Unfortunately the live-action outing for Green Lantern didn’t really catch anyone’s attention (not really a surprise there to be honest), but nevertheless, the guys at DC and the television studios decided that there is still money to be had from the emerald green franchise, the end result of which is this, Green Lantern: The Animated Series. To be fair, a different, more specific title would probably have gone down much better.
Anyway, the main plot revolves around vicious Red Lanterns who seem to be making it their business to kill off all the Green Lanterns patrolling the remote border planets. Of course, impulsive test pilot Hal Jordan can’t stand by and do nothing, and with the aid of Kilowog, steals an experimental ship to head out on an intercept and assist mission to the farthest reaches of space!
The series and scenarios are actually well written, and each episode serves to drive the main storyline, a great thing to come across in any animated series. And whilst there is some humor to be had, on the whole, Green Lantern: The Animated Series is far more about delivering a steady dose of drama intermixed with plenty of GL action!
The voice acting cast do a sterling job by bringing their respective characters alive with exactly the right attitudes, all of which is then wrapped up in some neat background music.
The animation front pleases me a little less though. In a very similar vein to Star Wars: Clone Wars, the producers have gone with the CG approach, the result of which is some fairly stiff characters and a loss of some of the more stylized, outlandish action that would have been a snap to include if animating using the traditional 2D method.
Still, the CG isn’t all that bad and it does have a style all of its own, meaning it is passable, and probably not such a hurdle if you are already sold on the look of Star Wars: The Clone Wars franchise.
Overall, it really isn’t a bad series to watch, the stories are well told and very engaging. There is plenty of super hero action to be had, as well as the necessary drama associated with it. Unfortunately the animation is a little stiff thanks to having gone the full CG route, but oh well, this is still a decent enough addition to the animated DC Comics universe.
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Lantern:_The_Animated_Series
The newly rejuvenated Green Lantern series (courtesy of the New 52 DC event) reaches the issue 7 mark, kicking off a brand new story arc from writer Geoff Johns, with pencils by the impeccable Doug Mahnke, inks from Keith Champagne, Christian Alamy and Mark Irwin, and if you are still reading this far down, colors by Alex Sinclair.
The Secret of the Indigo Tribe, part one, sees Sinestro trying to get Hal to join him on a mission based on what Sinestro has witnessed in the Book of Black. Needless to say, Hal wants nothing to do with this and the obligatory fistfight (or should that be ring fight) ensues. However, things get interesting when the secretive and cult-like Indigo Tribe shows up to capture Sinestro, whisking away Hal in the process and leaving a very confused Star Sapphire behind!
There’s a lot of good dialogue here as Geoff sets about laying down the bricks for what looks like it is going to be another epic story arc, and again the focus of the issue is not necessarily Hal Jordan, which broadens the appeal of the book and also sets up some very intriguing scenarios.
Of course, Doug Mahnke lays down some fabulous and well detailed artwork which is very pleasing to the eye, delivering some great action sequences as well some pretty dark moments towards the latter stages of the issue. It must be mentioned that the trio of inkers do a fantastic job in highlighting Doug’s great pencils, and truth be told, the three work so well together that you would be hard-pressed to actually spot the fact that there were multiple inkers working on this book in the first place!
(And yes, the colors are pretty awesome as well).
Anyway, overall issue 7 is an enjoyable setup issue that does enough to hook and reel you in, inviting you to hungrily look forward to the next couple of forthcoming issues!
The Justice League consists of Earth’s finest super heroes and protectors of humanity. But in the mind of the Dark Knight, it contains potentially the most dangerous people on the planet. Over time, Batman has compiled top-secret contingency plans should any of them go rogue. When these files are stolen by a rising group of super villains, the Justice League embarks on a collision course that will test the very fabric of its alliance!
Director Lauren Montgomery and producers Bruce Timm and Sam Register are back, with the last ever movie script penned by the venerable Dwayne McDuffie before his untimely passing. Released in February 2012, Justice League: Doom is the 13th film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line.
The JL line-up for this outing consists of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), The Flash (Barry Allen) and Martian Manhunter, with the assistance of Cyborg who ends up playing a pivotal role in the saga. Up against them is Vandal Savage, leading a group consisting of Metallo, Mirror Master, Cheetah, Star Sapphire, Bane and Ma’alefa’ak – basically a villain from each hero’s rogues gallery and thus perfect to round things off. What follows is an excellently paced action drama that sees each of the heroes incapacitated in a surprising manner, as Vandal sets about his plan to create a new world order – which of course makes for quite an epic ending.
