February 25, 2014

What If The Green Lantern Movie Was Good?
Part II

So, last week I suggested a different version of the movie that was made, demonstrating that simplifying a story often makes for a better movie. I did so by keeping the movie on one planet and cutting back on the number of themes that needed to be introduced. However, what if we are not just interesting in the Green Lantern character, but really do want to see a movie about the Green Lantern Corps? Is that movie possible?

I think it is, and we can do it with some of the same principles. For instance, simplification would still be necessary. Perhaps even more necessary since there would be more things that we have to introduce this time around.

Another principle is one central villain. This is a bit more difficult thought, especially if we want to save Sinestro for a later film to make his betrayal more real (and I think we do want to do that). Parallax is too much of an epic villain and simply inappropriate for a first movie. Hector Hammond is also difficult if this is going to be a Corps focused movie since he is an Earth based villain. This leaves none of the villains that were in the movie, so we either have to go into the comics for a different villain, or try to make one of these work.

However, to try and stay with the theme of the project here, I do think that there is something we can do with an Earth based villain like Hector Hammond. It will also help introduce a theme that I think is really interesting.


So what is jist of this movie. First of all, we need to de-emphasize the Earth based characters. This would have to reduce Tommy down to basically a cameo, and reduce Carol down to more of a witness of things on Earth, but not a main character.

But the theme of the movie would  be loyalty. Think about this for a second: Hal Jordan is from a planet that has yet to have any experience with extra-terrestrial life. Then he is suddenly whisked away from this planet by some military organization that wants to recruit him. He is no sense of loyalty to this organization, and would have difficulty deciding to risk his life for this group. Additionally, if he had to choose between Earth and the Corps, what would he choose?

I personally love this theme a lot more than the common themes of power/responsibility (that I suggested last week) or fear/courage (which the actual movie used). Indeed I can only think of one other movie that has explored this theme, and that is The Last Star-fighter. I don't think we should use that movie exactly, but we can definitely use that movie as a sign that this film can work, especially since all of the obstacles a Green Lantern movie faced, that movie faced as well.


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.

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 are that A) no Daddy issues, and B) Hector Hammond is accompanying his father as his assistant (also Hammond does not know either Hal or Carol). 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. I would also want to add that instead of Hal defeating the plane by flying "too high", he instead actually out flies the thing. After all, that is what we actually want to establish, and it sets up a better argument between Hal and his boss.

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.

Power Acquisition

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 Carol to pick him up (since Tom isn't really part of this movie), which she does.We have the helicopters chase them away for the sake of action and suspense. Carol gets Hal home, leaves, and then Hal fidgets with the lantern. Finally, it activates, he says the oath, and then he is taken away to space. We cut as he passes the satellite.

Now we cut to General Hammond's bed room. He is awoken by a phone call telling him that he needs to come to some site. We then see the Hammonds arrive at the crash site, and a solider greets the general (no Amanda Waller since we are trying to simplify things). The solider 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 he 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. We see either his eyes or his hands shine a little before the scene cuts away.


The next scene opens with Hal waking up at Oa (because who needs scenes of Hal in pain while he is being "tested"). Tomar-Re's introduction, and his tour of Oa can be kept pretty much the same as in the movie, except there would be a quick conversation about Hal questioning his "abduction". Perhaps, "I don't like being brought here against my will," followed by Tomar-Re saying, "Don't worry. If there is one thing we respect, it is someone's will." However, when he starts his training with Kiliwog, there are some major changes to be made. First of all, the instruction from Kiliwog would be longer. Second, it should be a montage so that we know that he is being trained more than just what we see. The montage ends with Hal questioning what he is doing there.

When then get a cut to Earth. This shows Carol going to Hal's apartment since she has not seen him since the night he found the ring. She finds that he is not there, and wonders where he is. She turns on the news (or she goes home to turn on the news), and sees a news story about Hector Hammond attacking people. She then wonders to herself what in the world is going on.

