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June 15, 2011

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rotch

Where are all the geeks who had issues with your negative Thor review? (myself included)

John M

Well, Rex Reed really liked THE ART OF GETTING BY, and Roger Ebert, if his star ratings are to be taken seriously, thought it was MUCH better than FILM SOCIALISME.

And AO Scott says Gavin Wiesen has a "brisk, unassuming style."

So...

J Alary

Having grown up on a steady diet of DC Comics in the late 80s/early 90s (Marvel's Silver Surfer was an exception), I've enjoyed some of the recent DC films (Nolan's Batman films, Singer's underrated Superman Returns), but was very apprehensive about a big-screen treatment of Hal Jordan, especially with the casting of Reynolds (whom I loved in Adventureland). Green Lantern will likely be the only Summer blockbuster I see (I'm rather stoked for The Tree of Life and Midnight in Paris), but I'm sure I will find it to be a lifeless CGI affair--not that I shouldn't expect that from an adaptation of a cosmic superhero who partners up with an assortment of aliens. Perhaps in another reality we'd be seeing a film adaptation of the old Green Lantern/Green Arrow series from Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams, where our intrepid earthbound heroes fight the Man, pollution, racism and overpopulation. Green Arrow is a wonderfully anachronistic hero who'd be perfect for big-screen treatment, but I don't think the world is ready for a film about another "green" guy who happens to have a boxing-glove arrow.

Kevyn Knox

Green Lantern is not the dreadful creature so many have said, but it is far from great as well. I think its biggest problem (and btw, I though Reynolds did a fine job in the role) is its lack of the spectacular. With all the inherent potential in the character for this to be a visually stunning movie - one that should invariably blow its audience away - it just never reaches that. Sad really. Actually the CGI (or whatever it was) in Malick's Tree of Life is far far far superior to the CGI here. Imagine that, an art film outdoing a Hollywood summer blockbuster in audacious special effects. Love it!

Kent Jones

In fact, most of the effects in THE TREE OF LIFE aren't CGI (the dinosaurs being the obvious exception).

Kevyn Knox

Wait, those weren't real dinosaurs!?

Kevyn Knox

And yes, I know, the effects in the Malick were actually done "the old fashioned way" - which in and of itself make them better.

Dan Clinton

@Kent: I assume that you're talking about the cellular imagery and nebular clouds, but could I trouble you for a couple examples or a link? Those shots did look more textured than CGI usually does, so I'd be curious to know the nitty-gritty.

Kent Jones

Dan, from the press notes: "Malick wanted every image to feel like a natural phenomenon, which meant relying as little as possible on computers, and using what [Douglas] Trumbull dubs 'Non-Computer Graphics.' 'Terry and I share a perspective on visual effects and imagery as it pertains to wanting to get to something that's completely organic...It wasn't that we didn't use computers on this film...[but] only 10 to 20 percent of what you're seeing is computer-generated...We talked about doing many of the intergalactic effects he wanted the way that we did things many, many years ago - using water and paint and high-speed cameras.'...Trumbull put together a kind of secret laboratory in Austin, Texas, dubbed the 'Skunkworks,' where they began to experiment. 'We worked with chemicals, paint, flourescent dyes, smoke, liquids, CO2, flares, spin dishes, fluid dynamics, lighting and high speed photography to see how effective they might be...We did things like pour milk through a funnel into a narrow trough and shoot it with a high-speed camera and folded lens, lighting it carefully and using a frame rate that would give the right kind of flow characteristics to look cosmic, galactic, huge and epic'...Malick did not use typical storybords for these sequences...'He would rather have mysterious phenomena occur while the camera was rolling...[Dan] Glass also joined the proceedings at the Skunkworks in Austin, bringing his own assortment of smoke machines, dyes, chemicals and other Old School cinematic tools to add to the mix."

Also, there was a science advisor, a Natural History professor from Harvard named Andrew Knoll.

Hope that's helpful.

Dan Clinton

Kent, thanks for the info. I'll have to resist reading some Freudian significance into the presence of particulate milk (however unrecognizable) in the film's cosmological sequence.

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