SDCC 09: Review: GREEN LANTERN: FIRST FLIGHT

GL: First Flight Premieres @ SDCC
 

I don’t know what moved me more—the fact that DC and Warner Brothers are finally showing up to the direct-to-DVD party with ultra-slick cartoon adaptations of their top tier characters…or the fact that nearly 4000 nerdy folks (myself included) stood before First Flight’s Executive Director, Bruce Timm, and recited the oath of the Green Lantern Corps in unison.

I got goose bumps, folks—and the movie hadn’t even started yet.

Honestly, I had my reservations—I’m a diehard reader of both of DC’s Lantern books so I leapt at the chance to catch the screening of the Green Lantern: First Flight DVD when I heard about the screening.  I was a little worried that a 75 minute cartoon might not satisfy my need for Green Lantern’s light—but, boy, was I wrong!

SPOILER SHIELDS ON!

The story and set-up are very brief—Hal Jordan, a test pilot for Ferris Aircraft, is quickly whisked away in a retro-modern version of the classic Green Lantern origin story.  I giggled a little when I saw Abin Sur’s spaceship; it kind of looked like a Dust-Buster hand vacuum that was crashing down on the planet Earth.  Then, I was immediately drawn back into “serious mode” by the dramatic story unfolding as Hal Jordan becomes the successor to Abin Sur.  Jordan is quickly approached by Sinestro, Boodika, Kilawog, and Tomar-Re and brought before the Guardians to see if he’s worthy of being a Green Lantern.

Not only does this cartoon capture Hal’s willful, dominant persona—and it also accurately depicts his quick wit and wicked sense of humor as he continually interrupted the Guardians’ speech.  He is paired with Sinestro and it becomes painfully obvious that Sinestro’s methods aren’t always very ethical in short order.

Basically that’s a taste of the first fifteen minutes of Green Lantern goodness!

SPOILERS OFF!

I’m not going to go into detail about the cartoon from a storytelling standpoint.  Does it honor the source material?  Yes.  Does the cartoon look good?  Absolutely!  Does the cartoon engage the viewer?  Without a doubt!  Green Lantern: First Flight would be the first thing I’d show my kid on his/ her 12th birthday…I only say that because there is a degree of adult content.  There’s anywhere between 5 and 10 moments of dialog that have a splash of “colorful” language.  The violence on this DVD is on par with the stuff seen in the Wonder Woman project from earlier in the year; there’s a particularly rough scene with…no, I’m going to tell you anymore about the story—other than go out and buy this thing like your life depends on it.

Hats off to the creative team behind this project—it was highly polished from start to finish; there were no weak areas to the cartoon.  Everything from the amazing score by Robert Kral to the excellent storytelling for the outstanding job done by the voiceover actors involved with the project—it was simply that damn good.  I particularly liked Christopher Meloni as Hal Jordan and Michael Madsen as Kilawog; with projects like this, when you really get your voice casting “pitch perfect”, an attentive viewer doesn’t have to wrap their head around matching the voice to the character—creating a much more enjoyable viewing experience.

The animation and character designs for this production are simply breathtaking—you feel like you’re in the heart of the current Green Lantern renaissance that’s going on over at DC Comics.  Sinestro—as a Green Lantern or as a Yellow one—is a site to behold, for sure.  Part of me was sitting their wishing that more episodic, season-based cartoons had the level of polish this product has.  I had had some reservations about the length of the project—but, by the end, I felt like I had watched something with a lot of depth.  It actually seemed longer—something I like to feel before I plop 25 bucks down for a DVD.  This cartoon is so good though that I won’t be thinking twice when I go pick it up.

All in all, this was a spectacular experience as a whole.  Parents might want to hold off on snatching a copy of this for any kids under about 10-12 (because of language and bloodshed).  Adults, on the other hand, will probably giggle with glee like 10-12 year olds as they experience the sheer awesomeness of Green Lantern: First Flight—I know I did.

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