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Review: Green Lantern Blu-ray/DVD Extended Cut

How much does the extended cut add to the original movie?

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Green Lantern is making its way to Blu-ray and DVD (as well as a 3D home version). Comic fans looked forward to the movie but it wasn't quite all that we hoped it would be. I won't rehash the movie review I posted back in June. I still feel the same as I did before. I do like Ryan Reynolds as an actor but felt he was not the right casting choice to play Hal Jordan. Blake Lively's role didn't quite capture the strong character of Carol Ferris seen in the comics and Peter Sarsgaard sometimes came across as a little silly as Hector Hammond. As for Parallax, trying to depict him was a challenge to begin with. I'm just not a fan of giant smokey creatures. Some of the visuals were a little shakey but as a long time Green Lantern fan, there was still some pretty rad moments seeing the ring's construct visualized in live-action form.

Comic book fans can be the harshest critics when it comes to comic book movies. We know the movies can't and won't be completely faithful to the original source. When viewing this movie and other adaptations, you have to decide how forgiving you're willing to be and see if it's possible to enjoy the movie as a piece of entertainment and not a pure translation of the comic book characters.

What really got me interested in this release was the fact that it includes an extended cut (not available in 3D or on the DVD). The movie was nearly two hours but a couple of my complaints was Hal's time on Oa and his learning period before facing Hector for the first time felt too brief. It was my hope that the extended portions would address these issues and the idea of seeing more of Oa was exciting.

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After watching the extended version, I almost didn't notice what had been added. The extended version does run about nine minutes longer. It turns out the extra footage pretty much occurs at the very beginning. We see young Hal at home and sneaking off to see his dad's test flight (and we know how that ends). A little of this footage was seen in flashbacks when Hal's jet was about to crash. Seeing the full footage was reminiscent to Geoff Johns' 'Secret Origin' issues.

Many comments I've seen about the extended version were questions asking if the extra footage makes the movie better. The answer is, not really. It helps to get a better sense of Hal. It helps you understand why he lives his life so recklessly and it was a nice touch seeing that Hal, Carol and even Hector knew each other since they were kids. The extra footage did not fix the timing issues or moments of silliness with Hector or Parallax. It was good to see but it didn't completely change the movie. After the incident with Hal's father, it goes to the present and original beginning of the movie.

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One thing that was a great touch was the DC Comics 'New 52' commercial automatically playing when you pop the disc in your player. This is something I've said was necessary for some time now. Many that see comic book movies are unaware that comic books are still made or that they come out on a weekly/monthly basis. Granted the commercial doesn't fully explain what the 'New 52' is all about but it's a start.

Green Lantern is also the movie that comes with UltraViolet Digital Copy. Warner Bros. has announced titles with this feature that allows you to instantly stream movies from a digital cloud to computers, tablets and smartphones. The disc comes with a code needed to activate and access your digital copy.

PS3 only...
PS3 only...

PS3 fans planning on getting 'Batman: Arkham Asylum' also get a code for a Sinestro Corps Batman skin you can use in the story campaign and challenge maps.

You also have the option of watching the movie in 'Maximum Movie Mode.' This allows you to uncover secrets during the movie. I chose not to check this feature out as I always find these types of things as more of an annoyance.

Also in the Special Features are several mini 'making of' features. These include The Art of Green Lantern (showing pre-production art); Weapons Hot: The U.C.A.V. Dog Fight; Reinventing the Superhero Costume (you can find out how they made Ryan Reynolds and Sinestro wear those shining suits); Ring Slinging 101 (behind the scenes footage showing the addition of CGI); We Are The Corps (information on the prominent members of the Corps); Acting Under 10 Pounds of Silicone (the transformation of Peter Saarsgard to look more like "Krona"); Guardians Revealed and When Parallax Attacks.

Besides the mini 'Focus Points' features, there is The Universe According to Green Lantern which shows Hal Jordan's inception and rebirth. We also get to see Ryan Reynolds Becomes Green Lantern with the physical and mental training he went through.

Despite being an extended cut (only nine minutes), there were still just over seven minutes of other scenes not used. Some of them are not complete with special effects but there was some scenes with them. The strangest one involves Hector Hammond and one of his hamsters. There's also a different scene with Hal arriving on Oa asking Sinestro for help on Earth against Parallax (it's weird seeing the two in their filming suits rather than the shiny glowing ones in the movie), Hal talks to Carol about getting to safety before Parallax arrives and a scene with Hal's brother and nephew preparing to seek shelter.

Another great move was the inclusion of a digital copy Justice League #1. While it might not be the best introduction for non-comic book readers, the fact that it features the first encounter between Batman and Hal Jordan could be enough to get some to seek out the comics. The comic reader operates similarly to comiXology's reader but doesn't fully zoom in on individual panels.

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Overall, it's unfortunate that the movie didn't turn out better. There were definitely parts that I liked and many parts that left me shaking my head...or my fist. The behind-the scenes/extra features were actually pretty cool, seeing how they made it all happen. While I didn't love the movie, it is one I'd want in my library. The characters may not have been portrayed as comic fans might've liked but seeing the ring's light constructs and getting a glimpse of Oa were things I've always wanted to see turned to live action. My fingers are crossed that if there should be a sequel, the complaints many had will be addressed and we'll get something even better.