessons for Hollywood - Hollywood Reporter

So the proverbial Monday morning quarterbacking will prove important. BTW, I'm a WGA screenwriter with several years of experience on network television series so trust me when I say there will be a lot of finger pointing and second guessing on the Warner lot as the GL sequel proceeds.
The special effects on this film were incredible, but I found the overall plot was lacking. Don't even get me started on the acting. I just didn't "buy" Ryan Reynolds in the role. He looked wonderful, but I think they should have gone with someone slightly older, slightly less trendy. As for a sequel, I don't really understand why they're going to bother . . .
And another one for THR's analysis of what went wrong:
'Green Lantern': 5 Lessons for Hollywood - Hollywood Reporter

While I would like to see them proceed with a sequel, I would agree with all of the points made in the THR article linked too. I enjoyed the movie but it definitely could have been better. I particularly agree with the article's point about a "singular voice." Even though I can enjoy less-than-stellar comic book movies, I'd rather see it done better. Spider-Man 3 was a good example of the failure of design-by-committee thanks to Avi Arad pressuring Raimi into shoehorning Venom into that movie.
Sorry for those who felt my post was too long to bother with. I just had a lot to say on the matter.

Welcome to the next stage of the computer age.
I like the forums, but they seem to be sliding into obsolescence,
because the "new wave" of texting from mobile devices
means most folks "tweet" and "like" their way through a hundred topics a day,
instead of posting thoughtful discussion or in-depth updates.

I don't even care about Green Lantern,
but the length of your post made me wonder what your THINKING was on the topic.
So, I'm not interested in keeping up with the current trends.
Sometimes a paragraph or a sound bite isn't enough.
What I find amazing is people who can't find the time to read something,
only the time to comment on it.....I dunno....better typists than me, I guess.

Not trying to pick a fight, but I beg to differ.

I always assume straightaway that folks are trying to strive towards mutual understanding, or, at worst, expatiating their own viewpoint. The only posters here trying to pick a fight are the dicks, and I usually uncover them right away. :lol

You'll note I wrote "Internet whinging is obviated" not "industry whinging." As you say, that's a whole different kettle of fish.
If you remember - they also planned a sequel to Superman Returns initially, but it never came to pass. You have to give time for the heads to roll on this film - a studio shake-up, which happens about once every 6 months - once we have new butts in the seats currently occupied by those who invested their time in Green Lantern, we may have a different outcome.

I'm all for a sequel as long as they fix the glaring problems executed in this film. Namely Hal's character. Making him a "screw up" was the dumbest thing on a long list. The weird thing is, they didn't even really have him play a screw up - they just had people telling him he was, that way the ring and the battle that goes with it becomes a simple journey of self worth. Sigh. I'm sure this was a knee jerk note made by the studio who viewed the Green Lantern character as a Spider-Man or Iron Man archtype (or they at least thought that's all people respond to) - instead of looking at heroes who are too bust taking care of business.
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