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Why The New Green Lantern Footage Is What We Should’ve Seen First

I’ll admit it: The new Green Lantern footage that premiered at Wondercon – Is it a trailer? I guess it’s a trailer, right? – was much more Green Lantern-y than the first scenes we’d seen from the movie, and much more comforting to fans of the character as a result. Should Warners have waited so long before showing off Oa and the Corps to the world?

Part of that question is easily answered: Yes, because they didn’t have a choice. If rumors are to be believed – and, in this case, I think they comfortably can be – then the reason it’s taken this long for the scenes on Oa of the Corps to surface is that the effects work is still being finished, and there literally wasn’t enough completed effects footage to put into the first trailer. If you look at this new footage, there’s still a feeling that it’s not entirely done yet (Is it just me, or is there something off about Mark Strong’s Sinestro? Not just his look, which doesn’t seem to fully fit into his surroundings, but also his voice, which sounds as if it’s been untreated and remains a bit too-in-the-studio compared with everything else going on?), after all. If they’re rushing to get it done by April 2011, it’s not a massive leap to imagine there was a lack of usable effects footage for the first trailer’s debut last November.

This raises the immediate next question, “Did the movie need a November trailer, then?” That one is a little more difficult to address. Does a movie need a trailer eight months before its release? Well… yes and no. I mean, realistically, no – Look at Captain America, which kept everything under wraps until just recently, with its release three months away – but there’s some kind of mindset about the need to provide proof of concept for fans and prospective moviegoers that blockbusters get locked into, where sooner is always better (Hi, Amazing Spider-Man costume pics, released eighteen months before the projected release date!) that almost locked Lantern into some kind of tease that far ahead of time. The alternative would have been risking bad buzz wondering what was going so wrong behind the scenes that we hadn’t seen anything.

And yet… the first trailer risked its own kind of bad buzz. Look at the uneven tone, the way the costume looked, the lack of spectacle: As a trailer, it seemed unsure what kind of movie it was advertising. You can almost imagine the conversation involved before putting it together (“We’ll start with some scenes making it look like another Ryan Reynolds romantic comedy, and then bring in the love interest and make it look like Top Gun before we unveil the superhero stuff. But keep it light. Don’t make it too scary to Reynolds’ fanbase”), but it doesn’t work. And part of why it doesn’t work is the lack of everything that this new trailer was all about – the “look at this” factor, the epic scale of Oa, the Corps and the threat. For the first trailer to have really sold the movie as an experience instead of some generic superhero movie, it needed… well, the second trailer. Except those scenes weren’t ready yet.

So, should Warners have waited so long before showing Oa and the Green Lantern Corps to the world? No; it should’ve been the punchline to the first trailer, the “Hal has left the familiar and entered this” moment. But, because they couldn’t do that, they should’ve bitten the bullet and held off showing anything beyond teases until they could include that footage. The new trailer isn’t perfect, but it’s impressive and ambitious and seems like it comes from a much better movie than the first trailer did – but how many people aren’t paying attention anymore because that first trailer disappointed them or killed their interest?


  • Bill Reed

    The first trailer made me think they were just gonna straight up rip off Iron Man. But now that we’ve seen the second trailer, I realize they are also ripping off Avatar, so…

  • Jim H.

    Right. A movie based on a character that was created in 1959 and exists in a world full of developed mythology and backstory from the last 50 years or so is ripping off Avatar…

  • pDUB

    um, Avatar is pretty much the most unimaginative and lackluster story put to film, which basically “ripped off” a lot of other story concepts.

  • JimMacQ


    Green Lantern ripped off E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman series. Avatar ripped off everything else, starting with John Carter, Warlord of Mars.

    Kids today, no sense of history.

  • Jacob

    How are they ripping off Avatar? Wasn’t Avatar about the aliens being invaded by the humans, and the humans sent in a mole or some shit? Green Lantern is about a test pilot (fighter pilot, depends on the version, I’ve seen it both ways) who is chosen by the Green Lantern Corps to serve a greater cause. He’s chosen because he has the ability to overcome great fear (the fear entity is shown in the newly released footage). Where’s the overlap?

  • Scud

    Something off about Mark Strong’s Sinestro? You must be mistaken. Say what you want about the first trailer but it got a lot of people talking.

  • Xtheman

    It looked very cool. No doubt the Geoff Johns effect is on this movie. He brought to a whole new level. That’s from a Marvel fan by the way.

  • Philip

    I didn’t release that Sinestro had British accent. Also, Sinestro still has Mark Strong’s famous teeth. In Sherlock Holmes and Kick-Ass, I couldn’t stop looking at his crooked teeth. They could have at least tried to give him alien looking teeth.

    The first trailer really did start like Top Gun.

  • Arrested Development

    Ummm and about “ripping off Iron Man”…..yeah, Green Lantern is older than Iron Man too. Actually, a lot of the DC superheroes are older than the Marvel superheroes and in this case, Hal Jordan/Green Lantern debuted in the comics in 1959, Iron Man didn’t come along until 1963.

  • Jason Baur

    Studios find themselves forced to release information about films like Amazing Spider-Man months and months in advance because if they don’t, on-set pics will almost certainly leak. Sony would much rather show off the new spider-suit in a well-shot, well-lit, high-res promo photo than have the reveal blown by shitty cell phone shots. Green Lantern had some lee-way, however, in that the costume is entirely CG and so they could handle the reveal at their own schedule. Which made the woefully unfinished CG on the magazine cover reveal a few months back so shocking.

