Green Lantern: First Flight
Directed by Lauren Montgomery
Starring Christopher Meloni, Victor Garber, Tricia Helfer
DC Animation/Warner Brothers
Released: July 28, 2009
DC Animation has hit on something with their recent direct-to-DVD releases, particularly the Batman: Gotham Knight and Justice League: The New Frontier movies and the streak continues with their newest film, Green Lantern: First Flight. DC/Warner Bros picked a good time to release this, what with the Green Lantern comic series being the best itâ€™s been, arguably ever, and big news being thrown around with Ryan Reynolds being cast as Hal Jordan in the upcoming live-action movie. Letâ€™s be honest, Green Lantern has never been as big a name to the non-comics world as say Batman or Spider-Man, so itâ€™s nice to see that DC hasnâ€™t forgotten about him. Is this movie as good as the current series? I wouldnâ€™t say that, but it does a good job of introducing the characters and world of GL, so it succeeds in that part.
One thing to be said about the story is that it isnâ€™t a straight adaptation of a story already told in comics, ala Superman: Doomsday or New Frontier. Itâ€™s a completely new story, although it does borrow elements from the entire series, and specifically some elements from the Sinestro Corp War.
The story starts with the traditional Green Lantern origin story: alien cop Abin Sur dies while his spaceship crashes on Earth and his powerful Green Lantern ring seeks its successor and finds it in test pilot Hal Jordan (Christopher Meloni). Hal takes on the mantel of the Green Lantern, and sets out to train in how to use the ring. He is taught by the current top agent of the Green Lantern Corps, Sinestro (Victor Garber), who ends up going bad. In this story, Sinestro teams up with Kanjar Ro (Kurtwood Smith), as they try to find the yellow element, the only thing in the universe that can destroy the green element that powers the Corp.
One good thing about the film is that it jumps right into the story. Halâ€™s origin is out of the way in the first 10 minutes, and then itâ€™s off to outer space for his training and interaction with the Corp. The rest of the story has plenty of action and a few surprises. You may not see EVERY Corp member from the comic, but there are a bunch of them, including Châ€™p, Boodikka (Tricia Helfer), Tomar Re (John Larroquette), and Kilowog (Michael Madsen). The animators do a good job throughout the film of bringing the aliens of the GL universe to life, as well as capturing the feel of the Green Lantern constructs. The animation throughout is top notch, but thatâ€™s to be expected from the Warner Brothers animation studio.
The biggest problem I had with the movie is the same problem thatâ€™s plagued all the other DC direct-to-DVD titles, and that is that itâ€™s too short. The creators have a lot of story to tell, and not nearly enough time to tell it in. Ideally, this should have been split into two or three different movies, with the first one being Halâ€™s introduction to the Corp, and the second being the fight with Sinestro. Within the first half hour, Hal is seemingly in complete control of the ring, and he never gets thrown off by meeting weird aliens and getting taken to distant planets. We never get the chance to really get to know Hal as a character, which means we donâ€™t get invested in the rest of the plot. To be honest, more time is spent fleshing out Sinestroâ€™s character, which is fine, but we really need more time with the main character. You get the feeling that this is aimed toward people who already know about Green Lantern, but if thatâ€™s the case, why do an origin story? If they wanted this to be an introduction for people unfamiliar with Green Lantern, then they needed to spend more time explaining Hal as a character. This could have been alleviated with an extra 10-20 minutes of running time, but theyâ€™re sticking to a pretty strict 80 minute run time, which is just not enough time.
The special features on this single-disc edition are a bit disappointing, but apparently there’s a 2-Disc Special Edition that has over two hours of extras on it. On this disc, there’s shorts on the New Frontier and Wonder Woman films, as well as a preview of the next DC Animated film, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. Sadly, thereâ€™s nothing about the actual Green Lantern movie, the only thing connected to Green Lantern is a preview of the current GL storyline, Blackest Night. Itâ€™s another case of good timing on DCâ€™s part, but I wish there would have been something about the movie.
So, who is this one for? Well, fans of Green Lantern will enjoy this, but those looking for a good introduction to the GL world will probably be disappointed. Itâ€™s too bad that this isnâ€™t a better entry into the characters world, but itâ€™s at least worth a rental for fans, and we always have the comics to read. Iâ€™ll give this one a 3 out of five.