Green LanternDirector: Martin Campbell, Warner Bros, Rated M, 114 mins
The latest DC comic superhero to hit the big screen is a green, mean fighting machine but is not as stimulating as Marvel Comic’s Spiderman.
Before making Green Lantern, New Zealand born director Martin Campbell had earlier brought to cinematic life another comic book hero through his hit movies The Mask of Zorro and The Legend of Zorro.
This time, Campbell has chosen a superhero dating back to the 1950’s and cast Ryan Reynolds (The Proposal) into the lead role as Hal Jordan, an irresponsible test pilot who is given a green power ring and lantern by a dying alien, thus becoming the first human member of the Green Lantern Corps, an interstellar police force overseen by the “Guardians of the Universe” on the Planet OA.
At the start of the movie a somewhat prolonged narration is provided by Aussie actor Geoffrey Rushon the role of the mythical Green Lantern organisation, especially in maintaining peace in the different sectors of the universe.
In his initial meeting with the Green Lanterns Hal (Reynolds) is goaded by their leader Sinestro (Mark Strong - Robin Hood) to join in the fight against the deadly monster Parallax, a huge mushroom like black cloud that feeds on individual fears.
Back on Earth Green Lantern is faced with the evolving problem of a disfigured Hector (Peter Sarsgaar), the alien-infected scientist son of Senator Hammond (Tim Robbins), who is bent on wreaking havoc against his father and everyone else.
This is in addition to Hal trying to regain the affections of ex-girlfriend Carol Ferris (Blake Lively).
With the many screenings of superheroes Green Lantern appears to lack the same excitement generated in either Captain America or even in Campbell’s Zorro movies.
However, despite an underdeveloped storyline and Reynolds’ portrayal of the Hal-Green Lantern character coming over at times as flat and frivolous, Campbell has still managed to make an entertaining movie through his settings and some stunning special effects.
Hopefully, as foreshadowed in the final scene in the closing credits, the sequel will be more exhilarating.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 Rubber Stamp
Red DogDirector: Kriv Stenders, Roadshow Film Distributors, Rated PG, 92 mins
This wonderful Australian-made production from director Kriv Stenders is based on the legendary true story of Red Dog (performed by dog star Koko) who had such an impact on a unique community in Western Australia’s Dampier district while roaming the outback in search of his long lost master that they had a statue erected in his honour.
It is a heart-warming story set in the 1970s and told in flashbacks by various members of the local mining community of their inherent affection and loyalty to a dog, even after Red Dog had chosen a relative newcomer to be its owner.
Surprisingly, the lead role of John is portrayed by American actor Josh Lucas (The Lincoln Lawyer) who turns in an impressive performance with great feeling; as does Aussie actress Rachel Taylor (Cedar Boys) playing Nancy, John’s love interest.
Stenders has also assembled a great cast of multi-national actors that include Aussies - especially legendary actor Bill Hunter in one of his last performances - as well as setting his story against the superb scenery of the Australian outback with Geoffrey Hall’s brilliant cinematography.
Of course the real star is Red Dog and the movie is not without its humour, sadness and sentimentality but it is a memorable story that had to be told of the genuine affection felt for a country dog by an entire local community.
It is rarely said, but this inspiring dog movie is one that should not be missed.
VIC'S VERDICT: 4½ Rubber Stamp
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