Green Lantern: First Flight (2009)
DVD (one and two disc), Blu Ray and OnDemand
77 minutes, PG-13, release date July 28th
If you are not familiar with the DC comics character Green Lantern, this animated movie is not a bad jumping on point. Most comic book to movie translations leave a lot to be desired according to the general population who followed the source material before hand, this movie is the exception. I’m not saying it is a perfect transition from what DC has offered us in the comic, but it understands what makes the original story compelling. I am one of those people who can’t stand it when movie studios re-boot a story that never needed it…Deadpool from X-men Origins: Wolverine anyone? I was pleasantly surprised by Green Lantern: First flight not “dumbing it down” for the masses.
Plot is not entirely this movie’s focus, heck, character development is almost non-existent, but don’t let that deter you. It’s refreshingly not over explained, this movie trusts it’s viewer to just accept the world they are presented with, no pretentious back story of our hero, none is needed. If your looking for a simply fun action sci-fi, with a little ideology struggle, this will not disappoint.
The story doesn’t waste any time setting up any character development with our hero, Air Force test pilot Hal Jordan. Hal is transported to a crashed space ship by a dying alien, who with his last words, explains he is part of an intergalactic space police force called the Green Lantern Corps. Each “Lantern” is in trusted with a powerful ring to protect the galaxy, and this ring is handed down to Hal. The Guardians of the Green Lantern Corps. are not convinced a human is worthy of such power, but a veteran Lantern, Sinestro, offers his tutelage. From there we are thrust in to a story not unlike that of Training Day, rookie cop taken under the wing of an experienced yet corrupt cop, and is given a choice to sacrifice morality in order to maintain order. Sinestro quickly presents his disdain towards how the Guardians run the Corps., believing that instilling fear is the only way to balance the galaxy. The other Lanterns believe in the wisdom of the Guardians, and Hal is presented with the struggle of believing whats right.
Sinestro is the most fleshed out character, more human in his justifications then Hal himself. All other characters are developed by plot alone, which actually works surprisingly well. Having no back story of the countless other Lanterns allows us to be pulled into the story at hand, an investigation in to who killed Jordan’s predecessor and ultimately a search for the ultimate power of the yellow element. The Green Lanterns rings are all powered by the green element, and yellow is the only color that can penetrate it. I know, sounds corny, but with such an out worldly storyline, anything becomes feasible. Hal accepts his new job as a space cop with little to no explanation, and thank god for that. This movie would have been an hour longer if it followed today’s trend of portraying the internal struggle to develop the character, they will save that for the upcoming live action version set to be released some time in 2010.
The animation is slick and polished, yet doesn’t go overboard on the flashy computer assisted cel, closer to that of the television series Justice League. The DVD itself offers little in way of extras, no commentary from creators, and very short featurettes on characters and other DC/Warner Bros. releases. All in all I would suggest buying this movie, I usually warrant a purchase with the amount of extras, but this story is so darn fun, I could enjoy it countless times.
So, until Ryan Reynolds turns Hal into a super hero version of himself in the upcoming live action blockbuster, go out and grab a copy of Green Lantern:First Flight, and don’t adjust your set, everyone glows green.
Ryan O is a freelance graphic artist, and general know it all of all things useless. You can follow him for more updates on movies, comics and video games on Twitter, username- ryanovision.