Being a team-based movie, not a lot of time is lavished on one single hero, but the air time is split evenly enough that you don’t feel hard done by if you support a particular character, and the various threads all combine very nicely to provide a solid and enjoyable super hero tale that has plenty of drama, intrigue and of course fist pounding action (not to mention a giggle here and there)!
Although not a direct sequel to the earlier Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the movie does use the same character designs as the former, and to be frank, despite some of the more pretty boy faces like Superman to get used to as well as the sometimes too sparse line-work, the visuals are for the most part crisp, clean and very well animated, with some fluid choreography and effects, not to mention the vibrant colour palette it sports.
Christopher Drake scores the film and complementing the great soundtrack is a stellar vocal performance from all of the voice actors attached to the project, which includes the likes of Kevin Conroy as Batman, Time Daly as Superman and Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern.
In summary this is yet another excellently crafted super hero movie and a worthy inclusion in what is a fantastic DC animated movie line-up. Strong story which keeps you engaged from start to finish, great visuals and animation, plus a polished sound makes Justice League: Doom well worth tracking down!
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_League:_Doom
Because I don’t have all the time in the world to spend on blogging, here are some thoughts on a couple of animated features I recently watched, instead of my usual review efforts. Sorry about that, but priorities, priorities! :P
Justice League Unlimited Season 2 (2005)
Now widening the net to include all manner of DC heroes, both primary and secondary, the second season of the fantastic Justice League Unlimited franchise moves on from Project Cadmus, which dominated much of the first season, and instead provides a overarching plot that sees Gorilla Grodd and his sinister Secrety Society now tangling with the various members of the Justice League as the standalone episode format eventually dovetails into a brilliant extended finale.
If you are a long term follower of the DC comic book universe then you’ll definitely get a kick out of this season, meeting a lot of fringe characters not normally afforded screen time, and as a whole, season 2 of Justice League Unlimited really does make for an enjoyable, animated super hero watch.
It comes with the perfect mix of drama, action and comedy, looks great with its slick, simple but stylized animation, and is voiced by an incredible collection of talented people, all mixed in with a great soundtrack.
If you are a comic book fan then there is simply no way that you won’t enjoy seeing this.
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_League_Unlimited
Justice League (Secret Origins) (2002)
This DVD collects the first three episodes of the stellar original Justice League run, stitching them up into a single movie experience. It’s a great League origin story with compelling drama, likeable characters, a touch of humor, and of course great super hero action.
The simple but effective (and stylish) DCAU animation style works well for this show and combined with some fantastic voice talent and musical scoring, this really is a fun outing if you enjoy your animated super hero fare!
Certainly a classic and well worth the watch.
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_League_%28TV_series%29
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
I’m not a Star Wars fan, so luckily for me, I can walk into this animated movie experience without expecting too much. Frankly, it is an enjoyable tale of how Anakin gets saddled with an unwanted, brash student and who are then thrust into a difficult situation as they seek to rescue the kidnapped child of their foe – before time runs out.
If you can ignore the stupid (childish) lines that the poor droids often get saddled with and the sometimes stilted dialog between the Jedi, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is an enjoyable watch with plenty of action, a decent amount of drama, and the occasional giggle or two (though not from the forced humor which is driven through the droids. Didn’t really understand the need for that).
Visually the stylized CG is a treat, and of course aurally the movie is just as strong, with some great performances from the various voice actors involved. As you can expect, the musical score is also as strong as ever for something involved in the Star Wars universe, and so in summary, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is an enjoyable movie lead-in to animated series shown on Cartoon Network.
But like I said, I can walk into this movie without expectations, and thus ended up enjoying it. Real Star Wars fans apparently pan it. I can only guess that they’re sore from having their beloved franchise stretched even further from its original roots!
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars:_Clone_Wars_%28film%29
Leading the charge of DC’s huge universe overall, dubbed “The New 52!”, was Justice League #1, written by Geoff Johns, pencilled by Jim Lee and inked by Scott Williams.
Seeing as this is the relaunch of the line, Geoff gets to build a brand new origin story for the League, and he starts off with gusto, as we’re thrown right into the mix of Batman being chased by military helicopters, who in turn is chasing a parademon across the rooftops of Gotham. Star City’s Green Lantern intervenes, and in the ensuing confusion, the parademon escapes, forcing Green Lantern and Batman to track it down before it can do any more damage.
With the retrieval of a Motherbox, Batman and Green Lantern head to Metropolis in the hope that the resident alien there might be able to shed some light on their new mystery… though its not like this particular alien likes to be told what to do!
Geoff weaves a great introduction story, and he creates some particularly witty and enjoyable banter between Batman and Green Lantern, capturing their personalities perfectly. The tale flows well and the setup for the final page leaves you wanting more, always the hallmark of a well written issue.
