February 17, 2014

What If The Green Lantern Movie Was Good?
Part I

So last month I watched two videos about alternate scripts for Star Wars episodes one and two. While a little vulgar in certain places, his fundamental ideas showed a real awareness for what Star Wars was as well as what makes for a good movie.

So this got me thinking about other movies that could get the same kind of make-over. Certainly there are plenty of bad movies out there, but a lot of times we see a bad movie that we know didn't have to be bad. The top of my list with this is Green Lantern. I was really looking forward to seeing GL on screen due to the sheer spectacle of it. But he is also an interesting character due to his double loyalties (to Earth and to the Corps) and his rebellious nature despite being in a military organization.

The basic problem with the film is that attempted to do too much (a common problem in comic book movies). With this basic rule, I can think of two stories which are much simpler and would leave room for better character and plot development.

There are two aesthetic changes I would make as well. One is around the character of Hector Hammond. First of all his make-up was just awful, destroying his human features. Second of all, they made him too sympathetic (or pathetic), making him feel more like a victim than a villain, and more like a whiner than a threat. The other aesthetic change would be Green Lantern's costume. I actually like the idea of having glowing lines on the costume. However, having those lines accentuate muscles as opposed to the emblems on the costume is a bit like nippling the batsuit. It doesn't really work, and is more of a distraction in more dramatic scenes later on.

Green Lantern on Earth

Probably the simpler modification you can make is to keep the whole movie on Earth. The audience only needs to understand the ring as much as Hal does, and if Hal only knows what it can do, than that is all the audience needs to know as well. This story would be a story of an ordinary man who suddenly has a large amount of power fall into his lap. This would parallel very will with Hammond who would find himself in the same situation. The plot will go like this:


Cold open with Green Lantern Abin Sur. He is in a transport ship, and is reporting to some kind of superior about a sample that he is bringing back to some place called "Oa". A close up with the camera demonstrates that this sample is contained within some kind of heavily protected canister. In his report he mentions how the events on some planet was caused by a kind of substance. Also, it appears that this substance was introduced from off-world, and that the culprit is...

Suddenly his ship is attacked without warning. Due to his need to protect the sample, he attempts to fight the foe from inside of the ship. However the precision of the attack causes him to lose control, and he attempts to escape by activating his engine (or an escape pod. Doesn't really matter as long as he is protecting the canister). Opening credits.

Cut to Hal waking up. The scene introducing Hal can be left pretty much unchanged, even up until he crashes the plane. The only changes is that A) Hal isn't fired at the end, B) no Daddy issues, and C) Hector Hammond is accompanying his father as his assistant (also Hammond does not know either Hal or Carrol). We can also get some scenes of General Hammond being verbally abusive toward his son for the sake of establishing the character. They can also have a conversation on their way back to the car, to further establish their relationship. Afterwards, Hal goes to the bar, and Carrol meets up with him. They have a conversation/argument about what happened, and about their former relationship, basically like the bar scene in the movie with better dialogue. Carrol leaves and Hal returns to his drink saying something about wanting things to be different.

Fantastic Abilities

Now we cut to Abin Sur crashing at the coast. Before he dies, he sends out his ring which we see zip away. We then cut to Hal leaving the bar and walking down the street for a bit. Then the ring finds him, and carries him off to Abin Sur's ship. He passes the lantern to Hal, but dies as he is about to tell him to safe guard the canister (so it gets left behind by Hal). Hal calls Tom to pick him up, which he does.We have the helicopters chase them away for the sake of action and suspense. Tom gets Hal home, where Hal fidgets with the lantern. However, afterwards he merely passes out.

Now we cut to General Hammond's bed room. He is awoken by a phone call from Hector telling him that he needs to come to some site. Hammond chews Hector out for waking him and then asks him who it was that requested his presence. Hector says, "Somebody named Waller." To this, Hammond tells Hector to pick him up in the car immediately. We then see the Hammonds arrive at the crash site, and Waller greets the general. She asks who Hector is and Hammond introduces him as an assistant who knows how to be discreet. She then explains that there this is an alien crash, that there is a dead alien who was buried not far from here, and a set of footprints and tire tracks belonging to person or persons unknown. As she is explaining this, we see Hector finding the canister on the ground and fiddling with it. He opens it to find some kind of substance that is immediately absorbed into his skin, and drops the canister. Hammond immediately chastises him, tells Hector to stay by his side, and apologizes to Waller. We see either his eyes or his hands shine a little before the scene cuts away.

