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Green Lantern Emerald Knights DVD Review | Comic Book Fury

Green Lantern Emerald Knights DVD Review

June 13, 2011 by
Filed under: Reviews 

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It’s Green Lantern week, kids! All week long, we’re going to give you lots of Green Lantern content in preparation for this Friday’s premiere of the live-action flick starring Ryan Reynolds. Give us your thoughts and let us know if you have anything you want to talk about regarding the popular DC character.


There’s obviously been a great concern for Green Lantern as of late. The books are at a climax in the War of the Green Lanterns arc that is not registering well with a lot of fans. They’ve called for a back-to-basics approach, taking the legendary corps back to their space cop roots. And then there was the First Flight animated flick from a couple of years ago, which, while having some high points with Victor Garber as Sinestro and some cool visuals, wasn’t the sales or critical smash DC and Warner Brothers was hoping for. Lastly, we’ve got a live-action showing of the character coming out this weekend that fans are being cautiously optimistic about. There’s no telling what Ryan Reynolds and team will bring to the table and the early trailers Warner Bros. released late last year brought concern, especially when the company admitted that the special effects weren’t fully ready at the time.

That all said and done, we can understand the skepticism going into DC’s 11th animated movie offering in Green Lantern Emerald Knights and whether or not it would do its material justice. Give credit to Bruce Timm and team though for giving the character another shot – and not so much in the sense that they did this because DC and Warner Bros. wanted something to tie into the live-action flick. They took the focus off Hal Jordan this time and centered it on the Corps itself – how it came to be, the personalities behind it, and what makes them a force to be reckoned with. It’s because of that mentality that this anthology ranks this as one of DC’s best animated offerings.

The Story
The story overall is the Green Lantern Corps preparing themselves for a battle with Krona, who is making his way out of the Anti-Matter Universe after the Guardians had banished him there billions of years ago. This gets touched upon in brief moments for the majority of the film – the bulk of it is the Corps sharing their tales of the group to a new recruit, Arisia. We get everything leading into their big, cosmic battle with Krona – the first Lanterns being chosen, Kilowog’s rise to the Corps trainer, Laira confronting her past, why Mogo doesn’t socialize, and Abin Sur’s confrontation with Atrocitus about the Blackest Night prophecy (not the one you’re thinking of though). Some humorous, some serious – but all eventually leading to what makes this group of extraterrestial beings the most powerful around, especially when Krona makes his way out of the sun to begin his conquest. It’s an effective anthology tale that tells us why we should care about them before giving us a special effects tour de force.


The Good
This could have fallen flat on its face like the last anthology series DC did in Batman Gotham Knight. And it thankfully did the exact opposite.

The majority of the shorts is what defines this movie. You really get a sense of the spectacular when you watch these brave beings slip on their rings and put their lives on the line for the sake of the galaxies. The First Lantern short is proof of that in the beginning – the minute you see the first Corps come to realize what they could do with constructs, you get a great sense of how powerful this group can be. It’s thrilling to see their realization and it sucks you in from the get-go.

Laira’s short was the highlight for me. The most serious of the bunch and written by Eddie Berganza, it takes us into a war that results in a family squabble as a result of Laira’s choice to become a Green Lantern. We’ve seen this Shakespearian plot done many times before, but it’s refreshing to see in a galactic setting. And the DC animators are getting better with fight scenes with each DVD offering – this was probably one of the most well-choreographed animated fights I’ve seen in a while. And Kelly Hu’s Laira definitely has a gung-ho vibe that works well with the character.

And Dave Gibbons of Watchmen fame gives us what wrestling fans want – Rowdy Roddy Piper as the warlord Bolphunga searching for the greatest warriors to defeat in the galaxy. It takes him to Mogo and the rest is history. Long-time GL fans will know already who Mogo is, but it doesn’t take away the satisfaction of seeing Bolphunga not realizing what he got himself into.

With all the shorts and the spectacular showdown with Krona at the end, this is the cosmic space conflict we wanted to see realized in First Flight that never happened.

