Superheroes are hard to write well. Just
look at all of the really lousy comics
that have been written over the years.
Making a movie is even more difficult since you have to bring in
viewers who may not be familiar with the character while making sure
bore the core fans. Marvel has had a
hard time with their direct-to-DVD releases, none of which have been
spectacular, and though DC has done much better, I was unsure about how
Lantern would translate to the small screen.
I needn't have worried. The
newest DC Universe movie, Green
First Flight gets just about everything right.
Test pilot Hal Jordon is spending time in a flight simulator
when a ray of green light rips the entire faux cockpit off of the
flies it miles away into the desert.
There a surprised Jordan
finds a dying alien who gives him a ring, which just happens to be the
powerful weapon in the universe. As Jordan
green metal ring, a jet of light shoots out from it and clothes him in
uniform of a Green Lantern, a sort of intergalactic police officer. Just then the alien's ship explodes,
destroying all evidence he was ever there.
Some time later Jordan
a group of other Green Lanterns tracks Jordan down.
They take him to Oa, home of the Guardians of
the Universe, creators of the Green Lantern Corps.
They small blue immortals aren't sure Jordan
it takes to be a real GL, after all, he is from Earth.
Rather than strip him of the ring however, a
fellow GL, Sinestro, offers to train the young rookie and see if he has
takes. Their first mission:
find the assassin who killed Jordan's
predecessor and then track down his boss who has stolen the Yellow
only thing in the universe more powerful than the Green Lantern rings. Hal is more than willing to go along with
Sinestro, but he soon starts to suspect that his red partner has more
sleeve than he's letting on.
One of the problems with an origin story is it often takes a
long time until the person in question gets their powers.
Take the first Fantastic Four movie for
example. Nothing really happens for the
first 2/3s of the film. This film gets
over that hurdle by jumping right to the action. They
his ring and transport him
to Oa right away and fill in the details as they go.
That's not to say that the show is all action. The
story is loyal to the Green Lantern
mythos including a lot of GL members that long time comic fans will
(unfortunately that includes Ch'p, the squirrel GL.)
The story has the same grand scale as some of
the best GL comic adventures and including the whole GL corps was a
choice. Even better was the way the film
avoided getting bogged down in a lot of exposition and background
The other thing that this does right is make Hal Jordan
right off the bat. Yeah, he's a green
rookie, but he stands up to Sinestro when he's torturing a suspect and
give up even when all hope seems lost.
Having grown up reading GL comics staring Hal Jordan
(there were several other
characters who took on the mantle of Green Lantern over the years,) it
a smile to my face to see the 'real' Lantern acting heroic once again. The ending scene, when the entire corps holds
up their rings and recites their oath, lead by Jordan,
brought a smile to my face
and made me wish the film was twice as long.
This is a fun film and I hope they follow it up with a sequel in
The Blu-ray Disc:
The 1.78:1 1080p/VC-1 encoded disc looked very good, as the
previous DC Direct titles have. The
first thing that jumps out at you is the bright vivid colors. True to the character's four-color origins
this movie is filled intense colors, naturally including a lot of
really make the movie fun to watch. From
the green energy trails that the Lanterns leave behind them while
flying to the
strong yellow energy blasts from the evil power battery the varied hues
jump off the screen. The lines were very
tight, nice and straight, even on the diagonals. On
the digital side of things the disc looked
just as good. There wasn't and
significant banding, and aliasing and blocking, things that usually
crop up in
animation, weren't present. Overall a
nice looking disc.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track is fine but not
outstanding. While the full soundstage
is used in the many battles, the mix collapses to what is basically a
track much of the rest of the time. More
ambient noises should be been thrown to the rear in the more sedate
the movie. The battles do sound
impressive though, with Power Ring blasts firing all around the room
collapsing behind the viewer, it makes for in immersive experience. The track could have demanded a little more
the subwoofer too. Some of the
explosions and large sound effects weren't as deep and didn't rumble as
I was expecting. Aside from this the
disc sounds great.
One thing I'll give WB, they sure pack these DC Universe
titles with some good extras, both in terms of quality and quantity. My only complaint is that they are all
presented in SD. It starts off with Behind the Story with Geoff Johns (9
minutes), where the GL comic scribe gives an overview of the hero and
on the character. Comic fans will enjoy
watching the Who's Who from the comic world discuss GL in
I Am the Ring. This 23-minute featurette takes a closer look at
Green Lantern and his comic history with such luminaries Neal Adams,
Christopher and Paul Levitz among many others.
Then we get to some of the fluff. Sinestro
and The Guardians of the Universe are
short, 4-minute clip pieces that talk about the show you've just seen. Things pick up after that with Superman/Batman:
Public Enemies First Look
an 8-minute promo piece for the upcoming release. The
idea sound pretty stupid but the
execution might make this a great release.
In case you missed them,
DC Animation Project Previews is a half hour look at the earlier DC
Universe direct-to-DVD titles, Justice League:
The New Frontier, Wonder Woman, and Batman: Gotham Knight. The final featurette is Blackest
Night a look at Geoff Johns' upcoming GL story.
But wait, there's more.
This disc also comes with a large assortment of bonus cartoons. First off is an episode of
Dodgers entitled The Green Loontern, an amusing spoof of GL. Then
there are five (!) episodes of Justice
League featuring Green Lantern: Once
and Future Thing parts 1 & 2, Hearts and Minds
parts 1 & 2, and The Return.
As if that's not all, there is also a code for a
downloadable digital copy of the film in case you have the urge to
watch it on
a really small iPod screen.
A great story, a superb picture, and hours worth of
entertaining bonus material. What more
could you ask for? Green Lantern: First Flight
will please both old time fans
of the comic and novices alike. With an
exciting plot that avoids most of the pitfalls of origin stories, this
one is a
images in this review are not from the Blu-ray disc and do not
represent the image quality on the disc.