Alright, so R3 and I had a conversation not too long ago that went a little something like this:
Sheldon: So, out of curiosity, do direct to video movies fall in my jurisdiction as official movie reviewer?
Republibot 3.0: Sure, why not.
And so it was written (literally, since it was over e-mail) so shall it be done. This is the first installment of my DVD MOVIE REVIEW section. I will, of course, review all of the DCU animated movies and if Marvel does anymore, I'll hit them too (I didn't do Thor: Tales of Asgard because, frankly, Thor isn't science fiction. We really only did the live action Thor because it ties into the Avengers, which IS science fiction). If anyone knows of any direct to video movies on the horizon, please let me know and I'll rent them and review them. I will also put any movies I miss in their theatrical run (which I'm really going to try not to do) here as well. Look for the Sucker Punch review when it hits dvd, for instance.
Alright, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is the DCU Animated Original Movie released on Tuesday to tie-in to the Green Lantern feature film coming out June 17th. It is very similar in format to the Batman: Gotham Knight animated movie (which was also a feature film tie-in for The Dark Knight) in that it is an anthology of several short subjects. It goes one better than Batman: Gotham Knight because it is actually a coherent story, which features several flashbacks. Batman: Gotham Knight was supposed to have some cohesion, but I didn't see it. This one really has cohesion, and I appreciate that.
The story begins on Oa, where the GLC has been summoned in preparation for an impending attack by Chrona, a renegade Guardian and refugee from the anti-matter universe of Qward. While waiting in line to charge their rings at the Central Power Battery (wait, don't they usually just all do it at once and recite the oath in one thunderous chorus?), Hal Jordan tells new recruit Arisia a brief history of the Green Lantern Corps.
Most of the stories are actually adaptations of stories which have appeared in GL comics throughout the years. The first story, the story of the first Green Lantern written by Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim (who wrote the screenplay for the feature), is original to the film, as is the wrap-around story of the attack by Chrona, written by Alan Burnett. Adapted stories include "Mogo Doesn't Socialize", which I've always thought was lame and the movie doesn't make it any better (but I think the Mogo idea is lame to begin with. I'm sure it's a perfectly good story) written by Dave Gibbons and based on an original story by Alan Moore and illustrated by Gibbons himself; "Kilowog" written by Peter Tomasi and adapted from his own story "New Blood" about the training of Kilowog as a recruit (and Tomar Re as well) by former Drill Sergeant Deegan; "Abin Sur" by Geoff Johns and based on his own short story "Tygers"; and finally "Laira" written by Eddie Berganza and based on the story "What Price Honor?" originally written by Ruben Diaz.
On a whole, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is a fun watch. It isn't on the same level as Green Lantern: First Flight, but it's good and very insightful into the GL mythology. If you happen to be a newbie and want to know more about the GLC before going into the feature film, this is definitely a must-see. If you're a veteran ring-slinger, as I am, this will feed your GL hunger quite nicely as well. I will say that, although I love Nathan Fillion, I did miss Christopher Meloni's Hal Jordan from First Flight and I didn't much care for Henry Rollins as Kilowog. He's been very good as Mad Stan on Batman Beyond, but his voice just doesn't fit the Kilowog character. Personally, my favorite Kilowog is Dennis Haysbert (Pedro Cerrano from Major League), who voiced the character on Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Other than that, all of the other voices were well cast with strong actors. So pick up Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, you won't be disappointed, and be back here in two weeks for my review of the Green Lantern feature film.
As with all DCU Animated Original Movies, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights features a sneek peak of the next film in the series, the highly anticipated Batman: Year One! With the exception of Batman, all of the voices sound pretty good. Every Batman who isn't Kevin Conroy is going to be an epic fail to me, and it isn't Conroy in this movie. Bruce Greenwood did a good job in Batman: Under the Red Hood, but he still wasn't Batman to me. But Year One looks great so far, so be on the look out. The preview said "Summer 2011", but I think that's a mistake. It will probably be more like in the fall, although no specific street date has been set yet.