The Green Lantern character has always been one of my favorite DC comic book heroes, right after the likes of Batman and the Flash. As far as Earth-born GL’s, Hal Jordan has always been first in my heart and even though the John Stewart was shown predominantly in the cartoon series: Justice League Unlimited, it was hard wrapping my head around him as the Green Lantern. I was excited to see that due to recent success with other characters, the people at DC decided to release a direct to disc release for the Green Lantern sub-titled: First Flight.
Hal Jordan is a test pilot for the military. He’s testing one of the newest planes when suddenly his ship is enveloped in a green energy beam to a crash site. There he finds a dying Abin Sur, the current Green Lantern of sector 2814. Before he dies, he bequeaths his ring to Hal Jordan, proclaiming him the new Green Lantern. Moments later after the passing of Abin Sur, several current members of the Green Lantern corps arrive and take Hal Jordan to the headquarters where the Lanterns and Guardians of the Universe meet.
The news to an earthling donning the ring is not taken well by the Guardians. However, one of the other Lanterns, Sinestro offers to mentor Hal and train him in the ways of the Green Lanterns. The Guardians reluctantly agree and set the two off to find Atrocitus who had fatally wounded Abin Sur and the leader behind the attack whose name is known as Kanjar Ro. They are instructed to apprehend the suspect and lead him back to the headquarters for interrogation. The two Lanterns agree and set off on their journey.
Once upon their journey, Hal realizes that the Green Lantern position entails more work than waving a green ring around. He also realizes that Sinestro is not a kind Lantern and uses deliberate force to extract information and the whereabouts of the assassin and the being who hired him. Kanjar Ro is also in holding of information about the yellow element which is the only thing that can counter-act the green rings that the Lanterns hold so dear. But whose side is Sinestro on and can Hal Jordan keep his ring and save the universe at the same time?
The first thing you will notice when watching the animated film is how quickly they jump into the story. Hal starts off as a test pilot and within about ten minutes he is already the Green Lantern. The film moves at a solid pace and flies through the seventy seven minutes. Part of this has to do with the Justice League: The New Frontier movie spending a lot of time with the origin already. It was then decided from the writer’s point of view to jump into the movie and spend less time with re-telling and more with the action.
The voice cast is impressive for this film. In the lead position as Hal Jordan, we get Christopher Meloni who is better known for his work in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. But along with that we get several other notables in supporting roles including Tricia Helfer who voices Boodikka & Michael Madsen who voices Kilowog. We even get throw away roles such as Tomar Re & Ganthet (one of the Guardians) voiced by well-known actors: John Larroquette & Larry Drake.
There are a ton of characters in this movie and to be honest, we get a good hearty introduction to most of them. We learn about the Guardians of the Universe, we learn about Sinestro. We also learn about the Green Lantern corps including members like Kilowog, Boodikka, Tomar-Re, and even Ch’p. The movie does a wonderful job of establishing a universe, one that future movies or even an animated series could benefit from. But there lies my only complaint about the film, I simply wanted more of it. I ideally wanted another 15 minutes to half an hour to flesh this out.
The video is presented in 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen at 1080p. Animation has come a long way and while this is the familiar style we have seen DC and the WB use, it has improved a great bit and is on the same level as Justice League: New Frontier and even some of the Marvel Blu-Ray Animated efforts. It’s not perfect, but the colors are certainly good (especially green and yellow) and takes advantage of the format.
The audio is presented in Dolby TruHD English 5.1. This isn’t quite as impressive as the 7.1 masterpiece on the Marvel Ultimate Avengers 2-pack but as far as animation goes, this is certainly action packed in its own right. Special effects use the surrounds and I never found myself reaching for the remote to change the volume during action or dialog sequences. Dialog is also clear and distinctive which is always welcome when it comes to animation. Sub-titles are provided for English SDH.
- Behind the Story with Geoff Johns 8:41: The writer, Geoff Johns takes into the mythology of Green Lantern and takes a good length of time explaining the Hal Jordan side and how he brought him back to life in current day.
