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Blu-ray Review: Green Lantern: Emerald Knights
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Week of Geek: Green Lantern

Emerald Knights CoverGreen Lantern: Emerald Knights
Blu-ray | DVD | Video On Demand
Directed by: Chris Berkeley, Lauren Montgomery, Jay Oliva
Written by: Eddie Berganza, Alan Burnett, Todd Casey, Dave Gibbons, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Jason Isaacs, Elisabeth Moss, Kelly Hu, Arnold Vosloo, Grey DeLisle, Steve Blum, Henry Rollins, Roddy Piper
DC Entertainment/Warner Bros.
Release Date: June 8, 2011

DC’s animation department has done a terrific job with all of their animated features showcasing some of the biggest names in DC’s library, and the next film in this legacy is the anthology style film, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights. When I popped this into my Blu-ray player, honestly, I wasn’t sure to expect. I’ve been a fan, overall, of the DC animated films and their adaptation of All-Star Superman was almost perfect, it captured the heart and story of the comic while also making things cohesive for the animated medium. All-Star Superman is probably my favorite of the films, but I had an emotional tie to that story, and while I’ve loved the majority of these animated titles, I can’t say the same about Green Lantern: First Flight, the least favorite out of all the features.

All that said, I absolutely loved Green Lantern: Emerald Knights. Probably my least favorite part of the Green Lantern mythos is the character of Hal Jordan. I can’t relate to him, and he always just comes off as an arrogant jerk to me. The Hal Jordan in this film didn’t come off that way at all. In this film, Hal Jordan, voiced perfectly by Nathan Fillion, is mentoring new lantern Arisia, voiced by Elisabeth Moss. This overarching story gives way, as a story device, to tell some of the greatest tales of the Green Lanterns, which is what I love about the Green Lanterns. In the first short from the anthology tale, we see “The First Lantern,” which tells an inspiring story about a meek writer getting one of the first lantern rings created by the Guardians of Oa. The second short focuses on the go-to Green Lantern drill sergeant, Kilowog. Kilowog’s origin story showcases his first mission and his bravery in the face of losing his mentor.

The next story up centers around the Green Lantern Laira, voiced by personal favorite Kelly Hu, and is a really cool space version of the classic kung-fu motif of the student becoming the master, while also showing a truly emotional hardship of the duties required while being a Green Lantern. “Mogo Doesn’t Socialize” is the fourth story in the anthology and is a nice funny story about a warrior trying to become the most powerful creature in the universe. Ultimately this maniac meets the fate of so many others when he falls at the hands of Mogo. And if you don’t know who Mogo is, please don’t Wikipedia it or ask your friends, just watch the movie and be surprised, it’s a lot of fun. And “Rowdy” Roddy Piper voices the power-crazed Bolphunga, and if that doesn’t get you interested, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

Geoff Johns wrote the next story up, which is my favorite, which deals with the relationships between Abin Sur, voiced by Arnold Vosloo, and Sinestro, played amazingly by Jason Isaacs. The relationship between Abin Sur and Sinestro has always been one that intrigues me, and Johns didn’t disappoint in this aspect at all. The story centers around the fate of the lanterns, which also could set up a future Sinestro Corps Wars animated feature, which I will embrace wholeheartedly. Another bonus, it introduces future Red Lantern Atrocitus into the public eye. After this, the overarching story concludes with Arisia “earning her stripes” within the Green Lantern Corps.

I can’t stress how much I enjoyed this movie. I’m not really a big Green Lantern fan, but I think this movie and the bonus content has won me over. There’s a lot of entertaining and inspiring content in this movie, and I honestly can’t find a complaint about the actual movie, at all. It’s got its share of action, mythology, and inspirational moments, all accompanied by a great score. But more than any of that, it’s a lot of fun. I can only hope the upcoming live-action feature film is half this good.

And while I enjoyed the movie itself, it also had some really great special features, too!

Bonus Features

Only The Bravest: Tales of The Green Lantern Corps (HD) – I thought, for some reason, that this was going to talk about the diverse characters of the Corps, and how each one of them fit in, while also talking about the Green Lantern mythology. Unfortunately, it did not. This feature was about bravery and how Hal Jordan and the other Green Lanterns exemplify this character trait. I did not enjoy this feature that much, but moving on!

Why Green Lantern Matters: The Talent of Geoff Johns (HD) – This was actually pretty cool. It takes a look at what Geoff Johns has done with the Green Lantern comics over the past years including Green Lantern: Rebirth, The Sinestro Corps Wars, and Blackest Night. This, I can see, is a really good way to bring viewers of the movie over to check out some of the comics. It’s handled really well, and also features discussion from DC co-publisher, head of DC Entertainment Geoff Johns, and superstar writer Grant Morrison.

Commentary – commentary is from DC executives Geoff Johns and Dan DiDio. It’s pretty funny because most of what they talk about is how much they love Mogo and Ch’p. It’s a lot of fun, even if DiDio gets Kyle Rayner and Hal Jordan confused.

Batman: Year One Sneak Peek (HD) – A special behind the scenes look at the voice actors and animation of Batman: Year One. If I wasn’t already pumped about this feature, I certainly am now.

All-Star Superman Sneak Peek (HD) – Pretty much the same as the Batman: Year One behind the scenes, but it focuses on another one of the greatest comic books of all time and its excellent animated adaptation, All-Star Superman.

Bruce Timm’s Picks: Excerpt from The Siege of Starro and Revenge of The Reach from Batman: The Brave and The Bold (HD) – Two episodes from one of my favorite TV shows of all time. Batman: The Brave and The Bold is amazing, so it would be wrong for me to say these are not excellent choices. Both of these, however, do feature members of the Green Lantern Corps. And it’s in HD, which is awesome, because on most of these titles, the episode are not in HD.

From Comic Book To Screen: Abin Sur – This shows a quick look at the character of Abin Sur and how the character is important, and how and why he was adapted from the comic to the movie. Spoiler alert: he pretty much hasn’t changed.

Beautiful… But Deadly – From Comic Book To Screen: Laira Omoto – Same as the Abin Sur feature. Gives background to the character and why she was chosen to be featured in the animated film.

Virtual Comic Book – This comic was the number one issue from the recent volume of Green Lantern when Geoff Johns jumped on the title. It’s pretty much impossible to actually read, unless you have an 80-inch television or a magnifying glass because the layout is terrible and doesn’t show on obvious zoom option on the Blu-ray. However, if you do have a zoom function on your remote, I could see this being useful, but inconvenient. The interesting thing about this feature, however, is that after you exit the pages of the comic book, you have the ability to see a trailer for DC’s digital app as well as an ad for Mattel’s website. Y’know, while I was watching these, I thought to myself, “Self, wouldn’t it be cool to see this DC digital app commercial before the Green Lantern movie on Friday, or during some television shows coming soon, like… I don’t know… the DC Nation block on Cartoon Network in the Fall?” You see, that would line-up quite nicely with DC’s September Relaunch. Yes, it would.

Trailers – Standard faire. Some trailers for other Warner Bros movies, including one for the upcoming Green Lantern live-action film.

All in all, the story was great, the voice acting was excellent, and the animation, as always, was top notch. And the fact that all the special features were in beautiful HD, well that’s just green icing on my lantern cake. Oooo… I want cake now.

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