THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan
"GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD KNIGHTS"
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is the latest entry in the DC Universe series of animated movies. Not at all coincidentally, it is being released on DVD and Blu-Ray on June 7, just ten days before the live action version of Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds hits theaters. It does seem like we're on the verge of Green Lantern mania, although this particular film probably plays a little better if you have some basic familiarity with the property.
The emphasis is more on "Emerald Knights" than it is on "Green Lantern." Hal Jordan (voiced by Nathan Fillion) finds himself in the role of teacher, providing lessons about the Green Lantern Corps to new recruit Arisia (voiced by Elisabeth Moss of "Mad Men") on the eve of battle. He tells her stories about the first Green Lantern, Avra, as well as several of his own colleagues, including fan favorites Mogo, Laira, Abin Sur, and Kilowog. Each story - which we see in flashback - illustrates a Green Lantern displaying bravery and/or ethics. These are ideals Arisia needs to embrace before she joins Hal in fending off an enemy.
Obviously, the focus here is on exploring the mythology of the Green Lantern Corps, as opposed to tracking a single Hal Jordan adventure. While Emerald Knights lacks a unified plot, I have to give it credit for telling a handful of mini-stories so well. Each one has been designed to give the audience insight into this imaginary world, and we come away with a greater understanding of just how rich that world is. The stories are thoughtful, with some genuine meaning behind most of them. Clearly, they show that Green Lantern is more than a routine comic; it has the kind of storytelling scope that the best comics always possess.
The animation, while perhaps not Disney-smooth, is appealingly colorful and detailed. The action scenes are effective. All the voice work suggests a commitment to the material; Henry Rollins, Jason Isaacs, and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper all make valuable contributions on that count. I've found the DC Universe animated features to be generally solid, and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is no exception.
( out of four)
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights will be released on DVD, Blu-Ray Combo Pack, and on demand starting June 7.
The DVD, which I previewed, only contains brief sneak peaks for a couple of other DC Universe movies. The Blu-Ray will contain a whole lot more, specifically 2.5 hours of featurettes, audio commentary, a digital comic book, and two bonus episodes from the animated television series.
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is rated PG for some fantasy violence. The running time is 1 hour and 24 minutes.