Green Lantern: Emerald Knights
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights 2010
Back to yet another movie my wife picked out for me at the video store. Apparently she has horrible timing, as this would have fit much better right after the first two Green Lantern movies I watched, but that’s completely beside the point. In an effort to cross-market with the theatrical release of the live action Green Lantern movie, DC Animation released this animated movie, which is a compilation of other Green Lantern’s stories similar to Gotham Knight, but this movie wraps it around a central framework based on Hal Jordan telling stories to a rookie lantern. It’s well done animation on par with all of the other DC animated movies I’ve seen to this point and I really enjoyed it.
The movie features the stories of five different Green Lanterns, and they’re all being told around the framework of yet another Lantern. Most of the stories are being told by Hal Jordan to a rookie Lantern woman named Arisa. Before she was a Lantern, she was just a student and worries that she’s not the right type of person for the job, so Hal reassures her by telling the story of the first four ring bearers and the first Lantern, who was a lowly scribe, the only one of the four who wasn’t some type of warrior before being chosen by the ring, but ends up building the first construct and become the first true Green Lantern. I enjoyed the heart and the history behind this story. There’s also a fun story about the Lantern trainer before Kilowog who was even tougher than Kilowog ever was, and trained both him and Tomar-Re. This one has a lot of humor and also turns up the heart towards the end. Then it moves onto a story about what feels like a somewhat random Lantern woman who returns to her home planet as her first solo assignment in a very Asian inspired battle. This one was harder to really get a feel for, since she felt like such a random character thrown into the mix, where I had known about the other lanterns in previous movies. But this one did have a really great martial arts style battle. I think my favorite one, which is also the funniest one, was about the Lantern Mogo. That’s all I’m going to say about that one, you’ll just have to see it for yourself. The next one is told by Sinestro and is about Abin Sur and destiny, it’s probably one of the more interesting episodes especially if you have any outside knowledge about Sinestro. And it all culminates in one big epic battle featuring dozens of Green Lanterns fighting an absolutely immense villain.
Being a series of shorts, it’s a bit harder to get a feel for any sort of overall story, but I think it works having it fit around the framework of the rookie Lantern. I think one of the biggest problems I had with it is that it felt like it should be in the same timeline as First Flight, especially since it reuses so many of the same character designs, but there’s no way it could. Mainly because this movie features Arisa as a new Lantern, and Hal Jordan and Sinestro as veteran members. But in the movie First Flight, you see Arisa when Hal first joins the Lanterns, and Sinestro leaves the Lanterns shortly afterward, which would leave no room for this story to be told before, during, or after First Flight. I was also a little disappointed that my favorite Lantern, the squirrel-like one from First Flight, only managed to get into a few background shots in this movie. But I was glad that one of the few Lanterns I had heard about outside of the movies, Mogo, was featured in this movie.
One thing the movie does very well is to show a wide range of different mentalities of Lanterns, but at the same time it still focuses on what it means for them to actually be a Lantern. I thought it was an interesting choice to treat the book of Oa as a sort of Bible, which I assume it is treated like a religious tome in the comics. In fact, some of the stories are treated almost like parables. It’s also a great movie to really open up the Green Lantern universe, and even though I mentioned that I couldn’t get a feel for the one previously unknown Lantern, the short time spent with her in just this movie was enough to get some sort of feel for her to where I would recognize her again in a new movie. There was plenty of different fighting styles with the rings, from the typical green laser bolts, to many different styles of constructs and other uses.
I think there are two movies that one would think there is a connection to, obviously First Flight comes to mind, and yet aside from the character designs, there is no real direct connection between the two movies. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, there feels like much more of a disconnect between the two. The other movie one could make a connection to is Batman: Gotham Knight, since they both have the Knight in the title, and they are both a series of short stories connected in some way. Though while Gotham Knight is more like the Animatrix, using different styles of animation that have stories that connect to each other, this movie is also quite different since they all use the same animation style and while the stories don’t connect to each other, they are connected by another framework story. So I look at this movie as much more of a stand alone movie that has a lot of great stuff in it, from the animation, to the fight scenes, to the characters, and even the humor. If I had to rank the Green Lantern movies, I would put this one well above Green Lantern, and only slightly below First Flight. I think I’ll be finishing up DC Animation for a little while with Under the Red Hood before moving on to the Spider-Man movies. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.