GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD KNIGHTS, 2011
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Jason Isaacs, Elisabeth Moss, Henry Rollins, Kelly Hu
The planet of Oa is in danger from a battle with an ancient enemy. During preparation for the battle, Green Lantern Hal Jordan continues training young recruit Arisia by telling her the story of the first Green Lantern, as well as recalling accounts faces by several other members of the Green Lantern Corps.
I still have not seen “Green Lantern” starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, and Mark Strong. However, if the things I've been hearing about it are accurate, then this straight to DVD animation is far more epic!
The opening sequence of “Green Lantern: Emerald Knights” depicts a female green lantern flying through space on her way to help Kilowag. Suddenly, a tunnel opens up in the sun she's flying past and a handful of anti-matter Shadow Demons fly out! The Corps member fights valiantly, but in the end is literally torn apart by the Shadow Demons.
The Guardians call a meeting among all of the Green Lantern Corps members. They inform the Green Lanterns that the cause of this anomaly is an ancient evil named Krona that was banished billions of years ago to the Anti-matter universe and has now found a way to come back to our universe. The plan the Guardians have come up with? They're abandoning ship, relocating themselves, their books, and the Central Battery to another planet and want the Green Lanterns to be the first and last line of defense against the coming evil.
The Green Lanterns set up a perimeter around the sun and scout its surface to try and find a way to stop the evil force of Krona before he can arrive.
Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern of Earth, was in the middle of training a new Lantern recruit named Arisia. He decides to continue her training to prepare her for the coming battle. The first thing she needs to learn is the story of the first Green Lantern- a scribe chosen by one of the first 4 power rings to be a warrior, and the first of the 4 to discover that the rings have the power to make constructs based on thought and will (according to the story, even the Guardians themselves didn't know this would be possible).
Kilowag makes a comment to Arisia and she mentions that she's heard what a hard ass he is. To set the record straight, Hal tells the story of how Kilowag became a Green Lantern Drill Sargent.
During the course of the film (and from the perimeter set-up until the coming evil makes his grand entrance), Arisia hears stories about several other Green Lanterns including Sinestro, Abin Sur (who was Hal Jordan's ring's previous owner), and Mogo.
Then, without warning, Krona appears (and is, as Arisia comments, “as big as a moon!”). The final showdown begins!
“Green Lantern: Emerald Knights” is, in a word, EPIC! In a bunch of words, it's several short animations with a similar theme along the lines of “Batman: Gotham Knights” and “The Animatrix”. The big difference between “Green Lantern: Emerald Knights” and those other two animated DVD releases is that it has a central story linking the other 6 stories together unlike the disconnected and totally separate tales that appear in “Batman: Gotham Knights” and “The Animatrix”.
Another big difference is that despite having several directors, the entire DVD has the same animation throughout. With “Batman: Gotham Knights” and “The Animatrix”, each director had a different animation style for their segment. Having the same animation throughout the whole film is really what makes “Green Lantern: Emerald Knights” one film rather than a handful of shorts. This was a great choice and gives it, in my opinion, a HUGE advantage over the other titles mentioned.
The voice acting is great. Personally, I don't understand why Warner Bothers didn't cast Nathan Fillion as The Green Lantern in the live action film as I have always thought that he'd make a perfect Hal Jordan (although, as I mentioned earlier, I haven't seen the live action film yet, so for all I know Ryan Reynolds might do a fantastic job..... but Nathan Fillion still has my vote).
The stories are all great. I'm a comic book fan, but I don't know ALL the Green Lanterns (after all, there are THOUSANDS of them!). This film introduced me to some of the Corps I wasn't familiar with and showed me their origins. I was enthralled even without really knowing the character I was watching in action.
The fight sequences are all brilliantly done! And there's at least one fight sequence in every tale Hal Jordan tells! Some of the more personal fights (such as the one between Laira and her father) are brutal and fantastic and fast paced and feel like something out of a martial arts film on steroids! Then there are huge epic battles in space in which the carnage and death toll is massive and a lot of fun to watch!
Producer Bruce Tim (who's been behind virtually every DC animation since the 1990's) has really knocked this one out of the park! THIS is what a Green Lantern movie should feel like! Hell, this is what every comic book movie should feel like! “Green Lantern: Emerald Knights” is absolutely stunning to look at and a lot of fun to watch with engaging camp-fire like stories on an epic scale and with great voice work.
I give “Green Lantern: Emerald Knights” a 5 out of 5.
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