'Green Lantern' Is A Far-Fetched Superhero Flick

Green Lantern is the latest superhero movie out in theaters. The new film is directed by Martin Campbell who did The Mask of Zorro and "Casino Royale.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And now let's go to supernatural forces and a science fiction movie out this weekend. The film is "Green Lantern" and Kenneth Turan has our review.

KENNETH TURAN: "Green Lantern" is both off the wall and out of this world. The idea is that there is a huge intergalactic legion of way-powerful Green Lanterns, each with his very own lantern - think upscale lava lamp. When a legendary Lantern dies in a crash, Hal Jordan, played by Ryan Reynolds, becomes the first human being chosen to wear the green.

(Soundbite of movie, "Green Lantern")

Unidentified Man (Actor): (as character) The green, it chose you. Take it. Place the ring (unintelligible).

TURAN: Hal Jordan is so irresponsible, his selection causes a lot of scratching of heads both on Earth and elsewhere in the galaxy. Certainly no one sounds more surprised than he does to be suddenly reciting a sacred oath that sounds like it came from the back of a cereal box.

(Soundbite of movie, "Green Lantern")

Mr. RYAN REYNOLDS (Actor): (as Hal Jordan) I, Hal Jordan, do solemnly swear to pledge allegiance to a lantern that I got from a dying crippled alien.

TURAN: "Green Lantern" does have the advantage of good villains. Evil's man on earth is scientist Hector Hammond, played by an especially effective Peter Sarsgaard. Contact with an alien force turns him into a kind of creepy Quasimodo with beady yellow eyes and a huge misshapen head who wreaks havoc wherever he goes.

"Green Lantern" is fortunate to have director Martin Campbell, who did "The Mask of Zorro" and "Casino Royale." His effective professionalism counts for a lot in so far-fetched a venture. It's more of a science fiction space opera than a superhero epic and it only works in fits and starts as it tries to make sense of its wacky premise.

With a sequel in the works, let's hope everyone ups their game the next time around.

INSKEEP: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times.

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