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STUDIO: Warner Bros.
RUNNING TIME: 77 minutes
- Sneak peek at Superman / Batman: Public Enemies
- Behind the scenes of the Blackest Night comic
- Behind-the-scenes spotlights on Batman: Gotham Knight, Wonder Woman, Justice league: New Frontier
- Behind the Story with Geoff Johns
- Duck Dodgers episode, The Green Loontern
- Green Lantern Corps Profiles: Sinestro and the Guardians of the Universe
- Bruce Timm’s Picks: Justice League Unlimited episodes: The Once & Future Thing Parts 1 & 2
Green bling bling is the thing.
Christopher Meloni, Victor Garber, Tricia Helfer, Michael Madsen, John Larroquette, Juliet Landau, Olivia d’Abo, Kurtwood Smith, William Schallert, Larry Drake.
Test pilot Hal Jordan (Meloni) has a date with destiny when he’s chosen to become the newest Green Lantern, a member of an intergalactic force for law and justice. Wielding a power ring that gives him fantastic powers, yet can be possessed only by those with incredible force of will, Jordan has a rocky start in his new role as a super-powered policeman, but soon becomes an invaluable member of the Green Lantern Corps. When one of their own, Sinestro, betrays the Corps and seeks out a power greater than that of any Lantern in order to control the universe, it’s falls to Jordan to stop him.
“Hey, cool ring, I uhhhhhh…LANTERN SMASH!”
Green Lantern: First Flight is just the latest installment of projects that prove that Warner Bros. Animation crew should be given the reins on the live action adaptations of Warners’ / DC’s long-stalled projects. It’s an engaging, fun and surprisingly adult story that I’m sure would appeal to both the die-hard fans of the Lantern comics and even the uninitiated. It contains a tight story by Warner animation vet Alan Burnett, who’s contributed for many of the better projects from that department over the last 20 years, including Batman Beyond, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman: The Animated Series and Mask of the Phantasm among a litany of other credits.
First Flight is directed by Lauren Montgomery, who also helmed WB’s successful adaptation of Wonder Woman earlier this year. Combined with actors who do good voice work, and First Flight is a solid outing and perfect stepping off point for what will hopefully be an even better live version starring Ryan Reynolds. First Flight also puts it out there that GL can be right up there with Justice League’s big three in terms of being an interesting and worthy character. Christopher Meloni gives Jordan some depth here, with also a certain amount of snark and spirit that might have been more attributed to Kyle Rayner. And in Victor Garber’s Sinestro, Meloni’s Jordan has a worthy foil who gets almost as good prime face time as the hero.
“No…you’re breaking up. What? Oh, you’re going through a black hole?”
The film cruises at 77 minutes and shoots right out of the gate by getting Jordan into space and in the thick of Corps business within the first five minutes. It actually sort of turns the tables by paying Sinestro’s origin story more lip service and setting up his motivations in much more detail so that when he finally goes yellow, it’s a payoff that had been building for a good part of the story. Fortunately for the sake of this particular project, the details of the rings and the batteries, which have exploded in recent years to incorporate the Sinestro Corps, yellow as fear, and all the other colors of the human condition spectrum (talking about the reds, blues, indigos, etc. in the comics), are kept simple. There’s green and yellow, and they make for sparks when brought together. Perfect, that’s all you need.
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The supporting characters are also given their due in First Flight, and none more so than Michael Madsen as Kilowog. Tricia Helfer is also serviceable as Boodikka. With those two characters and others, Burnett takes a few liberties, like actually offing some of the more recognizable Corps members and even having another end up on Sinestro’s side of the fight. The Guardians are also given more heft here, rather than just being the stuffy Jedi Council types that one might expect. And while Jordan’s journey is affecting in First Flight, surprisingly, Sinestro that gets to do more than just chew scenery.
“Okay, so to start off, we’re gonna play a little Death Bowling. You guys’ll be the pins…”
Everything clicks on First Flight and Green Lantern’s world is opened up quite a bit more than even portrayed on Justice League episodes. There’s plenty of action and the Corps’ portrayal as intergalactic policemen (they even do a security screen at a starport ala TSA) is right on the money. Sinestro and Jordan strolling into the bar is akin to space cops shaking down the local dirtbags. This shouldn’t end up being the only installment of this franchise. Hell, give me a GL cartoon with as many of the cast as you can and Timm / Burnett / Dini / Montgomery calling the shots. This was fun stuff.
“What’s Sinestro going to do with that giant yellow peni- OH THAT’S NOT RIGHT…!””
The animation and transfer look fantastic. About the only way the greens are going to be greener is on Blu-ray, Sound is also good, but there’s only an English Dolby 5.1 surround track available with English for hearing impaired and French subtitles. Plenty of special features to be found here, as well, although not as good as I was hoping for. This is a two-disc offering and Disc 1 has three features on their past offerings of Batman: Gotham Knight, Wonder Woman and Justice League: New Frontier. However, there are two somewhat good looks at the upcoming Superman/Batman: Public Enemies animated feature, as well as the Green Lantern Blackest Night comic series, both of which look pretty damn impressive.
Disc 2 Starts off with Behind the Story with Geoff Johns, which is an eight minute piece of Johns riffing his take on the character. Then there’s a forgettable Duck Dodgers episode: The Green Loontern where Daffy’s and Jordan’s dry cleaning get mixed up with predictable results. Then there are two quickie features on Sinestro and the Guardians under the banner, Green Lantern Character Profiles. Finally, Bruce Timm slapped the two-part Justice League episode, The Once & Future Thing on to round things out. Although it’s not Hal Jordan, In Blackest Night… or Hearts and Minds would have been better choices I think. A couple of decent features, but a Geoff Johns, Alan Burnett or bruce Timm commentary track would have been nice. But the movie makes up for any lack of desired features.