Jun 27, 2011

[Movies] Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (2011)

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (2011)While I started my geek life as a Marvel comics fan, in my older years I've come to better appreciate the DC Comics universe a lot more given the quality of their stories (the current "reboot" announcement not considered in this general statement).

This has been especially true when it comes to the direct-to-video movie market that both comic book companies are trying to dominate or at least decently penetrate. To-date I've found myself enjoying the DC Universe animated features more consistently than the Marvel ones, so much so that I don't always take the time to look for their titles. But for DC, I do my best to get a copy of the latest movie as soon as they come out.

Their first foray into making a movie solely about Green Lantern, this being Green Lantern: First Flight, which was enjoyable but not quite there yet. This time around they decided to make a movie that takes a look at more of the Green Lantern Corps as a whole and not just Hal Jordan. It was a good goal and I think the handled the translation into animation pretty decently.

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is DC Universe Animated Movies' eleventh feature release. The movie is acts more like an anthology of stories instead of just one cohesive plot. The movie was directed by Chris Berkeley, Lauren Montgomery and Jay Olivia.

There is a sort of "meta plot" at the core of this movie. In this case, Krona, an anti-matter nemesis of sorts is making its way into our universe through the sun Oa (homeworld of the Green Lantern Corps) orbits. For the safety of the Corps, it is decided to evacuate Oa. Amidst all the action, a novice Green Lantern by the name of Arisia Rab (Elisabeth Moss) has been assigned to Hal Jordan (Nathan Fillion) and Hal starts to tell her stories about the Corps while they are in line to recharge their rings one more time before the inevitable encounter with Krona.

It's a bit of a stretch, but I suppose it's enough of a back story to use as a basis for the Lanterns to be all chatty. After all, telling stories in the face of light-threatening danger is a common coping mechanism used even in our conventional military tales.

The movie goes on to tell the stories of various Green Lanterns who have been famous in the comics, or something along those lines. For the curious, the stories include the tales of the Avra one of the first Green Lantern, Kilowog the famous drill sergeant of the Corps, Laira the princess, Mogo the sentient planet and Abin Sur, Hal Jordan's predecessor. And finally they go head-to-head with Krona in one big confrontation.

The movie follows the same animation style of First Flight, although there is no clear understand about how much time has passed between the two movies. Nathan Fillion made for an interesting alternative voice actor versus Christopher Meloni, although it's hard to get the image of him as Mal from Firefly out of ones head while watching.

Green Lantern CorpsImage via WikipediaMy main challenge with these movies is their concept of voice casting for the roles. In both First Flight and Emerald Knights, I was never very happy with the casting for Kilowog since they tend to pick voices that lack the kind of full-bodied nature to them that you'd expect with a larger than life character like him. I assume that Henry Rollins is famous in his own circles given his musical career, but he made for a pretty lousy Kilowog. In the beginning he really did just sound like a scrawny American guy and by the end he sounded like a white guy trying to sound like a black guy, not racial offense meant in my use of those colorful terms.

The stories in themselves were lovely and they mostly followed the "official" stories as we've come to know them as they were originally told in the comics. Of course I have a major soft spot for Mogo and to have his story featured here was pretty fun. I also liked the Kilowog story (despite the voice acting as mentioned earlier), since I've always felt it to be one of the best Green Lantern Corps stories out there.

Of course the release of the video was timed to coincide with the worldwide release of the Ryan Reynolds movie and it's a bit sad to think that I think I enjoyed this movie more than the live-action one. But that's a story I'll need to save for my formal review of that movie, which is scheduled to be published next week.

Green Lantern Emerald Knights is a fun addition to any Green Lantern home video collection whether or not you know the series all that well. It gets 4 Green Lantern energy constructs out of 5.



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2 comments:

elmerlovesoreo said...

I enjoyed watching Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, as well as Green Lantern: First Flight. I'm a big Green Lantern fan! :)

rOckY said...

Elmer:

I can totally relate to your Green Lantern love - I have a soft spot for the power ring wielder myself, although I tend to favor Kyle Rayner over Hal Jordan, hehe.

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