The Bad
Despite how visually attractive the Krona battle was, there was never much to get attached to with that conflict. Krona is mad and he wants to smash. If you can get past that as it hovers over the entire anthology, you’ll enjoy it more. And despite my praise for the shorts, I was disappointed in how much I didn’t care for Kilowog’s. Much as the story of him rising to the rank of drill sergeant was decent, Henry Rollins’ voice-over didn’t make him a convincing character. Didn’t seem rugged enough from my perspective.

The Extras
Not much to scream at here. We get a good look into their next animated offering in Batman : Year One. The animation style seems like they’re going to mimic the book to the tee. You get your standard trailers for some past DC animated movies and the upcoming GL video game, but that’s it.

Overall
An impressive collection of stories that would make the Corps proud. Visually stunning with a lot of emotional resonance that could relate to a whole range of people. It’s definitely 3rd on my list of favorite DC animated DVDs behind Wonder Woman and Batman Under the Red Hood, but that doesn’t take away from what it accomplished that First Flight couldn’t. The live-action movie has a lot to live up to here.

Grade : A

Comments

  • I also give it an A. I didn’t like it as much as First Flight for a few reasons, though. First, I hated that Sinestro was in green. Put him in yellow or don’t include him at all! It’s actually similar to my hatred of the Clark/Lex dynamic on Smallville – too many episodes of them as friends. These are the arch-nemeses of their respective heroes, they need more screen time as such.

    Second, and this isn’t so much a gripe about the movie as it is about the whole thing, but I liked Kilowog a LOT better before they turned him into a drill sargeant bad-ass. Check out his first appearances, he was kind of a lovable doof. “Poozer” was supposed to be endearing, not insulting. But they went gritty with that character after the corps was reborn, so… meh. But I agree with you, I don’t think Rollins (whom I normally LOVE) did a great job with the voice (though I suspect it’s more of a direction problem than a quality of voice or talent problem).

    Third, the Krona battle was rather boring and related to that somewhat, MORE CONSTRUCTS! I’m sick of seeing lanterns use their rings as finger-mounted laser guns. Boring. Laira’s battle has some inspired moments (as pictured above). More of that, less laser gun.

    Anyway, I’ll have a full review up at QAQN soon; just thought I’d chime in here, too.

    [edit] Oh yeah, almost forgot – not a complaint, just something I can’t get used to… for 25 years, I’ve pronounced her name “Ah-riss-ee-ah” in my head because I never heard anyone else speak it aloud. Hearing it “Ar-eezha” sounds off. But that’s just me 😉 lol

  • I also give it an A. I didn’t like it as much as First Flight for a few reasons, though. First, I hated that Sinestro was in green. Put him in yellow or don’t include him at all! It’s actually similar to my hatred of the Clark/Lex dynamic on Smallville – too many episodes of them as friends. These are the arch-nemeses of their respective heroes, they need more screen time as such.

    Second, and this isn’t so much a gripe about the movie as it is about the whole thing, but I liked Kilowog a LOT better before they turned him into a drill sargeant bad-ass. Check out his first appearances, he was kind of a lovable doof. “Poozer” was supposed to be endearing, not insulting. But they went gritty with that character after the corps was reborn, so… meh. But I agree with you, I don’t think Rollins (whom I normally LOVE) did a great job with the voice (though I suspect it’s more of a direction problem than a quality of voice or talent problem).

    Third, the Krona battle was rather boring and related to that somewhat, MORE CONSTRUCTS! I’m sick of seeing lanterns use their rings as finger-mounted laser guns. Boring. Laira’s battle has some inspired moments (as pictured above). More of that, less laser gun.

    Anyway, I’ll have a full review up at QAQN soon; just thought I’d chime in here, too.

    [edit] Oh yeah, almost forgot – not a complaint, just something I can’t get used to… for 25 years, I’ve pronounced her name “Ah-riss-ee-ah” in my head because I never heard anyone else speak it aloud. Hearing it “Ar-eezha” sounds off. But that’s just me 😉 lol

  • Anonymous

    I’ll give you the issue about constructs.  DC seems to not want to be creative with those when animation is the perfect medium to do them in.  I had that problem in the Justice League cartoon too – yes, I get that John Stewart is more the military type, but you’d think they could make him create more “military” constructs.  Duhhhh…


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