Friday night, Wondercon premiered Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, a new direct-to-DVD feature that focuses on the Green Lantern Corps and stars the voice talents of Nathan Fillion, Elisabeth Moss, Kelly, Hu Jason Isaacs, Henry Rollins, Roddy Piper, Wade Williams, Arnold Vosloo, and others.Green Lantern: Emerald Knights has been advertised as an anthology of stories, with different writers and directors at the helm, but it’s a little bit more than that. The film is based on the original arc of the comic book Tales of the Green Lantern Corps, when a young Arisia joined the Corps just in time to find out that Krona, the rogue Guardian, was about to arrive and attempt to wipe Oa from the face of the universe. As Arisia prepares for the battle with the other Lanterns, she is told several stories about some of the men and women she’ll be fighting with. So instead of a mere anthology, these become stories from the trenches told against a backdrop of mounting danger as Krona’s arrival becomes more imminent.
Laira, Mogo, Kilowog, Abin Sur and the first ringbearers are the subjects of these different stories. Direction, dialogue and pacing are all spot-on. Long-time readers will recognize these stories from a variety of issues. But each story has been re-interpreted and/or extended, so there are surprises and fun new twists. And these stories work very well for introducing new fans to the mythos and atmosphere of the Green Lantern comics. I watched the film with a friend who knew next to nothing about Hal Jordan and the Corps and by the end of the feature she was very interested to read more about these characters. She felt she had a good understanding about the power of the rings and the kind of people who are chosen to wield them and she definitely wanted more. That’s exactly what these kinds of projects should be. Something that entertains fans both new and old.
The animation is great and the fight sequences seriously entertaining. In each battle, the Lanterns display their personalities and natures by showcasing personalized ring-constructs, something that’s often been seen in the comics but hasn’t always been focused on in animated adaptations. For instance, Laira tends to create Japanese-style weaponry. Hal’s attacks and constructs are fast and furious. Sinestro attacks forcefully and simply, wasting neither time nor energy on anything but taking down his foes.
The voice talents are great all around. Wade Williams is both intimidating and hilarious as drill sergeant Deegan. Henry Rollins brings a surprisingly sympathetic quality to Kilowog, yet balances this with showcasing him as a rough-edged taskmaster. Elisabeth Moss is able to capture Arisia’s youth, someone who is overwhelmed at times by what’s around her, while later showcasing the confidence of a young girl who knows when she has to step up to the challenge. And Nathan Fillion is just as fun in the role of Hal Jordan as many of us believed he would be.
If the feature has any faults, they are minor ones. First, a character in Laira’s story seems to have a very sudden change of heart about his life. 15 seconds of less fighting and 15 seconds of more dialogue might have easily fixed this. Second, since this feature is so focused on everyone BUT Hal, he doesn’t get a chance to really display himself as a formidable Green Lantern in his own right. But then again, we’ve got plenty of stories like that, as well as an upcoming live-action film, so that’s not a huge flaw.
All in all, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is a solid feature and should be enjoyed by any GL fan, as well as anyone who knows nothing about the comic and wants to learn.