Australian Council on Children and the Media

Green Lantern

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Not suitable under 12; PG to 12-15 (Violence; Disturbing scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Green Lantern
  • a review of Green Lantern completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 16 August 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not suitable due to violence and disturbing scenes
Children aged 12-15 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and disturbing themes.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Green Lantern
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Science fiction themes and violence
Length 114 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Green Lantern opens with narration telling how a race of immortal ancients known as The Guardians created an army of intergalactic superheroes known as the Green Lanterns, whose role was to keep the peace and protected the universe against evil. Each Green Lantern was given a ring that gave the wearer super-powers and the ability to materialise anything that their imagination could create. We learn that an ancient evil called Parallax using fear as its source of power has escaped its imprisonment and is out to destroy the universe, and that the Green Lanterns may not be enough to stop it.

The Guardians send their greatest warrior Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) to confront Parallax, but Abin Sur is mortally wounded and crash-lands his ship on Earth. Before dying Abin Sur passes his ring on to Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), an arrogant, self-centred, playboy who works as a test pilot. The ring transports Hal to the Green Lantern’s home world where he is trained as a Green Lantern by Sinestro (Mark Strong), head of the Green Lantern corp. Hal fails to meet Sinestro’s standards and, believing himself to be a failure, returns to Earth.

When Parallax threatens Earth Hal, with the help of his close friend Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), is forced to re-evaluate himself and take action.  

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Alien powers; superheroes

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Green Lantern contains intense comic book style violence with minimal depiction of blood and gore, but some brutality and torture. Examples include:

Parallax kills three alien beings by sucking out their souls; we see images of what appears to be the skeletons of the aliens being ripped from their bodies and sucked into Parallax’s mouth, leaving behind shrivelled corpses.    

Three men attack Hal in a parking lot, two of them holding Hal’s arms while a third punches him in the stomach and knees him in the head.  The three men then punch Hal numerous times in the face, head and body and throw him to the ground. Hal accidentally unleashes his super powers, throwing the three men through the air. One man crashes through a brick wall while another crashes through a car windscreen.

During a training session/fight between Hal and two aliens we see a troll-like alien throw a large disk at Hal knocking Hal backwards dozens of meters. The alien offers to help Hal up, but then punches Hal in the face knocking him back down while Hal punches the alien in the groin. Hal is also thrown through a brick wall, and has two large boulders thrown at him.  A second alien attacks Hal with a variety of weapons, all created by mind power.

In a flashback a young boy watches his father’s jet plane catch fire and crash after takeoff. The father gets out of the cockpit and appears uninjured, but as the young boy runs towards his father the plane explodes in a giant fireball instantly killing the father as the young boy looks on.

A grotesquely disfigured man infected with an alien virus uses telekinetic powers to force a man to stab himself in the forehead with a hypodermic syringe with such force that it knocks the man off his feet. The man also uses his powers to restrain another man on a table and use flame throwers to engulf the table and the screaming man in flames. A woman is thrown head first into a plate glass window with enough force to crack the window. The man then uses his powers to control two giant robot arms that pick up two soldiers and slam them into each other, while other soldiers have their own tasers turned against them. Later in the film, we see the same mutated man using his powers to suspend a woman mid air while a hypodermic syringe containing an alien virus floats millimetres from her throat.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight, including the following:

Initially the alien creature Parallax has a face with yellow evil looking eyes and a mouth full of pointed fangs. During the course of the film, Parallax changes to resemble a giant black smoke cloud with smoke tentacles for arms and an evil looking skull with yellow glowing eyes that transforms out of the centre of the cloud.

Throughout the film we see countless varieties of alien creatures. The alien Abin Sur has a humanoid appearance while having transparent red skin with individual muscle fibres visible beneath the skin. Another alien has a troll-like appearance while yet another has fish-like characteristics.

After being wounded Abin Sur has a large bloody wound with purple blood on his shoulder and chest and a number of small cuts to his face. He dies from his injuries and we see his dead body later on an autopsy table.   

A man examines a large wound in the chest of a dead alien, sticking his finger and hand into the wound and becoming covered with purple blood.

In several scenes a man who has been infected with an alien virus grabs hold of his head and screams in pain as his head, face and jaw mutate and become grotesquely swollen and misshapen.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Apple and LG.

There is also associated merchandise such as figurines being marketed to children.

Sexual references

The film contains occasional low-level sexual references and innuendo in this movie. Examples include:

  • A woman talks about a man disappointing women sexually

In a sexual innuendo a man talks about having sex with a woman for the first time by referring to “flying planes together”.  A woman tells him that he would fly with anyone who would get into a plane with him.

Nudity and sexual activity

The film contains occasional partial nudity and sexual activity.  Examples include:

  • We see a man and woman in bed with the man’s head resting on the woman’s bare shoulders. The man leaps out of bed wearing underpants.
  • A woman wears a low cut evening dress
  • A woman and man kiss

Use of substances

The film contains infrequent alcohol drinking with no intoxication. Examples include:

  • social drinking of beer and champagne

Coarse language

The film contains some low-level coarse language. Examples include:

  • arsehole, god damn it, bullshit, stupid son of a bitch, freak, weakling, loser, total screw up, Oh Jesus, I screwed this up

In a nutshell

Green Lantern is a science fiction superhero adventure based on the Green Lantern comic books. The film is full of fast paced action and special effects and is likely to appeal to adolescents. Parents are cautioned that the film contains a number of scenes likely to scare children and younger teens.  

The main message from this movie is that the ability to overcome fear exists within us all, but that admitting you are afraid is the first step.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • courage
  • self sacrifice
  • empathy

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

On more than one occasion Hal displays thoughtless, reckless and self destructive behaviour that endangers both life and property, but the film does not depict any of the real life consequences of such reckless behaviour. Parents may wish to discuss the real world dangers and consequences of such behaviour.

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