Blu Ray Review: Green Lantern: Emerald Knights

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights
  • 2011
  • 84 minutes
  • Rated PG-13
  • Available from Warner Home Video on June 7th, via DVD, Blu Ray, OnDemand, and Download

The interesting thing about the Green Lantern mythology is that it is full of characters who are equal to, if not superior to, our hero in any given story.  Sure, Batman may have (or once had re current continuity) the likes of Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Spoiler, Azrael, Huntress, and any number of others, everyone knows that Batman is the top dog in the Gotham vigilante scene.  But Green Lantern, whichever one we happen to be following at the moment (be it Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner etc), is just one of a gigantic interplanetary police force.  Point being, the Green Lantern corps is a vast army that makes for rich storytelling potential, as you can pick anyone of those countless galactic cops and fashion a compelling narrative.  And that's just what this latest DCAU film happens to be.  Yes it technically stars Hal Jordan, but it is more about the deep and vast mythology within the Green Lantern corps itself, and the various heroes within.

A token amount of plot:  As the home planet of the Green Lantern Corps faces a battle with an ancient enemy, Hal Jordan (Nathan Fillion) prepares new recruit Arisia Rrab (Elizabeth Moss) for the coming conflict by relating stories of the first Green Lantern and several of Hal's comrades.  And that's basically the gist of it.  We get a look at the very first Green Lanterns, we get a look at Kilowog (Henry Rollins) and how be became such a bad-ass, we learn how Bolphunga (Roddy Piper) met the Green Lantern known as Mogo (Steve Blum), we get a look at Laira's (Kelly Hu) family complications, and we get a bit of back story on Abin Sur (Arnold Vooslo), which sees him teaming up with Sinestro (Jason Issacs) and debating the concept of destiny versus free will.  And finally we get the conclusion of the present-day threat, as the Green Lanterns combine their might to save the entire galaxy from a seemingly unstoppable foe.

Some of these stories are more engaging than the others, but all of them offer worthwhile peaks into the world of the Green Lantern corps.  For a novice such as myself, it works as a cliff notes primer on a few of the major Green Lantern characters and their general personalities.  I'm partial to the Kilowog and Abin Sur adventures, but you'll probably have your favorite as well.  All of these mini-epics are lushly animated, impeccably acted, and filled with the kind of big-scale action that the Bruce Timm-shepherded DCAU is known for.

For the record, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is not in any way a continuation or a sequel to Green Lantern: First Flight, which was a fine film on its own.  Those overly excited by the idea of Nathan Fillion voicing Hal Jordan may be a little disappointed, as he mainly acts as the narrator to other Lanterns' adventures.  But for those primarily concerned about the film itself, this is one of the better DC Animated Movies to come down the pike.  It benefits from the rich mythology of its source, a longer-than-usual running time (at 84 minutes, it's the longest DCAU movie by about ten minutes), and the lack of constraints that comes from not being an adaptation of a known comic book arc.  Whether as a primer for the upcoming Martin Campbell Green Lantern film, or merely another set of Green Lantern adventures, Emerald Knights is a solid entry in a solid cannon.

Grade: B-plus

For a look at the Blu Ray extra features, read the rest of this article at Mendelson's Memos.