The next morning, Carrol comes to Hal's apartment furious because he didn't come to work. She can say something about responsibility and a hangover being no excuse, etc with Hal trying to explain without explaining. As she is about to leave, Tom comes in. After an awkward moment, Carrol leaves and Tom asks Hal if he got it to work. Hal smiles and it cuts to him and Tom in the desert, ready to experiment. Well, this scene would be fun, it should also demonstrate Hal's skills in test piloting: thinking about applications, limitations, and pushing boundaries.

Meanwhile, we have Hector discovering his abilities around the office, hearing people's thoughts about him (including his father), and accidentally knocking things off of shelves. He starts manipulating people, and enjoying himself doing it.

After this, we move on to the party. This scene can remain mostly intact. I actually like the idea of saving everyone from the crashing helicopter with the racecar. The fundamental difference being that Hector would be revealing things to Carrol but instead would simply lose control of his abilities. Would simply lose control of his abilities. Also show him having some real fun with it. Don't just have him do one small thing, but have him messing stuff up all around him: complete udder chaos. But no one knows where the source chaos is.

Things Are Getting Real

We can have the same scene where Tommy finds out about the Green Lantern suit and then Carrol finds out about the Green Lantern suit. But naturally when Hal and Carol are talking they're not going to talk about the Green Lantern Corps since Hal doesn't know about them. Instead they'll just talk about whether or not Hal is responsible and how crazy the whole idea is.

Meanwhile Hammond is suspecting Hector of a lot of things that are going on around the office. He confronts him about it and Hector denies everything while having something accidentally attack his father. His father survives but goes to Waller to inform her that something strange seems to be going Hector follows him there and then we get the fight between him Waller and Hammond. This causes some explosion that happen which how Hal is going to be able to notice. So Hal goes it investigates and we get our first fight to them which ends up in some kind of a draw. Likely Hector would have some kind of advantage at the end which causes Hal to retreat, but saving Waller. Hammond can die though.

In the aftermath of this fight, Hal is principally concerned with not being sure about whether he should be doing anything like this at all. It  is not that he fears death, but that he fears himself. The power that he is wielding is unprecedented, and he doesn't really know he is a good enough person to be trusted with it. At the end of the conversation he decides not the wear the ring, because he doesn't want to be the monster that he saw in Hammond. Tommy and Carol attempt to argue with him, but he is resolute.

Meanwhile Hector wants Hal's ring, and plans on the typical world domination. Why? Because Hector Hammond is a threat in his own right and doesn't need some other villain to make him dangerous. This is also who Hector Hammond really is. He is someone who wants power and respect, but has no idea what he would do if he ever got them. Think of Titan from Megamind. That who Hector Hammond is. He's a buffoon with a really dangerous toy. And that is what makes him so dangerous: he doesn't think out the consequences of what he is doing and why. He's not pure evil, but incredibly selfish and immature.

Back At Ferris Aircraft

So the next day, Hal goes back to Ferris Aircraft. Why? Because he works there. Carol approaches him, and attempts to bring the subject of the ring back up, but Hal says, "Not now. I'm here to fly, not talk" or something to that effect.

As Hal is getting ready to test an aircraft, suddenly Hector Hammond comes in. Why? Because it is a military institution that he knows about and he is seeking to acquire power. In other words, he comes for control of the planes, specifically the drone planes we saw Hal combating at the beginning of the movie. Also, Hal doesn't have his ring at this point, so he, Carol, and Tommy have to try to deal with him powerless. They ultimately fail, and have to abandon Ferris Aircraft, while Hector takes control of the planes, and brings them to the local military base that his father was commanding.

Watching Hector leave, Hal, Carol, and Tommy have the rather obvious discussion of whether or not Hal should use the ring. This discussion is of course quite short since Hal wouldn't really need convincing. He immediately recognizes that while he is not sure he can be trusted with his power, he is confident that Hector can't be trusted with his and needs stopping. So he rushes home to get the ring.