Jim Lee can hardly ever do wrong with the pencil, and once again he and Scott Williams produce some fantastic, detailed and dynamic layouts and sequences, making Justice League #1 a proper superhero visual treat.
Well worth picking up in other words.
The final 13 episodes of what truly is an enjoyable animated series featuring everyone’s favourite vigilante dressed up as a bat, season 5 departs in a big way from what has up until now been a very Batman-centred universe, and instead introduces a number of different heroes from the DC universe Justice League line-up, turning this outing into very much a “Brave and the Bold” season!
Of course this means character and world development is out of the window in favour of super-powered team-ups and big brawls, which is not really that much of a drawback when you consider just how awesome and action-packed these resulting episodes actually are!
Interestingly enough, all of a sudden mainstays of the previous three seasons, Commissioner Gordon and Batgirl get sidelined to cameo appearances, with the Bat line-up settling into a more traditional Batman and Robin setup for just about the whole run.
In terms of the heroes we get to see on screen, we start things off with Superman, before being followed by the likes of Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, The Flash and Hawkman, never mind the entire Justice League who show up for the final story arc! Of course, the injection of new heroes comes with new villains for Bruce to tackle, including the likes of Lex Luthor, Mercy Graves, Metallo, Count Vertigo, The Wrath, Shadow Thief, Sinestro, Mirror Master, and the Terrible Trio (who actually aren’t all that terrible after all).
As per usual, Jeff Matsuda’s unique character design influence comes across strongly in the animated visuals, leaving us with a simple but extremely pleasing to the eye visual adventure that is jam-packed with action, intrigue, and of course a laugh or two, courtesy of course from a stellar panel of writers which includes the likes of Alan Burnett, Stan Berkowitz and Alexx van Dyne.
Overall this is a great looking show with an excellent voice cast (though I still lament the loss of the first season’s theme music from U2’s The Edge), backed by enjoyable and action-packed stories that bring the five year long franchise to a satisfying conclusion.
A lot lighter in tone than season 1 (a trend that happened across the seasons), season 5 of The Batman will definitely entertain all the boys, plus their comic book enjoying dads! :)
(Not so sure about the girls though – wifey didn’t really enjoy the last couple of seasons of the show. Too silly for her she said…)
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Batman_%28TV_series%29
At last, an enjoyable anthology makes its appearance in the form of Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, released in 2011 under the DC Universe Animated Original Movie banner.
Although Emerald Knights is the second Green Lantern animated film to be released under this banner and despite sharing character design and animation style with the first, it diverges from the continuity laid out by First Flight in that Hal Jordan is now a veteran Green Lantern and Sinestro is still a Green Lantern, something which would obviously not have been possible following the events of First Flight.
Unlike the haphazard anime-styled anthology that was Batman: Gotham Knight, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights tries a different tack, by unifying the various short stories under an overarching, linking story and employing the same animation style throughout (despite each segment being directed and written by different people, including Lauren Montgomery, Christopher Berkeley and Jay Olivia). So what we get is a fantastic set of tales related by Hal Jordan to new recruit Arisia Rrab as they prepare for an oncoming onslaught that has prompted the Guardians to evacuate Oa and place the Green Lantern Corps on high alert!
The first tale tells of Avra, the first Green Lantern to ever do a light construct, the second of Kilowog and his training under Sgt. Deega, the third of Laira and her action-packed return to her home planet, and the fourth of Mogo and why he doesn’t socialize. At this point Sinestro takes over and tells a tale of Abin Sur, before the movie decides to wrap things up by launching a full scale assault from within the sun the Lantern Corps had been monitoring, prompting the creation of Arisia’s very own tale.
This clever way of presenting an anthology means that it feels like you are watching a full film and not just little disjointed segments, resulting in a great amount of Green Lantern history and information being passed over to you for the first three quarters of the feature, before rewarding you with a proper epic finish that is worthy of a Green Lantern story.
In other words, a very satisfying affair for both those familiar with the Green Lantern mythos and those who were perhaps just passing by. As per usual voice director Andrea Romano has pulled in a wide variety of talent to voice the huge cast of characters, featuring the likes of Nathan Fillion, Elisabeth Moss, Jason Isaacs, Kelly Hu, Arnold Vosloo and even Roddy Piper of all people! Complementing the great voice acting is of course a fantastic musical score, put together by Christopher Drake.
In terms of animation style, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights actually ends up looking quite nice, with fairly simple lines being used, but in such a way as to give a good amount of detail and diversity to the varied set character models used throughout. The animation itself is very slick and there are some fantastic choreographed fight sequences, particularly in the Laira segment. In other words, Emerald Knights comes out looking pretty good for a straight to DVD animated feature!
