If I had a dollar for every time I walked out of a movie in the last two decades and said:
“Well the plot was lame; the characters were awful; but the special effects were awesome!”
I’d still be pissed because I lost $9.00 on a crappy movie instead of $10.00.
A few examples
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was terrible, but dammit, the special effects were great.
Avatar was trite, but dammit, the special effects were great.
Green Lantern made me sad, but dammit, the special effects were great.
The Clash of the Titans remake defecates on the original, but dammit, the special effects were great.
And don’t even get me started on Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull or any of the Transformers movies.
No longer good enough
For a long time I was ok with a crappy plot, and faulty characters so long as the effects were cool. It was a fair trade.
This weekend I came to the realization that it is no longer ok. It’s almost 2012 (2012, that’s another one), and every movie that demands effects has good special effects. It’s just not enough for a movie to just have good special effects.
If a movie can’t back up the special effects with some substance, I can’t be bothered with it anymore.
As the media hype machine behind Warner Brother’s latest comic flick, The Green Lantern kicks into overdrive, a number of people have posed the question:
When did the Green Lantern become a white dude?
The question stems from the long-running and superbly written Justice League & Justice League Unlimited (JLU) cartoons.
In the cartoons, the Green Lantern’s name is John Stewart. Stewart is a tough-as-nails badass with strong sense of duty, and an unshakeable moral compass. He’s also the only black member of the team (until JLU).
Again, why’s the movie Lantern white?
There are thousands of Green Lanterns from all over the Universe. Each one is a member of the intergalactic police force, the Green Lantern Corps. There are four humans who wield Green Lantern rings:
- Hal Jordan
- John Stewart
- Guy Gardner
- Kyle Rayner
Hal Jordan was the first human Lantern, and he is the person Ryan Reynolds will play in the movies. Stewart was the second Lantern, the only black Lantern, and it’s worth noting, one of the first black super heroes.
It’s kind of a shame
I hadn’t thought about it until people started asking me why the Green Lantern is white, but for most people who grew up in the last 25 years, the Green Lantern is John Stewart.
If you know the comics it makes a lot of sense that Jordan is the movie Lantern, but looking back on the past two decades of comic-pop culture, Stewart is actually the better choice. Maybe he will get the War Machine treatment come sequel time.
Marc Bernardin wrote an op ed on the subject of Lanterns and race over at Comic Book Resources if you care to learn more.
The brand new Green Lantern Roller Coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure has stepped in to fill the worn boots of The Great American Scream Machine.
Farewell Scream Machine
The Scream Machine was a fun ride that would pummel the shit out of you.
Whenever I rode the Scream Machine, I would get off with a lot of neck pain… But I would still hop in every time I went to Great Adventure.
Enough about that old rust bucket, let’s talk about what replaced it.
The Green Lantern
What is it?
The Green Lantern is a standings roller coaster set to the theme of the comic character that is emerging from obscurity this summer.
When I say it’s a standing roller coaster I don’t mean legs free like Bizarro or Batman, I mean you actually stand in the car. You straddle a saddle that adjusts based on your height, and then pull a fairly standard shoulder harness over your head. Before the ride starts everything locks in place.
After that it’s a lot of loops and corkscrews.
As a fan of the comic character, I appreciated the attention to detail in the design. The giant Ferris Aircraft and the test jet were cool.
I also really like that the first loop is yellow representing the rider experiencing fear. In the comics, yellow is the color of fear. This is a meaningless detail unless you’re a fan of the character, but I thought it was a nice touch.
Finally, the initial sensation of dropping while standing was really cool… but it didn’t last long.
The ride broke a lot. I rode it twice, and it broke each time while I was waiting in line. This isn’t unusual for new rides, so I can’t fault them for it provided it doesn’t happen often a few months from now.
Riders have no idea how the hell they’re supposed to strap themselves into the standing contraption. The attendants had to spend far too much time teaching people how to position themselves in the harness.
The harness is very uncomfortable, especially later in the day when you’re sweaty. It hugs the body in far too many places.
If you aren’t standing properly when the ride starts, you’re stuck with an uncomfortable harness through the entire trip. I’m not sure what I did differently between the two runs, but the harness was less comfortable the second run.
Finally, Green Lantern has its predecessor’s knack for knocking heads, however it also has the aforementioned harness surrounds your skull. This trades neck pain for a headache, as you’re head will bounce back and fourth in the harness like a pinball.
My first run was ok, but it banged-up my head.
My second run later in the day was very uncomfortable, and I spent all of my attention trying to keep my head from smashing into the harness, instead of enjoying the ride.
While I love Green Lantern comics, the ride is a dud.
Six Flags Great Adventure has many exceptional rides such as El Toro, Superman, Batman and Nitro… The Green Lantern is not one of them. I will probably skip this ride the next time I visit the park.
With each trailer, Green Lantern looks cooler. Hopefully the trend continues through the actual movie.
The first Green Lantern trailer wasn’t particularly thrilling, but the four minutes of footage revealed at WonderCon 2011 is pretty compelling.
Green Lantern hits theaters on June 17, 2011.
We have an official trailer for Green Lantern. Sadly, it doesn’t look very good.
The trailer hasn’t improved my low opinion of Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan. It should have been Nathan Fillion.
However, I will continue to hope that they do the story justice.
Green Lantern is due in theaters on June 11, 2011.