Script: Green Lantern by Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim & Michael Goldenberg
Logline: A test pilot is granted an alien ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.
Continuing my with my man crush on Ryan Reynolds, I figured it’d also be a good idea to take a look at Green Lantern. Why? To me it SHOULD have been a good movie, but wasn’t. Maybe the script can shed some light on that.
(Hopefully, as I’ve tried to watch the movie twice now and have fallen asleep both times.)
1.) Can we visualize the description?
The description was REALLY good.
It set a very playful tone from the very beginning and kept it up throughout. The one thing I liked most about it was the references to Green Lantern lore.
Now I’ve always enjoyed comic books, but never read the Green Lantern (I was a Batman guy on the DC side). So I’m not sure exactly how accurate it all was, but to me it felt like the writers were fans, and that showed through making the story more enjoyable.
One opening bit I liked (that was good but not necessarily playful):
They spar, mastering assorted weapons of green light. Fluid. Beautiful. A sci-fi martial art.
That last bit setup the kind of movie we’re about to read/see.
Another from page 3:
…a few years and orthodontist visits away from growing into her looks…
Very cool way to describe the future love interest of Hal Jordan.
Lastly, this one, that is the precise example of playful, but I think goes a bit too far. Page 87:
Sinestro helps him to his feet. Hal’s temples are now gray. (Fanboys orgasm appropriately.)
There’s MULTIPLE examples of good and funny description, which I think lends especially to Ryan Reynolds playing Hal Jordan, but the one thing I’m taking a point off for is the vulgarities.
Quite a few f bombs in the description, and it doesn’t really add anything. Swearing’s fine, but the repeated use of “fuck” just because you can use it felt more juvenile that creative.
9 out of 10 points.
2.) Does the author use an acceptable format?
Format was pretty good.
One thing I didn’t care for was “CUT TO:” wouldn’t always be on it’s own line. This felt awkward since I didn’t always see it.
For us as spec writers I’d argue to avoid transitions altogether, BUT if you feel you need to use them SPARINGLY, they need to be in the proper spot, to the right of the page and on their own line.
8 out of 10 points.
3.) Is the dialogue free of exposition and rich in subtext? Does each character have a unique voice?
I didn’t take down all but one note on the dialogue.
For the most part it was okay, but more importantly kept short, and it kept the story moving.
There was no filler dialogue, and more often than not Hal was trying to cover something up, so there was a lot of subtext.
Everyone was also drawn appropriately too, with unique voices.
The one note I did take was right at the beginning where Hal is talking to Jenna (his one night stand from the previous evening).
Page 9 – Both of them lied to each other for the simple reason of they wanted to sleep together. It was funny, clever, but also showed how shallow the main character is, which gives him a place to go by the end of the story.
This type of dialogue also set the tone for what was coming.
10 out of 10 points.
4.) Does the writer understand the challenges and rewards posed by the medium chosen in which to tell his/her story? Shorthand version of this is: Is it a movie and not a play?
The opening alone with aliens sparring on the planet Oa constitutes a movie. This was definitely written to be a big budget, summer blockbuster.
10 out of 10 points.
5.) Is there anything unique in what the writer presents? Are the writer’s ideas, based on this sample, likely to continue to be original?
Here it felt like a typical comic book origin story.
It was cool for me that I didn’t know a lot about Green Lantern before going into the movie/script, but it did feel a lot like the recent revisits to origin stories like Spiderman, but not as original as say Batman Begins.
Still good though, and again it felt like the writers had knowledge of the Green Lantern lore.
7 out of 10 points.
6.) Does the script have a hook?
The script starts out different from the movie, that much I know.
Instead of showing Legion escaping, it starts by showing the Green Lantern Corps on Oa.
This helped out, and felt like a more natural place to start, since not everyone will be familiar with what the corps is and how it operates.
It also helped to show how the rings work, summoning green items that the Lanterns call from their minds.
It’s a very showy expo dump.
Midway through page 2 we also get the back-story of Hal and his dad.
15 out of 15 points.
7.) Is that hook effective?
This is another place where the script differed from the movie.
I ENJOYED this part being presented as an actual scene instead of just flashbacks.
It gave me more of a reason to see why Hal dislikes and blames Carl Ferris, and why he grows up the way he does.
PLUS there’s not a line about being paid not to be afraid, or something stupid.
INSTEAD, Martin Jordan bestows upon his son the nugget of information of being chosen for something when he’s an adult (page 3). This is a MUCH better tie in to how Hal eventually becomes a hero, and more useful information than “don’t be afraid.”
Things keep moving, so we get to see a grown Hal, who’s a womanizer, but also see him out maneuver “unbeatable” drone planes by doing something careless.
This kept me reading, and the occasional flashbacks to his dad made more sense for the rest of the script.
15 out of 15 points.
8.) Is there enough to maintain the hook? Reveals, conflict, etc.?
Up until the midpoint this all worked well.
What didn’t was the fact that Hal and the corps have to take care of Legion, but Hal also has to stop Hector on Earth.
Two REALLY big problems that got forced into one movie. There wasn’t enough time to fully develop each, so we just got abridged versions of both.
Legion felt like a bigger problem that should have been dealt with over a trilogy, with defeating Hector being Hal’s ascent to heroism.
(I don’t know how it panned out in the movie since I fell asleep both times before this part.)
In addition to this, I didn’t like the Sinestro flashback so near to the end. Legion’s creation story should have been saved for a sequel, or scrapped altogether for more story development for either fighting Legion or Hector.
Just too much forced into the story.
4 out of 10 points.
9.) Does the story play to a target audience, and have the elements demanded by that audience?
So going by our figures, the movie budget was $200,000,000 and made just under $220,000,000 to date worldwide.
That’s good considering it kind of tanked at the box office.
I’m not sure we can hold that against the script though, because I think there were good elements in the script that were left out or scrapped for plot ideas that didn’t work in the film.
The biggest for me was Sinestro being HELPFUL to Hal, not a complete ass. The movie made me dislike Sinestro very much, and I also questioned how “good” these Green Lanterns really were as heroes.
In the script, Sinestro was a pretty good guy who didn’t push Hal into being a hero, but was there to help him when he was ready.
One small bit I didn’t like was how unbeatable Legion seemed to be when Sinestro and the gang were fighting him, then suddenly they’re back on Oa with a few folks dead and Legion in chains. It felt rushed and ill written.
7 out of 10 points.
Alright, bring it on.
I know some of you are going to give me a good tongue lashing for the high score this script received, but my first question will be, did you read it, and was it the version on our site?
Remember, I’m not basing this score on the movie, but the SCRIPT I linked to in the beginning. (I’m not even sure if it’s a legit script, just one I found in two different spots with the names of the writers credited on IMDB.)
As I talked it over with Roy, I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed the story, and compared it to the Spiderman movies of a few years ago. (I’ve not seen the most recent one.) It had all the elements of a good origin story, and on top over everything IT KEPT MOVING.
Total 85 out of 100 points.
PS – If you DID read it and disagree, please feel free to do so in the comments. That’s why they’re there.