Friday, August 5, 2011

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights Review

Released in conjunction with the big screen release of Green Lantern, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is a direct to DVD animated feature. It's similar to Warner's direct to DVD release of Batman: Gotham Knight (2008) was to The Dark Knight.(2008) Both movies are a compilation of short stories.

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights starts out with the discovery that Krona, an evil alien from the anti-matter universe is using the sun of Oa, the home of the Guardians of the Universe and the Green Lantern Corps, to launch attacks against it. You see the Guardians have established the cosmic police force, the Green Lantern Corps, to enforce justice through out the universe. The Guardians recall virtually all the Green Lantern to Oa to defend the planet.

Rookie Arisia (Elisabeth Moss) is taken under the wing of human Green Lantern Hal Jordan. (Nathan Fillion) Being recently drafted into service, she knows very little of the history of the Green Lantern. So while the Green Lanterns gather to confront Krona, he tells her the stories of various Green Lanterns. It's these flashbacks that make up the movie.

There are five flashbacks. I found three of them compelling. These three range from the tale of the first Green Lantern to the story of Laira to a tale about Abin Sur, the predecessor for Hal Jordan. The first Green Lantern known as Avra tells the story of how a scribe became a Green Lantern. It talks about the need for a cosmic police force to prevent evil beings from preying upon the weak. It's an inspiring tale about the power of will to overcome one's obstacles. Laira's story is about her having to confront her father who is leading a rogue attack on his enemies. Confronting her father has a Shakespearean vibe to it. It's an emotionally deep tragedy. Abin Sur's tale is about his fight with Atrocitus. Atrocitus for tells the betrayal of the Corps by Abin Sur's friend, Sinestro. Abin Sur must confront how much he believes in destiny.

All five stories are epic in scale. There's much action here. And battles between armies and Green Lanterns are well produced. The planets, and aliens are cool looking. The animation mixes CGI 3D and 2D very well. Unlike Batman: Gotham Knights, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights has a unity of animation style. The artists don't veer to deep anime from 3D CGI. It all looks great on the screen. And the unity of animation styles helps tie all the tales together.

Kudos to directors Christopher Berkely, Lauren Montgomery, Jay Oliva and voice director Andrea Romano for combining six stories with different writers for a cohesive narrative. It all feels organic. And while there maybe too much action, it doesn't overwhelm the drama of the situation. I appreciate that this film explains the genesis of the Green Lantern Corps. By doing so, one gets a feel for the heroic nature of the Corps. That's something missing from the live action movie starring Ryan Reynolds.

The voice acting is top notch. Three performances stand out. Elisabeth Moss gives her character, Arisia, the proper fresh off the bus feeling. Arnold Vosloo, on the other hand plays a veteran Green Lantern in Abin Sur, one who completed many missions. Whereas Nathan Fillion as Hal Jordan surprisingly comes off as a father type figure.

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is heroic and epic. It's better than its companion live action film. The grade is A.

1 comment:

David Andrews said...

Nice review mate - check mine out when you have the chance -