I must admit that I did enjoy this particular one, despite the fact that an anthology will almost never grab a viewer emotionally due to the short nature of all its mini features. But thanks to the clever overarching storyline, well th05ought out stories being told, and great animation and voice acting, this is certainly another worthy entry into the DC Universe Animated Original Movie catalogue, suitable for both those already familiar with the Green Lantern mythos, as well as those just looking to enjoy some animated fun!
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Lantern:_Emerald_Knights
When test pilot and war veteran Hal Jordan accepts a mysterious, powerful ring from a dying alien creature, it transforms him into the Green Lantern, one of an elite force of intergalactic heroes who patrol the universe to ensure peace and justice for all, under the leadership of the Guardians of the Universe.
Unsure of their newest recruit, the Guardians assign Hal to their most-honoured Green Lantern Sinestro for training, unaware that a sinister plot is already well under way that seeks to overthrow the Guardians and create a new order that will replace chaos throughout the galaxy.
It’s a battle of might and willpower as Hal, the first ever human Green Lantern, must prove his worth both as a honourable member of the human species and as a hero to all!
Green Lantern: First Flight is a 2009, direct-to-video Warner Bros. and DC Comics animated film adaptation of the Green Lantern mythology, the first such film of its kind. The story focuses on the first mission of Hal Jordan, the first human inducted into the Green Lantern Corps and is written by veteran DC scribe Alan Burnett. The film is produced by Bruce Timm and directed by Lauren Montgomery, who previously directed DC’s Wonder Woman animated feature film also released in 2009.
In terms of story, Alan Burnett has been such a staple in the DC bullpen for so long now that it is almost impossible for him to put a single step wrong when it comes to DC superheroes and as such the film simply works, building up nice and quickly, humanising as many of the characters as possible and then finishing off with the perfect heroic and explosive end. There are scatterings of humour here and there, but first and foremost Green Lantern: First Flight is an space-based action movie fuelled by limitless imagination – and this is exactly what it chases after from start to finish.
One thing that I am glad about is that they decided not to rehash the whole origin story (despite the film’s title) as this had been covered more than comprehensively enough in the previous Justice League: New Frontier movie released in 2008. Rather, they rushed through this rather well trod sequence and instead chose to focus on the story of Hal Jordan’s first missions as a Green Lantern and the rise of Sinestro, a decision that I wholeheartedly applaud.
Visually, Green Lantern: First Flight is pretty much standard super hero fare, but this is in no way a bad thing when you realise that this means crisp, square-jawed antagonists with extremely clean lines and fluid animation, which when combined with a fairly bright (if a little flat) colour and shading palette delivers an end result that is certainly more than just a little pleasing to the eye.
Unfortunately the film does however stray in that ‘throw a little CG in here and there’ mentality and as per usual the meld between 2D and 3D does not blend seamlessly together and this does cause a little bit of irritation in what other wise would have been a perfect visual spectacle. Thankfully though these sequences and blendings are kept to a minimum and in the end, I can only hope that the cost savings made by substituting the CG in for traditional was worth the money for the producer.
As per usual, the orchestral arrangements and just general background music choice and sound effects for the film are absolutely spot on, but what is a nice change of pace is the inclusion of quite a few well known actors and actresses for the various voice roles in the movie, a move that DC seems to have started in earnest now, following their inclusion of a big(ish) name in Keri Russell for the previous Wonder Woman film. This time around we get Christopher Meloni as Hal Jordan, Victor Garber as Sinestro, Tricia Helfer as Boodikka, Juliet Landau as Labella, Olivia D’Abo as Carol Ferris, John Larroquette as Tomar Re, Larry Drake as Ganthet, and last but most definitely not least, the king of B film action actors, Michael Madsen as the ever lovable Kilowog.
Like it or hate it, having big(ish) names attached to a project (even if just in the voice acting category) certainly can’t hurt in overall sales, and apart from the ‘star power’ that the producer is most certainly hoping for, all these people are trained actors, meaning that their performances are all pretty much top notch.
In summary, Green Lantern: First Flight is a more than worthy addition to DC’s ever growing stable of animated feature length films, featuring some great action, solid story telling, competent animation and just an amazing level of faithfulness to the source material as a whole, all jumbled with that complete sense of wonderment that space-based superhero yarns so often instil deep in a fanboy’s heart.
It is a great composition and if you are a comic book fan then this is one animated film that should definitely be sitting snugly in your DVD rack! :)
Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Lantern:_First_Flight