"In brightest day, In blackest night, No evil shall escape my sight, Let those who worship evil's might, Beware my power, Green Lantern's Light!"
This is the mystical oath recited by test pilot Hal Jordan and and many others across the fictional universe of the Green Lantern mythology. A favorite of mine, I jumped for joy when I heard news of a motion picture. Now next summer, we will see the Green Lantern universe move on the big screen, the title character portrayed by Ryan Reynolds.
This week's issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday July 16th, features our first glimpse at the Emerald Warrior.
Before the movie itself began production, director Martin Campbell had this to say about the hero in an interview: "...he's quite fascinating as a character, given that his powers are psychological, it's to do with will power as you probably know, and his enemy is fear. All that's interesting and he's the only superhero to go to another planet, which is very unusual. The combination of that... the main thing I've got to do is keep a sense of reality about it, and we endlessly at meetings have what we call a 'Cheese-Meter' (chuckles) which whenever we have ideas or how we're going to do something or develop it, we all talk about the cheese factor, about keeping it in reality and not letting it get too cheesy. I'm very aware of all of that, and I hope I will bring a sense of reality to it so it doesn't get in the realm of "comic book" as such."
Campbell has also gone on record as saying that he didn't want Green Lantern's suit to look 'human', and wanted a more alien, organic appearance. This of course comes from the idea that the ring that Green Lantern wears is of extra-terrestrial origin. He also wanted the suit to be completely CGI. That's right, Ryan Reynolds costume was merely a motion capture suit. Neat-o!
Fans, including myself, are already used to the regular design of the GL (Green Lantern for short) costume as seen in the comics (see image, right). Modified from a design created by the late-Gil Kane over fifty years ago, the green-on-black-white gloves has been a staple for the character of Hal Jordan (I can get into the other Green Lanterns from Earth, but this is about the one for now).
The possibility of seeing this design on screen was both a joy and a curse. A joy, in that my favorite superhero gets the big-screen treatment, a curse in that 98% of all superhero movies look hoaky. Why? Characters drawn and colored on a 2-D surface are far different than a moving, breathing person. The pop-color costume of Green Lantern could VERY easily fall into the realm of 'silly' awfully fast.
So, upon first glance I have to admit I was taken aback. Not in disgust, more along the lines of bewilderment. I wasn't sure what to expect. As I've stated before, the classic, slick design of the comics wouldn't translate very well onto the screen (regardless of explanations and CGI). There have been a few attempts to modernize the Green Lantern suit (as seen in Midway's Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, see image left), which could work, but wouldn't quite fit with Martin Campbell's vision of the character.
Now, while we as the audience have no clue how the film itself will pan out, GL fans already know that Hal changes his costume in the books (some changes were also brought by whomever was drawing the character at any given time).
So, maybe this first glance is a tease,
so to speak. Who knows? Maybe we'll be treated to something like this fan-rendering of Reynolds as GL. (All credit goes to the artist, whom for the life of me I can't find their name.)
One thing is for sure, Martin Campbell and Co. are doing this film justice. While I can't speak for everyone, I can say for myself that I like the design. It keeps a modest sense of the original design (body suit, logo centered on his chest, mask with white eyes, and of course the ring on his right hand) and it delivers the 'alien' feel in spades. I get the sense of a suit that is a part of the ring-wearer, which is almost the point. Any comic artist will tell you that every superhero is essentially drawn naked with a few lines to indicate a form-fitting costume. At least with a CGI suit, you won't be distracted with a foam-rubber look (sorry Batman Begins). Needless to say, the more I see and hear about this film, the more excited I get to see my favorite superhero light up (no pun intended) theater screens next summer.
UPDATE - 7/25-2010
Straight from San Diego Comic Con, ScreenRant.com was there to give us the report from the movie panel held in Hall A. Here are some tidbits from the report:
- Martin Campbell was asked about the costume. They lost the white gloves, looked cooler and more interesting without them.
- Costume is still a work in progress. It’s more of a “skin” than a costume, with muscular lines.
- Lord of the Rings costume designer is working on the costume – amazingly talented.
Green Lantern is scheduled to be released on June 17, 2011.