Friday, July 30, 2010

Green Lantern: First Flight DVD Review

After reading about the upcoming Green Lantern film (2011), I ran into a Warner DVD from 2009 about Green Lantern, called "Green Lantern: First Flight." When I was a kid, I liked Green Lantern but forgot about him long ago. After watching this DVD, I was reminded why I liked Green Lantern. It was a cool sci-fi story.

Green Lantern: First Flight is an origin story. It's the story of test pilot Hal Jordan (Christopher Meloni) who gets a power ring from a dying alien, Abin Sur. The ring allows Hal Jordan to join the Green Lantern Corps, an interstellar police force. The Guardians led by Appa Ali Apsa (William Schallert, Star Trek "The Trouble with Tribbles" sweet, The Patty Duke Show) oversee the Green Lantern corps, and don't believe this human is qualified to be part of the corp. Fellow Green Lantern Sinestro (Victor Garber, Alias) volunteers to take Jordan under his wing and train him. The first mission? Jordan escorts Sinestro on the investigation of who killed Abin Sur.

Alan Burnett's screenplay respects the source material primarily by telling the details of the story of Green Lantern. Director Lauren Montgomery keeps the tale epic and heroic. Jordan may joke about his situation but he still comes off as a noble guy. The animation is a mix of CGI and traditional 2D. It's done in a refreshing realistic style. And unlike Warner's previous "Gotham Knight" DVD, the narrative is consistent, primarily because unlike "Knight" the animation is the same. Robert Kral's score will give you goose bumps and make you believe that a green ring can empower a man with superpowers.

The voice performances are outstanding. Meloni gives Jordan a modern spin. While Victor Garber really sells his fascist beliefs as Sinestro. If you thought he was a bad ass as the CIA operative in Alias, in this DVD, he's ruthless in his ends justifies the means of operation. Michael Madsen is bear like as the hulking alien Green Lantern, Kilowog.

The animated feature doesn't skimp when it comes to alien Green Lantern corps members. There are clear non-humanoid creatures. That's the cool part I remember as a kid. The film does have one problem. It's too short. We leap quickly into space without knowing anything about Jordan. But that's a small complaint. If you love Green Lantern, get this DVD. The two disc special edition is recommended as there are short documentaries on the Green Lantern, two Justice League cartoons and the funny Daffy Duck spoof, "The Green Loontern." Let's hope the 2011 movie is as good as this animated feature. The grade is A.

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