- I Am the Ring 22:30: This is a Blu-Ray exclusive & looks at the symbolism of the Ring in Literary Lore. The neat thing about this besides using many of DC’s finest artists & dignitaries is that it dives into the WB vault and uses footage from a lot of films. It compares the ring to films like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, & the Wizard of Oz. It also dives into history books with thoughts about Jesus Christ & Hitler’s quest for the Spear of Destiny.
- Behind the Scenes of Blackest Night 8:52: This is Geoff John’s newest vehicle. It is an 8 issue comic series that was created when a lot of DC comic book characters started dieing and they thought it would be a great idea if they wrote a series about them coming back to life. But as zombies. The Marvel Zombies idea was never my thing but apparently this one is a little more thought out as the zombies have more intelligence and some of them don’t react as you would expect like the Barry Allen version of the Flash.
- Green Lantern Corps Character Profiles of Sinestro & the Guardians of the Universe 4:01 / 3:39: Two short featurettes. The first one deals with Sinestro and the delicate balance in his two roles, one of the villain and one of the mentor. The second deals with the Guardians of the Universe and how they can be the equivalent of governors or senators and the role they play in the Green Lantern saga.
- Exclusive Sneak Peek at DC Universe’s Upcoming Superman/Batman: Public Enemies 7:49: Superman/Batman: Public Enemies basically puts Superman & Batman in a team-up/buddy cop picture and sets the story. The story is “What if Lex Luthor becomes President of the United States and Superman & Batman become the most wanted criminals?” It looks awesome and I honestly hope I get to review a copy. It’s due out in September of this year.
- Duck Dodgers Series Episode: The Green Loontern 22:22: Duck Dodgers is of course Daffy Duck and his cadet is Porky Pig. However, this one is mostly Daffy. The plot is that Duck Dodgers has picked up Green Lantern’s dry cleaning accidentally and he finds the Green Lantern ring stuffed in the coat pocket. Of course he puts it on and he soon finds himself in the middle of an intergalactic war between the Green Lantern corps and Sinestro. Hilarity ensues. I couldn’t stop laughing and neither could my fiancée. Great stuff (and out of the box extra).
- Bruce Timm Presents 5 Bonus Cartoons: The cartoons are Once and Future Part 1 & 2, Hearts & Minds Part 1 & 2 and the Return. Once and Future come from Season 1 of Justice League Unlimited and highlight the villain Chronos, a time traveler. Hearts & Minds Part 1 & 2 come from Season 2 of Justice League and highlight the Green Lantern Corps and their fight with Despero. The last cartoon, The Return comes from Justice League Unlimited, first season where the re-formed Lex Luthor and the Atom attempt to neutralize Amazo, created by Professor Ivo. All of these cartoons were included because Green Lantern was used as a central figure. For the most part, (except in the Once & Future Part 1), they use the John Stewart version of Green Lantern.
- Explore 3 other DC Universe Animated Movies 10:45/10:26/10:10: The three other movies we get looks at are Justice League: New Frontier, Wonder Woman: Amazon Princess and Batman: Gotham Knight. I own all of them with the exception of the Wonder Woman one that came out recently. If you were on the fence about any of those three, these 10 minute pieces will probably slide you right off the fence and into your local entertainment store to buy them.
Green Lantern: First Flight is a great first experience into the world of Hal Jordan and how he becomes a protector of the universe. We are introduced to an assorted list of characters and personalities that are voiced by the some fantastic actors and actresses in the biz. The video and audio are not reference quality but they are slouches either and are worthy for animation fans. The extras are out of this world, literally and figuratively including the hilarious Duck Dodgers short and many other fun and interesting featurettes. The only negative of the film that can really be found is that I simply want more of it. This is an excellent disc and I give a very strong recommendation. My only hope is that the live-action Green Lantern film in 2011 is as good as the animation that was given to us now.