  • mattyb

    Lol @ Bill Reed

  • Ryan

    I was at the WonderCon panel, which included more footage than what the DC booth played (and what was released online). I wasn’t very impressed. The cgi needs work- it reminded me of Attack of the Clones, where no one seemed to have any weight. I also get the impression that they are really trying to follow the tone of Iron Man. At one point, Ryan Reynolds suggested Bradley Cooper for the Flash- I actually think he would make a better Hal Jordan and Ryan Reynolds would have been a great Flash. In the end, I thought Cowboys & Aliens looked better.

  • Newton58107

    The first trailer should have been more of a teaser – maybe a little set up and then quick cuts to give us a taste. It would have been more intriguing and exciting. That said, this new footage had more than erased any anxiety among fans, and new trailers and TV spots will at least show a more accurate sense of the movie to the general public. It’s a whole new ball game for GL and momentum is at least on their side now.

    As for ripping off Iron Man and Avatar, aside from the fact that this is based on concepts that predate both of those by a decade or five and there’s really no other way to have effectively made this movie without heavy CGI, is emulating two very well-received blockbusters such a bad idea? You know that it won’t be a “rip-off” of either movie anyway because the concepts are so different. But if it helps to get asses in the seats, more power to ‘em.

    And, yes, Graeme, you seem to be on the minority in thinking there was something off about Sinestro – the majority of comments I’ve read online and heard from friends mention him as one of the best things about the footage. He’s gonna steal the show.

    Look, of course people are gonna bash the CG as “obvious” or “fake” because it is – you KNOW it’s CG and if you’re in an overly critical mindset you’re going to look for the seams. But it’s about more than the seams. It’s about the design, the lighting, mood and emotion. Sinestro is shown giving an inspiring speech and all the CG around him is window dressing. I’ve even read comments online criticizing the “flotaing head” of the pre-Cap Steve Rogers in that trailer, which is ABSURD. I’ve scrutinized that footage and it’s incredible. If you find a problem with that you’re simply imagining it.

  • Kindella2

    The 1st trailer looked so bad that i wasnt going to see the movie…looked horrible effects wise wasnt polished at all. This new trailer does contain much of the same material but it looks so much better and give more of what the story is about outside of Hal getting the ring.

  • Ronald Nicholls

    The new footage shows a darker more serious Green lantern than I was expecting from the first trailer. Looking forward to this even more now !

  • Ronald Nicholls

    Cant even begin to tell you how excited I am for Cowboys & Aliens. I think the green lantern will be a good film. not the 100% best of all the comic book films, but some were in the top 10.

  • Bill Reed

    I know this. I’m talking about the narrative, stylistic, and visual elements they’re using in the film.

  • Bill Reed

    It’s the story of Ryan Reynolds, a charismatic and wisecracking actor who is playing Hal Jordan, an out-of-control manchild who, due to the sacrifice of an older, wiser mentor figure who only factors into the first act of the movie, is given great power and must therefore learn responsibility. Along the way he fights a bald guy in a lab and is empowered by his wispy love interest. There are dozens of aliens, and the thing is 80% CGI at least, as Hal is inserted into a completely foreign culture– the militaristic culture of the Green Lantern Corps.

    Now what does it sound like?

  • Kelly

    Yeah, because Avatar isn’t Dances With Wolves, with everyone painted blue.
    Get real.

  • Kelly

    It sounds like Green Lantern; a concept that was old before the rip-off that is Avatar was an idea in Cameron’s loins.

  • Cover55555

    I love the new trailer. It definitely gives a better feeling than the generic movie feel I got from the first trailer.

  • Omegasaga

    im sorry but The FIRST TRAILER pretty much sums up what to expect from Ryan Renolds in this movie.
    HE IS THE MOVIE. and if he sucks–which he stil does in this 2nd trailer…well the GL corps scenes alone cant save a crappy movie.

    I still think the CGI is NOT impressive.
    Oh sure i am excited to see the GL concept final on the screen.. but i felt the same way about Superman in 2006. Just cause its on screen and we love the comic- doesnt make it good.

    GL will be a faliure. Its geared toward the superhero cash in.
    It wants to be epic but isnt.

  • Newton58107

    And I felt the same way about Batman Begins and Iron Man and The Dark Knight. And, as you say, just because we loved those comics didn’t make those good, either. The filmmakers made them good, and NONE of us knew that until we saw the films. The truth is, regardless of your dislike of Ryan Reynolds, you have no idea what the final movie will be like so don’t act like you do. Is it possible the movie will be bad and/or bomb? Sure. Is it going to do that because you just said so? No.

  • Anonymous

    Allow me to tell you how it was in the Old Times.

    Back when Tim Burton’s Batman was in the planning stages, fandom was…oh, let’s go with “torn”. Some were willing to wait and see, but a lot went straight to the fan’s natural position – to assume it’ll suck, and begin complaing that their childhood hurt after being raped.

    Then two things happened: A picture of the costume was run in Time magazine.and The Trailer was released. That trailer had almost no effects save for the fleeting shot of the Batmobile, but served one purpose: to calm the fanboys down. Sighs of relief were heard across the land, and many pairs of testicles relaxed and dropped.

    Ever since, the early teaser trailer was primarily to let the fans know what was being done with the property, and to get them to calm down, or dare we hope, actually excited about the film.

    There’s two aspects to a comic book film – how it’s acted, and how it looks. The Batman Trailer showed both. The GL trailer did a just above mediocre job on both, but it was enough for an already-interested fan to know they were on the right track, and enough to pique the interest. of someone who knew nothing about the character.

    So, it was enough. NJot enough for everyone, and the second trailer paid for all. If you were worried by the first one, the second should have shut you up and made you its bitch.