June 2011 Forecast
By David Mumpower
June 2, 2011
4) Mr. Popper’s Penguins
While Cars 2 is clearly the top family film choice for the month, Jim Carrey’s latest project is a frontline feature as well. A loose adaptation of the Richard & Florence Atwater story you may have read as a child, the movie reduces the number of penguins down from a dozen to half a dozen, but the general premise is still the same. A man in America has no business raising animals whose natural habitat is the North and South Pole. This leads to many hijinks, meaning that while Carrey isn’t technically back to being a pet detective, this is the closest he’s come to talking out of his butt since 1995. This is a live action version of Happy Feet, a film that earned just under $200 million at the box office, and it stars Jim Carrey. There is a lot of reason to believe that this becomes one of the solid hits of the summer box office campaign.
5) Green Lantern
I have mocked this character so much that you would think he made Aquaman look like Batman. The entire storyline mystifies me. I fail to see the appeal of intergalactic cops if they aren’t men dressed in black. I particularly fail to see the appeal of a character who needs jewelry to perform appropriately (I mean, that’s turning Liberace into a comic book hero). And I specifically dislike the insipid idea that a single color can fell hundreds of the universe’s finest police offices. Green Lantern as a character fundamentally fails the laugh test for me. All of these are my problems and I will deal with them.
Here is what I have to say about Green Lantern as a property. There is no disputing the fact that DC Comics writer Geoff Johns reinvigorated the character over the past five years through several comic book events. Those include The Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night and Brightest Day. Despite my comments above, you will be surprised to learn that I have read all of the above. I make it my mission to stay as informed as possible on all pop culture subject matter, so I bit the bullet here in order to understand the character, its appeal, and the potential for the movie. Along the way, my primary discovery has been that Swamp Thing is a DC Comics character. I had no idea. Of course, even though it was a key player in Brightest Day, it will not be appearing in the movie, so that’s irrelevant to the topic at hand. It’s just a note for less informed John Carpenter fans such as myself.
What is important is that the key to any good comic book adaptation is a great origin story. Even more of an imperative is having a great villain. These are the two aspects of the Green Lantern story that justify a movie. The idea that an ordinary military official could suddenly discover he is needed to police a sector of the universe is engaging. But that premise on its own would not be enough. Enter Sinestro. The mentor for Green Lantern eventually becomes his worst enemy and while I’m not certain if that happens during this movie or is drawn out over sequels (assuming the film does enough business to justify one or more of them), I can say with complete sincerity that Sinestro will get me into the theater in a manner that Green Lantern would not.