With the upcoming “Green Lantern” film that is to be released in theaters this month, it is to be expected that Warner would release an animated film to give fans and potential new fans something to keep them occupied until its nationwide release. “Green Lantern Emerald Knights” is an anthology of sorts that takes the spotlight away from Hal Jordan and instead gives some background to the “Green Lantern Corps” which was formed by the Guardians of the Universe. The film explores some of the Corps’ history and carries references to certain “Green Lantern” comic book continuity and even a small reference to the 80‘s “Crisis On Infinite Earths“. This film does not seem related to “Green Lantern First Flight” at all. (if it was, then there would be a serious continuity issue)
The film is made up of 5 stories total and with a sixth making up its core premise. Krona is the renegade guardian who has been obsessed in finding the secret of the universe. In this goal, he has amassed the destructive force of anti-matter and of the shadow beings through the sun of the planet Oa, that can annihilate living beings. Responding to this emergency, Sinestro (Jason Isaacs), Kilowog (Henry Rollins), Laira (Kelly Hu) and the first human to become a Green Lantern, Hal Jordan (Nathan Fillion) along with a trainee, Arisia (Elizabeth Moss) joins the entire GL Corp to prepare a counter attack. During the preparations for final battle, Hal and Sinestro share the history of the Corp and what it means to be a “green Lantern” to Arisia….but is this the final battle for the emerald warriors?
Honestly, I wasn’t very enthusiastic with this new film directed by Lauren Montgomery given that I wasn’t exactly impressed with “Green Lantern First Flight” and I do feel that often ‘anthologies’ usually never work and they seem like a money grab. But hey, I have to say, I liked what I saw with “Emerald Knights”; it had enough comic book references to satisfy the comic fan and the focused execution of the direction made “Emerald Knights” an entertaining watch. The set designs and the sinister-looking villains made it stand out from other DCU animated films, as they incorporated a certain ‘characteristic’ and personality that made them unique. The film also keeps a balance between fast-paced action and its plot developments (however it feels a little shaky at times). Montgomery gets our attention by showing a corps member struggle with the shadow beings, then we get to see the tales of the Green Lantern Corps.
In a way, this is a film that may prove to be a good companion piece to 2011’s “Green Lantern” (as it was also produced by the upcoming live-action film), it makes a connection to fans and a credible introduction to new fans. I’ve read so many Green Lantern comics that it is always nice to see familiar faces such as Tomar-Re, Laira, Sinestro, Laira and Kilowog take center stage in the film. Comic book references are made with the “Book of Oa”, the mention of the coming “Blackest Night” and the “Sinestro Corps“, the dominators and the khunds, and Atrocitus who also makes an appearance. The stories about the history of the corps are made up of themes that define the meaning of being a corp member and they may also define the origin of the oath the corps say when they charge their rings.
Laira’s tale has a strong theme of justice over family, the story “Mogo doesn’t socialize” is a story about the power of diversity, the tale with Abin Sur called “Tygers” is all about destiny, “New Blood” with Kilowog has a theme of life as a corp member and the “First Lantern” is the tale that defines the meaning of creativity and the limits of willpower. There are a lot to be taken in as the film is rich with morale messages that somehow defines the Green Lantern oath in a subtle yet powerful way. I liked the way that the direction gave each central character their moment to shine and how none of the major ones got lost in the shuffle. True, with different thematic stories, the risk of one overshadowing the other is great, and it is still true to “Emerald Knights”. While I liked the stories, they really didn’t offer that many surprises and the quality of the tales vary from each. I feel that the story of Mogo was too predictable and Abin Sur’s felt rather incomplete; not that they’re lacking, but Kilowog as a poozer and Laira’s struggle with her father were just more compelling. I also loved the way the first lantern story took shape as it also reminded me of Kyle Rayner. (Hal may be hot stuff but Kyle also made his mark as one of the best corp members)
As for the ring-slinging battles, they were a lot more creative than in “First Flight”. The direction took advantage of the fact that this is a cosmos-spanning adventure by displaying a lot of ring-slinging huge battles. The way the rings were utilized were more creative this time around. I mean, the rings meant willpower and the script did define the power of will. In “First Flight” most of the battles were power blasts and energy manipulation. This time, they had the use of creative constructs that define the user’s creative will. I do have also have one other complaint, the animation work feels a little uneven; the Laira and Kilowog stories looks a little like anime, while the other stories are a little shaky in the fluidity of the animated movements. Much as I liked the stories, some scenes also felt like minor ‘fillers’ and they rendered the pacing a tad uneven. I also felt like while the pseudo-religious and philosophical themes were there, they didn’t help in defining its main premise.
Yes, I did like “Emerald Knights” though I didn‘t feel completely invested in it. I thought it was quite a satisfying “Green Lantern Corp” tale that gave fans things to be happy about and makes it accessible for casual fans. Admittedly, the film would easily be appreciated by the comic book fan like myself and even those who think they are comic book fans. True, some elements may make the Green Lantern greenhorn a little lost, but there is enough fantastical elements to keep everyone occupied. “Emerald Knights” may not be the definitive Green Lantern animated flick but it does help whet the appetite for Ryan Reynolds (I easily saw that he is miscast, but this opinion is based on the trailers for now ) portrayal as the metro-sexual looking Green Lantern.
Ah Green Lantern (or “GL” to those familiar with the Justice League’s incarnation of the beloved superhero); has there ever been so solid a character with so sketchy a mainstream persona? Rhetorical question, sure, but I dare go as far as to say this animated feature film may in fact be the definitive entry into the rich universe of the titular character and the Lantern Corps to which he belongs. Such a praiseful declaration may not seem like a big deal … more
A pretty good tale of the Green Lantern Corps and may provide some needed background to the upcoming live-action movie starring Ryan Reynolds. It puts the Hal Jordan character out of the spotlight and makes the corp the main premise; its history, the stories, the encounters and the meaning of becoming a Green Lantern. A little shaky but it manages to find its footing quickly. Yes, it is an anthology so expect some stories better written than others, but Montgomery capitalizes … more
With stories by acclaimed writers including Geoff Johns, Alan Burnett and Dave Gibbons, this DC Universe Animated Original Movie explores the rich mythology of the Green Lantern universe through six interlocking chapters. While awaiting a battle with Krona, an ancient enemy of the Guardians of the Universe, Earth’s Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Kilowog, Sinestro and other members of the Green Lantern Corps recount their greatest adventures to new recruit Arisia – everything from tales of the first Lantern to the ominous events that led to the Corps’ Blackest Night! The power-packed voice cast includes Nathan Fillion, Jason Isaacs, Elisabeth Moss, Henry Rollins and Arnold Vosloo.