We go back to Oa, and Hal is sitting out on some ledge thinking to himself. Sinestro comes over and speaks to him. Hal tells him that he feels unsure about all of this. Sure there are aliens, that's fine. Sure, he's being asked to risk his life; he's done that before. But he doesn't really know what the Corps is. Is it a military? Is it a police-force? What gives the Corps the right to do what it does? Is it just a shame being used to eventually do harm? So Sinestro talks about his friendship with Abin Sur a bit, and maybe tells an adventure or two. His point is that the Green Lantern Corps is good. It stands for order and peace. Sure, the Guardians can be a bit weak on a few things, and things don't always go according to plan, but the Corps does more good than ill.

Hal then asks him, if he ever had to choose between his homeworld and the Corps, what would he choose? Sinestro says Korugar, but then adds that he doesn't see that happening. It is the Corps that allowed there to be peace at Korugar, and that the Guardians honor our commitment to our homeworlds.

Sinestro then tells Hal that he was actually looking for him because he has an important question to ask. "When you found Abin Sur, was he carrying anything?" Hal says no, and asks why. Sinestro says that Abin Sur was on a ship taking something to Oa. They have found the ship, but havn't found what it was he was carrying. Hal suggests that maybe it is on Earth. Sinestro says, "Perhaps. Your training will be done in a couple of weeks. It may be your first mission to investigate this. But that isn't up to me." Hal says thanks for the talk, tells Sinestro that he is a good friend and flies off.

Now perhaps now is a good time to cut back to Earth, and show some direct scene of Hector reking havoc. If we do, perhaps we can show him taking over Ferris Aircraft, with a bunch of followers behind him. He can make some grandiose speach about a new order, or some other hogwash. The point though would be to establish his goal of absolute power, and that currently he is unstoppable. I would have this at Ferris mostly because I want Carol to by our eyes and ears for what is happening on Earth. However, I would not make her a damsel in distress. Mostly, she would keep her head down. If she does retaliate at all, I would have her get away, and not be kidnapped or anything.


So now it is a couple of weeks later and it is time for Hal's graduation from training. He is brought before the Guardians. They ask him some basic formal questions that he answers. They then ask him to demonstrate his skill, and he spars for a bit with Sinestro or Kiliwog. They say he is ready, give some formal induction speak, everyone says the oath, and yay!

Then the guardians give him his first mission. They tell him of the substance that Abin Sur was carrying, describe what it looks like and its effects. They have searched for it, but have not found it. They suspect that it is on Earth, but due to Earth still being young, there are regulations limiting their ability to enter into it. As an earthling, Hal is not bound by this restrictions. They tell him to find it, and bring it back to Oa. They then warn him that if someone else on Earth has found it, there may be a fight, and to prepare himself for it. Then they dismiss him.

After the ceremony, Hal meets with Tomar-Re, Kiliwog, and Sinestro. They congratulate in each their own way. Sinestro says that he may not be there when Hal comes back. They have been trying to track down the one who they believe killed Abin Sur, and it looks like he is in Sinestro's sector. Hal asks if he can help. Sinestro says no, he prefers to handle his sector himself. Besides, Hal's sector has been without a Lantern for a month. A lot can happen in a month. Hal says OK, and then flies off.

Return Home

We can watch Hal fly through space a bit, since he hasn't really done much of this, but then he gets home and first flies to his apartment. He notes that there are a lot of overdue bills, and rolls his eyes, realizing that he doesn't have a job, and that he should talk to the Guardians about his paycheck. He then turns on the TV, and it doesn't work. He tries to phone Carol, and this the phone line is dead. He goes down to his apartment's office to see what is going on, only to find the residents in the office, huddled together with blankets. Hal asks what is going on. There has apparently been no power for a few days, ever since Hector Hammond attacked the power station. "Who is Hector Hammond?" Hal says. "Where have you been Jordan? Hector Hammond is the guy that has been terrorizing the city for the past few weeks! Even the national guard couldn't stop the guy." "Where is he?" "How should I know? Besides, what you are going to do about it?"

