In brightest day, in hottest night, no set visit shall escape our sight... especially when it's for Green Lantern
! Over the course of one of the most brutally hot and humid days imaginable, a select group of press including yours truly paid a visit to New Orleans for a behind-the-scenes look at the next big DC Comics movie -- perhaps their most epic film yet, or at least certainly their most cosmic one. The screen adaptation for Green Lantern
draws most heavily from the works of Geoff Johns
, who also serves as a co-producer on the film and was on-set when we visited.
Oft-described as DC's answer to Star Wars
, everything we saw that day indicated that the Force is strong with this project. The studio's not allowing us to go into too much detail about what we saw for this purposes of this preview, so look for our full set visit and interviews down the line.
- Warner Bros.
Oa's cemetery for fallen Green Lanterns.
We didn't get to observe any actual filming being done -- they were shooting performance-capture scenes with Ryan Reynolds
as Hal Jordan on a nearby sound stage -- but that's fine since the filmmaking team essentially showed us the entire movie (albeit in storyboard form)! Production designer Grant Major
showed us around the art department room where we saw set models, cardboard stand-ins of Green Lantern Corps
(grainy images of which have since leaked online), concept and production design art work, costume and makeup stills, the works.
- Warner Bros.
Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern; click for more images.
Three long walls were covered from end-to-end with concept art that told the film's plot sequence by sequence. Major then proceeded to tell us the entire story of the movie from prologue to final scene, an epic recounting that spanned over an hour (albeit with stops for questions).
More Green Lantern Videos
The biggest story influence was obviously Johns' "Secret Origin," but it's definitely not a beat for beat retelling of that arc. It deviates from it in several key ways, some good and others we're withholding judgment on until we see the final film. The gist of the Hal-Sinestro relationship -- the padawan learner/Jedi knight bond, if you will -- is there, as is his training on Oa. This mid-section of the movie should prove to be the most visually exciting and geek-friendly part of the whole film as we witness the Lanterns in action and are exposed to the world of Oa.
We're prevented from telling you which other Green Lanterns beyond Hal, Sinestro
, Tomar-Re and Kilowog are in the film, but let's just say you'll see more of your favorites than not and won't be short-changed when it comes time for the inevitable action figure collecting. The look of the aliens
, while not yet final, were largely faithful to their comic book counterparts. Indeed, Kilowog and Tomar-Re looked great and far less goofy than they could have. With the exception of scars that now line his face and a slightly shorter haircut along the sides of his head, Sinestro (Mark Strong
) looked pretty much exactly like his comic book counterpart.
- Warner Bros.
Behold ... Oa! Click for a hi-res version.
The concept art we were shown -- two pieces of which you can see in this report -- were all stunning, promising a picture that's epic in scope, colorful yet not gaudy. Thankfully, the Green Lantern
movie really did seem more like a Star Wars
or Star Trek
film than either campy Flash Gordon
or the ludicrous Battlefield Earth
. The costume designs we saw were not final, but they were, like the creature designs, largely faithful to their comic book counterparts sans the white gloves.
The biggest lasting impression left by the models of different venues on Oa and all of the conceptual art work was how epic the film is striving to be. The colorfulness of the Lanterns is off-set by the austere starkness of the slightly slate-colored realm of Oa (which looked like a cross between Vulcan and Krypton with maybe a smidgen of Coruscant thrown in, and that ain't a bad cocktail in our book).
- Warner Bros.
Mark Strong as Sinestro.
The filmmakers, including director Martin Campbell
and producer Donald De Line
, also showed us a couple of rough scenes from the film. The movie's visual effects weren't ready to be shown by that point, so we were shown character-oriented dialogue scenes instead of "money shot" comic booky ones. Again, we'll have to tell you more about what we saw when we're allowed to run our full set visit preview. Sorry, kids.
Overall, what we were shown from Green Lantern
more than compensated for the lackluster presentation offered at last summer's San Diego Comic-Con
and accomplished what that panel didn't: It created excitement for the film and hinted at the sci-fi awesomeness that Green Lantern
might offer filmgoers tiring of the cinematic exploits of more earthbound superheroes.
Green Lantern opens June 17, 2011.