When pilot Hal Jordan accepts a mysterious, powerful ring from a dying alien creature, it transforms him into a Green Lantern, one of an elite force of heroes who patrol the universe to ensure peace and justice under the leadership of the Guardians of the Universe. Unsure of their newest recruit, the Guardians assign Hal to their most-honored Green Lantern Sinestro for training, unaware that Sinestro wants to overthrow the Guardians and create a new order he’ll control. It’s a battle of might and willpower as Hal must prove his worth by defeating Sinestro to save the Green Lantern Corps. Voiced by a stellar cast including Christopher Meloni, Victor Garber, Tricia Helfer and Michael Madsen, this DC Universe original animated adventure bursts with action-packed shakedowns, showdowns and spectacular visuals as Green Lantern uses his powers and imagination to make the impossible real!
Read my review of the two-disc DVD after the jump.
Green Lantern: First Flight
Official Site Link: www.greenlanterndvd.com
Release Date: July 28, 2009
Green Lantern: First Flight is the fifth entry in DC Universe’s series of straight-to-video original animated movies. In short, it’s a worthwhile addition to the series that is no better, or worse than the rest. The movie itself is very simple to follow. Pilot Hal Jordan is test flying an aircraft when he encounters a dying alien who gives him a mysterious ring that transforms him into a Green Lantern. As a Green Lantern it’s his job to patrol the universe in the name of peace and justice, but the Guardians of the Universe are unsure if he’s fit to serve so they assign their most-honored Lantern, Sinestro, to oversee with his training. Little to their knowledge, Sinestro has been secretly plotting to overthrow the Guardians.
The Lanterns, with Jordan in tow, go in search of the killer of the alien that bestowed his ring to Jordan. But while on the search, Jordan helps to unravel the secrets that Sinestro has been hiding. From that moment forward the film revolves around Hal and the other Lanterns trying to stave off Sinestro’s plot to take over the Guardians and become the de facto Guardian of the Universe.
While I would have liked to see a bit more depth to the characters and the plot, as it stands ‘First Flight’ is a fun film and a solid entry in the series.
The DVD cover proclaims over 2 1/2 hours of extras on the set and while that’s technically true, in terms of actual “bonus” content, there’s very little on this disc. Only four features presented on the set are original content, and only two of those — “Green Lantern: Behind the Story with Geoff Johns” and “In Brightest Day, In Blackes Night: The Green Lantern Corps” — actually relate to the movie, or the character/Green Lantern universe.
The other extras on the set are either re-purposed from past DC Universe movies, trailers or are just Green Lantern-related animated TV shows (one episode from Duck Dodgers and two from Justice League Unlimited).
“A First Look at Superman/Batman: Public Enemies” (7:49 minutes) – Unless you’re new to these DC Universe DVD movies, you know that each one of them so far has contained a short 10-ish minute preview of the next film in the series as an extra. It’s no different here. The next film on deck is Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. The film is based on the comic series by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Ed McGuinness.
Judging solely from this preview — which takes a brief look into the casting and voice recording performances and direction of the cast and crew — we look to be headed for another solid entry in this successful line of DVD movies. The featurette highlights an absolutely stellar voice cast, including Tim Daly (“Superman”), Kevin Conroy (“Batman”), Clancy Brown (“Lex Luthor”), Allison Mack (“Power Girl”), Xander Berkeley (“Captain Atom”), LeVar Burton (“Black Lightening”), Ricardo Chavira (“Major Force”) and John C. McGinley (“Metallo”). More characters, especially on the villain side, will show up in the film but those I just listed are who were shown and/or mentioned during the preview. Look for Superman/Batman: Public Enemies this fall 2009.
DC Universe preview clips (from past DVD Releases) — As I noted above, each release has featured a “look forward”, if you will, preview of the next film on tap. Warner Premiere has included three of those previews on this set:
- “From Graphic Novel to Original Animated Movie — Justice League: The New Frontier” (10:44 minutes)
- “Wonder Woman: The Amazon Princess” (10:25 minutes)
- “Batman: Gotham Knight — An Anime Evolution” (10:09 minutes)
“Blackest Night: Inside the DC Comics Event” (8:51 minutes) — This featurette discusses the currently running eight-issue comic book series Blackest Night, from Green Lantern comic writer Geoff Johns. From what I gathered, the series focuses on the Black Lanterns and is also a way for the DC Comics writers to work with the several characters who have been killed off in recent years. Think zombie-like portrayals of the characters — although they’re more in control of their surroundings than your normal everyday horror film zombie.
Trailers — Three trailers are presented on the disc:
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (1:52 minutes)
- Ben 10 Alien Force (0:32 minutes)
- Bakugen (0:32 minutes)
- Batman: Gotham Knight (1:35 minutes)
“Green Lantern: Behind the Story with Geoff Johns” (8:41 minutes) — For anyone not familiar with the Green Lantern/Hal Jordan back story/mythology, this short but to the point and informative featurette is very much welcomed. Geoff Johns, who writes various DC Comics series relating to Green Lantern and who clearly has a strong grasp of the characters and mythology, does a great job succinctly explaining the series and his philosophy in writing the character of Hal Jordan.
He talks about how he writes from the perspective of how the character should be an inspiration. His love of the series and comics in general is obvious, and the featurette delves briefly into his back-story of breaking into the business including a recap of how he gained an internship courtesy his mentor Richard Donnor. There are also short contributions from his fellow collaborators (writer Peter J. Tomasi and illustrator Ivan Reiss). No doubt about it, Johns has his head wrapped around a lot of projects but continues to churn out strong and compelling stories.
Duck Dogers: “The Green Loontern” (22:22 minutes) — A selected episode from the animated series Duck Dodgers which had a Green Lantern connection.
“In Brightest Day, In Blackes Night: The Green Lantern Corps” — These are basically two short character profiles. They include insights from Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi and artist Neal Adams. They are solid extras but they’re a bit on the short side.
- Sinestro (4:01 minutes)
- The Guardians of the Universe (3:39 minutes)
“Bruce Timm’s Top Picks: Green Lantern” — The package is rounded out with the two-part “Once And Future Thing” episode from the animated series Justice League Unlimited.
- Justice League Unlimited: “Once And Future Thing, Part One: Weird Western Tales” (23:00 minutes)
- Justice League Unlimited: “Once And Future Thing, Part Two: Time, Warped” (23:00 minutes)
Digital Copy — And finally, included in this DVD set is an insert containing a code to download a digital copy of the film.
- There are no special features exclusive to the Blu-ray version.
Basically, if you liked the previous PG-13 DC Universe DVD movies, you are more than likely going to enjoy Green Lantern: First Flight. My biggest complaints related to the ending — too abrubt — and the story — too generic. But overall the experience is a mostly entertaining one. The runtime, kept in check at just 77 minutes, makes for a nicely paced adventure film with very little in the way of “filler”.
With regards to the extras, what I can say is that the exclusive content is solid, but just way too short in totality. I’m also not a fan of presenting individual episodes from the various DC animated properties (trailers would suffice–I want content related to the movie), so that hurts my score in that regard.
With that said, overall I give this movie and DVD a score of 3.5/5.
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