"Green Lantern: Emerald Knights" Animated Appetizer for GL Movie Fans
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Distributor: Warner Home Video
· Chris Berkeley
· Lauren Montgomery
· Jay Oliva
· Nathan Fillion
· Elisabeth Moss
· Jason Isaacs
· Kelly Hu
· Henry Rollins
· Arnold Vosloo
· Roddy Piper
DVD Review: Green Lantern: Emerald Knights
by R.J. Carter
Published: June 6, 2011
On the whole, "Green Lantern: Emerald Knights" is a well-done framework sequence for a collection of Tales of the Green Lantern Corps (and one that's timely marketed to coincide with the release of the WB feature film, "Green Lantern," starring Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively). There are different styles applied to each vignette, presented as stories told to new recruit, Arisia (Elisabeth Moss), as she prepares for a trial-by-fire combat with the rest of the Green Lantern Corps as they scramble to battle Krona, a former Guardian of the Universe who was exiled to the anti-matter universe.
Not that there aren't nits to be picked. The Guardians announce that Krona is using Oa's sun as a portal of reentry into this universe, and is utilizing the same shadow demons as were seen in the Great Crisis, referencing a hallmark DC Universe event. Which begs the question: Why is Sinestro (Jason Isaacs) in the Green Lantern Corps at this point, and why is he still a trusted member, even being the one Green Lantern Hal Jordan (Nathan Fillion) would want at his side in battle?
As the Lanterns all charge up their rings for battle, a nervous Arisia seeks guidance from her mentor, Hal Jordan, who hasn't had that much time to work with the new recruit. As the battle draws nearer, a relatively calm and at ease Jordan gives her examples of courage from past Green Lantern stories, beginning with the first Green Lantern, Avra, a scribe for the Guardians who was present at the first distribution of the original handful of rings.
The Corps is also presented to viewers as a military force, complete with a boot camp to be passed, overseen by the bulky and brutish Kilowog (Henry Rollins). Arisia is nervous around the drill sargeant, prompting Hal to tell the story about Kilowog's drill sargeant, Deegan, who was a real tough guy compared to Kilowog. The story also gives a nice bit of character study for the Green Lantern who has become a fan favorite since his introduction to the mythos.
As the tension mounts, Arisia learns about how the Green Lantern Laira (Kelly Hu) battled her own family to bring peace to her home planet, and how Bolphunga the Relentless (Roddy Piper) came to meet the mysterious Green Lantern Mogo. Sinestro even tells an injured Arisia a story about his old friend, Abin Sur (Arnold Vosloo) who battled alongside Sinestro against Atrocitous of the Five Inversions, a story which prophecied Sinestro would lead his own lantern corps, one based on fear (something comics readers have already seen come to pass with the Blackest Night story arc).
The tales of Mogo and of Abin Sur are both based on short stories by Alan Moore, both of which are classics of the Green Lantern mythos. Their adaptations here are hit and miss, although the Mogo story is nearly a straight translation with an artistic reveal that misses the mark when compared to the same reveal in the comic story. The story of Abin Sur takes a completely different turn, as the prophecy he was supposed to take away from Atrocitous was intended to be the one that led to his death -- and ultimate selection of Hal Jordan to be his replacement.
The final battle with Krona is exciting to watch, but the animators tend to cheap out on a few things visually. (I'm no astronomer, but I think if a planet hits an asteroid, you would actually see the asteroid get smaller as it proceeds through the planet's atmosphere and impacts the ground, not explode on impact with their animated perimeters a la "The Solar System of the Super Friends.") This being Arisia's story all along, it's good to see that she's the one who comes up with a key strategy that could defeat Krona.
If you're looking for a Hal Jordan adventure, this isn't the place to go. But it does give Green Lantern fans in general some animated action they've been clamoring for. An animated series about the Corps wouldn't be a bad idea, with so many possible characters to play with and introduce.
Among the bonus features on this DVD release, the two most interesting are the trailer for the upcoming videogame, Green Lantern: Rise of teh Manhunters, and the first look at the next project in the DC DVD line, "Batman: Year One."