[The Week in Geek is a weekly Tuesday column that plunges headfirst into a deep pool of genre geekiness without ever coming up for air.]
Kudos to Martin Campbell's 'Green Lantern' film for not being embarrassed of its comic book roots. There's no disguising it -- the trailer is chock full of funky aliens and cosmic derring-do, and, according to our own Todd Gilchrist, it's "a very big movie." Good! There's often too much hand-wringing about whether or not movie audiences will accept some of comics' more outlandish concepts. Bryan Singer reined in the X-Men, Tim Story turned Galactus into a space cloud, and Jon Favreau still seems hesitant to introduce The Mandarin into Iron Man's world.
These are comic book movies, and, in a way, we know what we're signing up for. Ridiculous is a-okay, as long as it's cool. If audiences can accept a stretchy guy, an invisible lady, a rocky lug, a man that can catch his own skin on fire, and a metallic alien on a surfboard all in the same film, then I think we're okay with Galactus being a humanoid cosmic giant, and not a cloud. Not to single out 'Rise of the Silver Surfer,' but it does make for an interesting comparison. Story's space-based superhero film hid behind safe (embarrassing) humor, and he killed a potential franchise by not delivering the goods where it counts. 'Green Lantern' is going whole hog, and quibbles about Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan become secondary to the absolute fanboy elation at seeing the Green Lantern Corps and Oa brought to life.
So ... who are all these strange characters in the trailer?
Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds)
He's the Green Lantern, of course! Think of the Green Lanterns as space police, with Earth residing squarely in Jordan's "precinct." With his ring, which can create energy constructs at will, he's charged with the protection of Sector 2814 by a council of aliens called the Guardians of Oa.
Carol Ferris (Blake Lively)
Hal's (obvious) love interest and one of the heads of Ferris Aircraft, the company Jordan works for as a civilian test pilot. In the comics, Ferris is often mind-controlled by a group of aliens called the Zamarons into fighting against Jordan as the villainous Star Sapphire. In this film, however, Ferris is only Jordan's romantic foil, and not one of his arch-enemies. It will be interesting to see if Lively becomes Star Sapphire as the films continue forward.
Thomas Kalmaku (Taika Waititi)
Jordan's closest confidant is Ferris Aircraft mechanic Tom Kalmaku. For years, this Inuit grease monkey was referred to by the unfortunate (and racist) nickname "Pieface," but I'd be willing to bet that it's never brought up in Campbell's live-action film.
Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison)
Abin Sur is Hal Jordan's predecessor, passing his own Green Lantern ring on to Jordan with his last breath after crash-landing in the desert.
This Xudarian scientist is one of the Green Lantern Corps' trainers, and one of the first members of the Corps to take a liking to Jordan. In the 2009 animated film 'Green Lantern: First Flight,' Tomar Re is voiced by John Laroquette.
Sinestro (Mark Strong)
Most famous as Green Lantern's number one enemy, word is that his villainy will be taking a bit of a backseat in this first film, with more to come from Sinestro in the already-greenlit sequel. It's obvious from his uniform in the trailer, that Sinestro is still a Green Lantern at this point -- albeit an arrogant, forceful one. In Hal's early days as a Green Lantern, Sinestro was assigned as his mentor, but Hal soon uncovered and exposed Sinestro's unwavering mean streak to the Guardians and the Corps.
Kilowog is perhaps the most trusted trainer in the Corps, a monstrous drill sergeant with a heart of gold (uh...emerald?), who instructs all the rookie Lanterns how to handle the power of their rings. While Kilowog's voice is not-yet-cast, in Green Lantern's animated adventures, the bruiser has been voiced by a wide array of talents including John Di Maggio (Bender from 'Futurama'), Dennis Haysbert, Michael Madsen, and Diedrich Bader.
Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard)
Hammond is Green Lantern's primary villain in the film, a power-hungry mad scientist, who, in the comics, gains mental powers after exposing himself to a strange meteor fragment. Although I'm not sure if the meteor provides his origin in this movie, they seem to be keeping his mental powers and giant, ever-expanding cranium. Might wanna get that looked at, Hector.
'Green Lantern' comes to the big screen on June 17, 2011. You've got plenty of 'Green Lantern' comic books to catch up on until then.