Dear Green Lantern Movie,
I saw your film the other day and it came to my attention that you did not know what a story was. That’s fine. It’s nothing to be too worried about. I’ve dealt with a lot of children who couldn’t understand the basics either. Then again, they’re writing with crayons on a piece of printer paper and you made a 300 million dollar movie.
300 million dollars?!? Are you out of your mind? Why did you do that? You really couldn’t spend a couple thousand for a good screenwriter? Hell, I would have done it for twenty bucks and a Green Lantern hat.
Let me explain this to you. A story has characters who want something and from that a plot is developed often with an arc. Sorry, I got too complicated for you. Motivation + conflict = movie. In your movie you had a hero named Hal Jordan. I know he’s the hero because he’s attractive, he was introduced by being in bed with an attractive blonde, and then he is late for work. When heroes are racing to go somewhere, they’re sympathetic! He’s just like me!
Yadda yadda, he’s a test pilot who is reckless but brilliant and he breaks the rules to win the mission. Blah blah blah, he’s fired for being stupid. Boring boring boring, some purple alien crashes on Earth after being attacked by some yellow cloud thing and sends his floating ring across the planet to find some replacement.
So what does Hal Jordan want? He seems to be traumatized by the death of his dad, which was shown in the dumbest possible montage flashback (which also had a monage flashback within the montage flashback. We get it.) Does he want to resolve that? Nope. Does he want to be the best pilot possible? Doesn’t look like it. Does he want to be a Green Lantern. Nah. Is he trying to get the girl, who I assume has a name, but probably not? Not really.
Let’s look at Star Wars. No not the prequels. I don’t care if they are closer to your budget. Shut up. Star Wars is a world full of mythology and creatures and all of this stuff. Sure it opened with scrolling text, but that was not summing up the entire universe. Just the prologue to the story. Instead of shoving exposition down our throat of too much stuff that doesn’t matter, you should have just focused on the characters. Luke wants to get off his planet and see the universe. Luke wants to save the princess. Luke wants to destroy the Death Star.
Hal wants….NOTHING. There is a villain out there that looked expensive. He goes to a Green Lantern planet that looked very expensive. Turns out none of this really mattered. Sure the expensive villain may one day destroy the expensive planet but since our hero doesn’t care about the planet neither do we.
Also why add subplots if you don’t have a plot in the first place? Peter Sarsgaard plays a guy named Hector Hammond who becomes evil or whatever. The film beats it over your head that him and Hal are supposed to be comparable, but neither of them are actually consistent characters so that annoying juxtaposition is wasted.
I hate to harp on this again, but $300 million? Here’s a better idea. Make a $30 million Green Lantern movie. Find an actual plot. NOT ANOTHER ORIGIN STORY. You don’t need thousands of aliens that don’t matter. Focus on what really matters and if it’s strong and intriguing people will stick with the character. People liked The Dark Knight not because of the truck flipping over, but because the bank robbery was inventive and new. People liked Superman because it was romantic when he flew with her across the city, not because it was state of the art CGI.
These are not movies; they are demo reels. Nobody can’t wait for the sequel to a demo reel or can’t wait for their kids to grow up so they can see a demo reel. If you keep making these empty embarrassingly hollow vessels, you will kill the genre. You will blame the audience and blame the other studios for making too many comic book films. But, no. It is your fault.
Austin Lugar – A guy who loves movies.