Hal ignores him, and runs out of the building, and then flies looking for Carol. He then find her somehow. They have a quick argument about where he has been. Perhaps her saying, "And don't tell me it has to do with that stupid ring!" "Fine, I won't tell you then". He then says that Hammond has set himself up at a local military installation, and that the military is encamped somewhere near there. Currently, there appears to be a ceasefire between the two. Hal thanks her, and says he is going to see if he can help. She tells him know. He says, "Well I am a pretty good flyer." "Hal, you have not seen what this guys can do to planes." "Oh don't worry". He then holds up his ring and activates it. "I don't need to use a plane anymore." With that he flies off.

He first goes to the military encampment where he meets up with General Hammond. He introduces himself as a member of the intergalactic Green Lantern Corps. "So you are an alien." "No I am human. I was recently inducted to deal directly with this situation." "That dead alien we found. He had a suit just like that." "Yes he was transporting what has now infected that man out there when he was attacked and crash landed here. That is why Hammond has to be captured and cleansed. He will then be returned to you." "How do we know we can trust you." "I am still of Earth sir. This uniform doesn't change that." And with that, he flies off to fight against Hammond.

First Hal has to fight through the men who have joined up with Hammond, including fighting tanks and planes. And then we get a really cool battle of the GL and Hector fighting. At some point, Hector offers Hal to join him. With their combined power, the two of them can unite the Earth, and have the Earth advance to the stars. Hal says that isn't going to happen; he will bring Hammond to the Corps. Hammond says, "You would choose a bunch of aliens over Earth?" And then Hal says, "I don't have to choose. I am the Green Lantern OF Earth." And with that, Hal kicks Hammond's butt. However, rather than be taken captive, Hector takes his own life. The substance oozes out of him, and Hal picks it up with his ring. He returns Hector's body to the general and says, "Sorry. There wasn't anything more I could do." Perhaps some kind of additional chat and then Hal flies off.

Later on, he meets up with Carol. He can have the same conversation with Carol that he had at the end of the actual movie. I think it would still work (perhaps even better). They kiss, he flies off, Tomar-Re gives and epilogue, and close of movie.

After Credits

After the credits, we see a scene with Sinestro having been captured by Parralax.
Parallax: I was drawn to this region of space. There is so much fear here. It smells so... sweet. I smell the fear in you too.
Sinestro: I know no fear.
Parallax: I AM FEAR! Do not lie to me. You may not be afraid of me, but you are afraid. "What if they find out?" "What if I am caught?" "What if I lose everything I have gained here?" I am sure that the Guardians would not be happy with you when they discover how you have been keeping peace in your sector.
Sinestro: The ring is will. I have done nothing more than allow my will to bring order.
Parallax: You have not used will to bring order but fear. Fear is greater than will. Fear keeps things simple, and keeps people in line. You know Sinestro, I like you. And I think with enough time, you'll like me too.
Evil smile, and cut.

Concluding Thoughts

I'm not sure which of the two movies I would like better, last week's or this one. Last week's I think is more relationally involved, but this one would have more eye candy and probably more action. However, I do think that both movies are better than what we actually got, which was over extended, unfocused, and full of plot holes.

One thing that I really like about this particular movie is the theme of loyalty, as well as establishing a better relationship with Sinestro. It also corrects a major problem in the movie, that is the complete lack of training that Hal goes through. While it may be one of the more enjoyable action scenes in the movie, which is sad, it doesn't quite make sense. Why would Sinestro complain that a new recruit is raw? Why would Kiliwog just throw those three lessons at him one after another? How is Hal capable of being competent with the ring after five seconds of training? It just makes no sense, and the version above does.

It also shows off on of the major appeals of Green Lantern stories: aliens. Lots of weird aliens. It is just fun.

So I think I might prefer this one a little, but I think the first one has a tad more substance to it. Anyway, what do you think? Leave your own thoughts in the comments section.

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