From Warner Brothers animation who gave us “Wonder Woman”, “Justice League Frontier” and ‘Gotham Knights”, comes DC’s next direct to DVD installment “Green Lantern: First Flight”. Directed by Lauren Montgomery with script written by Alan Burnett, the movie is a 75 minute ride in the beginnings of Hal Jordan as a member of the Green Lantern corps and incorporates several references in the story arc from “Sinestro Corps“collected in the Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps monthly comic titles.
While testing out a flight simulator in Ferris aircraft, Hal Jordan (Christopher Meloni) suddenly disappears in a flash of emerald light. Taken to a remote area where an alien spacecraft had crash landed, Hal becomes the recipient of a ring of power, since its previous wielder, Abin Sur was mortally wounded. Hal was chosen by the ring because of certain qualities but before he becomes the ring’s true user, he must prove his mettle to the Guardians. Sinestro (Victor Garber) takes Hal under his wing in the hunt for Appa Ali Apsa (William Schallert) who was responsible for Abin Sur’s death and who has found the yellow source of power. While in the quest, Hal and the other Lanterns (made up of Kilowog (Michael Madsen) and Boodikka (Tricia Helfer) finally uncover Sinestro’s secrets; he intends to destroy the central power battery that provides power to the rings of the corps members.
Think “Emerald Dawn” and “Sinestro Corps”, then you may get a general idea as to what the movie is all about. The direction and screenplay keeps the story moving, with a lot of ring slinging scuffles while touching on the certain character attributes of Hal and Sinestro. I liked the part where Burnett displays the differences as to how Hal uses his ring as opposed to the other members’ methods. Hal uses bats, guns, springs to get the job done; one may say that Hal is more creative with the ring’s uses as opposed to other members merely generating force blasts and force fields. It was a good attempt at human qualities being brought into exposition when compared to the other alien members. Sadly I find this development very hard to buy into, as we don’t see Hal being the recipient of the ring’s workings--no definitions of will power and imagination are explored, I found it hard to believe that a rookie green lantern would be more adept with the ring. I guess the filmmakers are relying on fans of the comic series to fill in the gaps.
The movie also has several plot missteps. The Guardians are supposed to be one of the eldest and wisest races in this universe; also they are powerful telepaths--yet they didn’t think of using their abilities to probe the dead mind of Appa. (I am thinking that the telepathy of the Guardians is more potent than Xavier’s). It was just too convenient for Sinestro to know what to do to find the Weaponers of Qward. Also, I find it unbelievable that the Guardians only had one attack up their sleeve and then they yield to Sinestro. Sinestro, alone with one yellow ring could undo the entire corps? Sure his power battery was sentient, and the rings were vulnerable to yellow but really, these are the corps members who supposed protected the universe? They all felt a little too inexperienced to me and the rules of the green central power battery felt a little too underdeveloped.
Now for the ultimate question: Does “Green Lantern First Flight” display good ring-slinging action? Yes, it does. The encounters between Appa’s gang of bug-aliens and Hal were very entertaining. The final fight between sinister Sinestro and Hal is reminiscent of their encounters in the comic series, with Hal utilizing the power of the green central power battery (ala “Emerald Dawn”) to use against him. The fight was well-choreographed with a good exclamation point. It was a great touch to have Hal move two moons against the yellow central battery. The animation is fluid and nicely executed, the style of the art is similar to other Warner bros. animated features; the layouts are also very spiffy and cool.
“Green Lantern First Flight” is good, it has that child-friendly quality but mature enough (there is some blood and death) to entertain the adults. However, this “first flight” doesn’t serve up enough character depth, Hal’s psychological profile is a key element in its mythos. The movie is a little hollow, and most characters just disappear from the screenplay a little too quickly. I supposed it was Lauren Montgomery’s intention to keep the pace moving to avoid too much dialogue, but in the end, the movie felt a little too short and felt a little rushed; it relied to heavily for fans to fill in the gaps. I sure wished that the other familiar faces of the GL universe played a more active part in the movie. Kilowog was underused; Ch’p the squirrel GL provided some humor, and familiar faces Arisa and Tomar also make appearances.
Despite its flaws, I found “Green Lantern First Flight” a decent entertaining entry in the DC universe. It does portray “green rookie” Hal Jordan as a hero right off the bat and the movie has loads of action to dish out. I like John Stewart, Alan Scott and Kyle Rayner…but Hal is still the best ring-slinger in my book.
Batman once said: “The most powerful weapon in the universe and all Hal could dream of is a boxing glove and a flashlight?” Let’s hope for a sequel…
As a kid, Superman was always my favorite comic book hero. In about the sixth grade a close friend of mine introduced me to the Green Lantern. Superman was still my favorite, but I found the story of the Green Lantern Hal Jordan to be quite interesting. It wasn't until I got to college, when another good friend introduced me to the GREEN LANTERN: THE ROAD BACK series, that Green Lantern became on equal footing with Superman as my favorite DC hero. With the rebirth and return … more
When Hal Jordan first becomes a Green Lantern, he is put under the supervision of senior Lantern, Sinestro, only to discover that his so-called mentor is part of a secret conspiracy that threatens the entire Green Lantern Corps.