Saturday, August 1, 2009

Green Lantern: First Flight review

After Wonder Woman's stellar direct-to-DVD film, does DC's fourth ranked superhero reach the same level of success that the previous film did, or should Green Lantern: First Flight have been left on the drawing board?

As usual, I picked up the Two-Disc Special Edition DVD version (the bonus one from Best Buy actually, as it comes with a little Green Lantern figure), as I still have yet to be convinced that I need a 2D film in high-definition. The only difference between the Blu-ray and two-disc DVD release though is the addition of more Justice League episodes; so regardless of which you pick up you won't miss anything.

One dilemma that probably came to the minds of DC Universe fans was just how was this film going to work when Justice League: The New Frontier already focused heavily on Hal Jordan and his origin story as the Green Lantern. Thankfully, First Flight covers the origin story quickly, before the opening credits actually, and then rest of the film is completely off of Earth, which was interesting to see.

Because the film completely takes place in space, the film heavily revolves around the Green Lantern Corps, from the Guardians, to the Green Element at the center of Oa, it's all here. But essentially the film is a tale of "Good Cop / Bad Cop" between Hal Jordan and Sinestro; and if you're like me, and have a large awareness of the Green Lantern storyline and background, then the film doesn't feel very new, and in fact you can probably guess where it ends up long before the film starts going anywhere. Seriously, there's really no need for me to explain anything because all you need to hear is "Hal Jordan's first duty as Green Lantern" and "Sinestro" and you can pretty much get it you're first try.

But it's not just the story that fell flat for me, but it was the visual style too. While as intricate and stylized it may be, it reminded me way to much of Men In Black: The Series and Jackie Chan Adventures for me to really enjoy the film; it's the same reason I couldn't get into The Batman. I'm sure someone will enjoy the style, but when characters like Abin Sur and Kanjar Ro are completely unidentifiable from their traditional look, then something is definitely wrong.

For Extras, the first disc (what you get in the standard edition) of First Flight has a few offerings: a first look featurette at the next DC Universe animated film Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, some rehashed featurettes for Wonder Woman, The New Frontier, and Gotham Knight, some trailers, and a new featurette on the current Green Lantern comic story-arc, Blackest Night. But there is no commentary this time around, sadly, as it would've been nice to get an explanation on some of the creative decisions for the film.

AS for the second disc, that's where the real features are at. First off is an 8-minute long featurette on the Green Lantern's mythology, more specifically on Hal Jordan, obviously, so there's nothing about the other four Green Lanterns of Earth. Then there's two short background videos for Sinestro and the Guardians. Then there's an episode of Duck Dodgers, "The Green Loontern", and it's in my opinion the only decent episode of that show; and then there's the two-part Justice League Unlimited episode, "The Once and Future Thing", which is one of my personal favorite JLU episodes as it melds Justice League, Batman Beyond, and Static Shock, and even has Hal Jordan step in for a brief moment. And yeah, that's about it, no fancy 30 min featurettes, commentary tracks, its a nice variety, but nothing special. Oh, and like Black Frieghter, the digital-copy is Windows only, leaving us Mac users in the dust again...

Overall, despite being a decent film, I'm pretty dissapointed after watching Green Lantern: First Flight. Perhaps it's just due comparison of what DC Universe animated films have brought in the past, or that my expectations were set way to high after watching Wonder Woman, but there seems to be a lot missing this time around. There's no commentary, or cast interviews, really there's just no explanation for the creative decisions for the film, and they're what bothered me the most, particularly the visual style. As a Green Lantern fan, it pains me to say that this is the worst of the current DC Universe animated films, but it really is when compared to the rest and I hope the next outing fairs a bit better.

Overall Score: 7/10

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