As Hal rushes home, Hector begins his attack on the army base. The aircraft remain unstoppable, and Hector is easily able to take care of combatants on the ground. As he goes, he collects weapons that he is able to use with his telekinesis. He has, off screen. Perhaps he could also have some "soldiers" with him who he had convinced that he was a god using his telepathy. These "soldiers" could be gathering various weapons as they advance. Hector intends to take over the base and use it as a castle: a place of defense that he can use to establish a kingdom in the surrounding area. The base also has missile silos that he is hoping to use.

When Hal finally gets home, he discovers that his ring is out of power. So he says the oath, charges it, activates, and flies away to the base. His first course of action is to take out the aircraft, which shouldn't be too easy, but shouldn't be too hard either. He then lands in the base, and states that he is here to help. He discovers that Waller is currently in charge there. While she doesn't entirely trust him, she says that she accepts his assistance for the time being, since he saved her once before, and just took out two of Hector's planes. However, she insists on have "a talk" afterward.

From here, we see Hal flying out of the base, and attacking Hector's soldiers. Eventually, he confronts Hector himself. They have a big awesome battle which is fun to watch. I don't think we really need a break-down of this, we just want it to be big and flashy. Lots of things being thrown around by Hector (the bigger the better), and lots of interesting light-constructs made by Hal. Hal of course wins, apprehends Hector, and takes him back to Waller.

Waller is able to ask him a couple of questions, about the body of Abin Sur and the ring, which Hal answers to the best of his ability. She then asks him what the symbol means, and before Hal answers, an unknown voice says, "It means he is a Green Lantern." Everyone looks up and reveals three Green Lanterns: Sinestro, Tomar-Re, and a third Lantern from the comics, maybe Kilowog. Tomar-Re turns to Sinestro and says, "Sinestro, perhaps I should handle the negotiations." He tells Waller that the Green Lantern Corps is an intergalactic police force, and that one of their soldiers crashed here along with a dangerous substance that he had in his custody. They came here to investigate what had happened to him, but had trouble finding the ring since it was not being used. The battle had attracted their attention.

He says that they must take Hector into custody to purge his body of the substance. Afterwards, they will return him to the Earth for judgement. Waller attempts to argue with him, and Tomar-Re gives a brief argument about the Earth not being able to properly confine Hector in his current state, but then Sinestro says that they need to take him anyway. he says that telling her is a matter of politeness and respect, but they'll take him by force is necessary. They will also return him regardless as well since this is Green Lantern law. Waller doesn't like this but must acquiesce.

The conversation then shifts to Hal. They invite him to Oa to undergo training and officially join the corps. Hal states his loyalties are to Earth, and Tomar-Re says that he will not have to give up those loyalties. He would be stationed here, and recognizing local planet sovereignty is part of Green Lantern law. Hal eventually agrees, but states there are some people he needs to see first.

This cuts to him coming to talk to Carol and Tommy. He explains briefly what happened, and his resolution to his internal conflict regarding power. He kisses Carol goodbye for now, gives Tommy a hug, and flies off. We get the Geoffrey Rush ending monologue, and credits.

At the end of the credits, we get a Sinestro scene as well. Except this one is Sinestro standing over Abin Sur's graving, revealing that he attacked Sur, that he is here to cover up the attack, and that he was the one that planted the substance on whatever planet Abin Sur was coming from (and that the attack on Sur was to cover that up). End movie.

Final Thoughts

The basic theory behind the movie is to establish Hal as a character rather than the Corps. We can save the full revelation of the Corps and aliens and the rest of the mythology in a later movie. By keeping the film about Hal on Earth you simplify the plot and cut back on exposition, allowing for a greater focus on character. Also, we keep the movie to one villain, since there is enough that the movie already has to cover.

The other basic theory is to keep Hector Hammond as the villain since that was the villain used in the movie, and that is the movie that I am trying to fix. I don't just want to say, this is the Green Lantern movie I would really want to do. Instead, this is one way to fix the movie that they already made. However, I think there is another way to do this, and I think the other way is ultimately be better. But I will save that description for next week.

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