Green Lantern: First Flight
Green Lantern: First Flight 2009
After watching the mediocre live action origin story, it made me want to revisit an earlier Green Lantern origin movie, only this one was animated and straight to home video. It was also a whole lot better. As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, I really love all of the DC Animation that I’ve seen so far which ranges from pretty good to excellent. They’ve covered a lot of ground on some of the better comic book stories out there without worrying too much about being a blockbuster. They’re generally all under the supervision and occasional direction of legendary Bruce Timm. The only downside I really have with them which isn’t a major downside is that they all tend to be rather short, most of them clocking in at a little over an hour. I’m still waiting for when they have the guts to make one of these animated movies for the theaters. I imagine it’s because of the decline of 2D animation. But whatever, First Flight is still a great movie.
This covers a lot of the same ground as the live action Green Lantern, but it condenses most of it down to the first few minutes, getting the boring parts of the origin out of the way and moving the story to the rest of the Green Lanterns on Oa. From then on, the movie never does make it back to Earth, and I didn’t have a problem with that. In fact, I thought that was the weakest part of the live action movie. I understand the limitations of the costs associated with making a live action Green Lantern movie almost completely in space, but I still think it would have been a better movie. With animation, the ability to create dozens of different aliens and alien Lanterns easily means much more screen time for all sorts of different variations rather than the fairly minimal use in the live action version. I especially liked the little squirrel looking Lantern, especially because they didn’t turn him into a cutesy sidekick character.
The only thing I thought worked better in the live action movie was the characterization of Sinestro. I liked the more subtle arrogance and foreshadowing of his eventual betrayal. There’s a hint of the villain that shines through the performance, in this movie, the villainous intent practically screams, while using overly forceful methods and ignoring the chain of command while openly dismissing the Guardians themselves. But the movie still managed to throw in a couple unexpected twists which I won’t spoil here that I had even forgotten about since the last time I had watched the movie. Sinestro was still far and away a much better choice for a villain than the ones chosen for the other movie.
But enough comparing the two movies, this one stands up just fine on its own without having to be compared to something eles. I thought Hal Jordan was a great character, an excellent example of a hero that makes all the right choices, even though he does get extremely lucky in a few places. He’s headstrong, fearless, and takes to the ring like a duck to water, forgoing any training montages, though it does start out with a Sailor Moon-esque transformation sequence. He also has some pretty great funny quips and uses his intelligence to win several of his fights. I always enjoy it so much more when the hero outsmarts the villain rather than outguns him, even though he does bring in the big guns at the end. I mean, when you want something destroyed right, you smash it with a couple planets, am I right? The use of the constructs were also pretty fun and imaginative even though they did occasionally border on being too silly. The final fight was pretty impressive though
I think one of the best things about this movie was the sense of death. I hate to go back to the comparisons, but there are several death scenes in this movie and they are done so much better than any single death scene in the live action movie it’s not even funny. Both when one of the villains and one of the first allies is killed, it’s really a shock, and yet there’s some real weight behind it. And one of the best scenes is when the Green Lantern battery is depowered and dozens of rings fall to the ground representing all the Lanterns who died because they were in outer space when their rings lost power. It’s a powerful image and done without a single drop of blood. The movie even treats the lives of the villains with respect, making it seem like an actual loss rather than a victory when they are killed.
It’s really hard to talk about this movie without comparing it to the Ryan Reynolds version.. But somehow even with over half an hour shorter runtime, this movie manages to pack in more story, more action, and just as much heart. If you’re a fan of Green Lantern at all, do yourself a favor and check out this movie, I doubt you’ll be disappointed. I think it’s funny that pretty much everything that I thought should have been different in the live action movie was in this movie. I’ll definitely be checking out some more animation in the near future. Especially since at our most recent trip to the rental store, my wife picked up Thor: Tales of Asgard that happened to be in the free kids movie section, and I also just realized that Superman vs. The Elite was just released on DVD a couple days ago, so you can look forward to those reviews in the near future. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.