By: Adam Basciano
With the Green Lantern film just days away, the studio decided to release an animated film to build hype, and capitalize on the excitement for Green Lantern. The end result is Green Lantern Emerald Knights. The film is often compared to Batman: Gotham Knights because of its structure. Both films were split up into six interlocking chapters. There are two major differences between the films. The Batman feature consisted of six separate stories. While you could watch them together, they didn’t make sense as a complete narrative. Not to mention, the animation was so different from chapter to chapter, it got uglier as the film went along. Second only to Batman & Robin, it is the worst Batman film I’ve ever seen. Emerald Knights on the other hand, was a complete film, with each chapter focusing on a specific Lantern featured in the main story of the movie.
“As the home planet of the Green Lantern Corps faces a battle with an ancient enemy, Hal Jordan prepares new recruit Arisia for the coming conflict by relating stories of the first Green Lantern and several of Hal’s comrades.” Green Lantern: First Flight was a more intimate film, largely focused on the relationship of Hal Jordan and Sinestro. It focused on their mentor/pupil relationship, their schism, and eventual battle as adversaries. Emerald Knights was far more grand scale. It focused on the Green Lantern Corps, their founding, unity, and what it means to be a member in the intergalactic police force. As a fan of the comic books, I loved the grand scale threat of Krona, the renegade Guardian. It seemed like perfect timing as Krona is the villain du jour in the monthly books at the moment. Although, I doubt that this is a coincidence given Geoff Johns’ involvement. Two of my favourite of the six chapters were the segments focused on Kilowog and Laira. These two were the most entertaining, character driven, emotional, and action packed segments of the film. You really understand why they are so highly thought of in the Green Lantern Corps. The Abin Sur portion was fun from a fanboy standpoint, because it nods to things like the Red Lanterns, and Blackest Night. The animation is in the same vein as “First Flight” which is fine. I appreciate that despite different artists working on the film, the art had a uniform feel to it.
I wasn’t particularly fond of the voice acting in the film. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Moss did fine with what they were given, but they were under utilized. Nathan, who is a fan favorite for the role of Hal Jordan, was reduced to a narrator, while Elizabeth’s character simply made occasional comments during Hal’s history lesson. I thought Jason Isaacs was mundane as Sinestro, while Henry Rollins was too soft as Kilowog. The stand out vocal performances go to Kelly Hu as Laira, and Wade Williams as Deegan. Williams was so good as a pre – cursor to Kilowog as the drill sergeant, he should have been Kilowog himself. I was also disappointed with the overall portrayal of Arisia. I like how Arisia is the ultimate hero of the piece, and how she gained confidence in her ability as a Green Lantern, after hearing stories of how other Green Lantern’s fared on their rookie missions. However, her quickness in devising a plan to beat Krona, was a little to unbelievable to accept coming from a rookie Green Lantern.
This film is not a DC Universe Animated film masterpiece the likes of “Batman: Under the Red Hood”, and “All – Star Superman”. It is what it is, advertisement for the live action film. Yet, in the midst of all that is an entertaining film. It serves as a good introduction on the basics of the Green Lantern Corps and mythology. Beyond solid entertainment value, I’d recommend this film for the special features. Two documentaries are featured on the Blu – Ray disc. One is an overall look at the Green Lantern Corps , while the other looks at Geoff Johns’ masterful resurrection of the Green Lantern mythology since “Rebirth.” Also on the disc is a sneak peek at the next DCU Animated Film, “Batman: Year One”, which looks like excellence in the making. I recommend Green Lantern: Emerald Knights to new and long – time fans of the character.
Overall Grade: 7/10