Solved, properly this time.
The prior dmesg log showed the backlight being set to 0.
This article rwfers to the problem, half way down the page http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/Intel_GMA
" Backlight off at boot on 4500M
There is an issue for Acer Aspire 5736z with a GMA 4500M graphics chip, this seems to affect other laptops too. When you boot this laptop the screen is blank because the backlight is extinguished (you can read it with a good flashlight). This issue is present in at least kernels 2.6.39 and 3.0.3, but seems to affect other versions also. The issue arises when you configure the kernel with the i915 drivers and kernel mode setting.You can get a display by appending "nomodeset" to the Grub boot command, but this may stop X from working and you will only have low resolution.One solution is given here https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/752165 : run "setpci -s 00:02.0 F4.B=00" as root to turn the backlight back on. You may be able to do this over ssh, depending on your setup, otherwise you will have to do this with the dark screen."
The setpci solves the issue, and by following the ubuntu bug fix the command is put into /etc/rc.local