Director: Lauren Montgomery
Writer: Alan Burnett
Stars: Christopher Meloni, Victor Garber, Tricia Helfer
The most noticeable part of the opening pre credit scenes to Green Lantern: First Flight is how Director Lauren Montgomery, breezes by the origin story before the opening credits. My initial reaction was, “Wow, they are not hanging about here.” According to Montgomery the Hal Jordan’s origin story had been previously covered in Justice League: The New Frontier (2008) and she didn’t want to spend too much time regurgitating the story once more. I’m already won over at this point as watching these in release order it makes sense not to repeat the same story over and over again, even if the previous film has nothing to do with the next film or any relation to it.
For those who aren’t familiar with Green Latern (and I include myself in this to a point) First Flight is about a test pilot who goes by the name of Hal Jordan who finds himself recruited as the newest member of the intergalactic police force, The Green Lantern Corps after coming across a dying alien who possesses a green ring on his finger which he entrusts to Hal. From this point on he becomes The Green Lantern and is met by Sinestro (part of The Green Lantern Corps) who fills him in on his role and introduces him to the Council who guide the Lanterns in their quests.
The plot is pretty simple in which they have to discover the “Yellow Element”, which is the one weakness of the Green Lanterns (basically this colour is the one thing that can block their power, and in the wrong hands it can be devastating to the whole universe.) Think Kryptonite to Superman. As I said, it’s a pretty run of the mill story. It’s the subplot involving Sinestro who is manoeuvring behind the scenes and in pursuit of Kanjar Ro that interested me more as I suspected there was more to Sinestro than first thought. Kanjar Ro played by the brilliant Kurtwood Smith was more a cardboard gangster to the more mysterious phantom menace that was Sinestro, who was more a conflicted and complex character.
I actually appreciate Alan Burnett’s (Writer) intentions here for a storyline. Anyone coming into this movie who isn’t familiar with the character will enjoy this and perhaps delve more into the characters arc in other formats having watched this. I have to admit, my exposure to the character was though the live action Green Lantern (2011) staring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Peter Sarsgaard and that particular film left a bad taste in my mouth. There is none of the generic cheesy cinema feel from that film here. It’s grim, gritty and pretty violent at times for an animated movie. I particularly enjoyed the pursuit of Kanjar Ro, it had almost a Blade Runner / Star Wars feel to it (particularly the interrogation scene that did look like a Cantina scene rip off but I didn’t mind.
The look and feel to the animation and the surroundings to the storyline perhaps took a little bit of time to get used to, it did however have that other world feel to it. Most of the animation team have previously worked or went on to animate more DC Animated films as well as having a strong Japanese Anime background. I liked their style and felt it was relevant for this character and this story. An impressive ensemble of talented Actors contributing their energy into bringing the characters to life. Christopher Meloni (Hal Jordan / Green Lantern), Victor Garber (Sinestro), Tricia Helfer (Boodikka), Michael Madsen (Kilowog), John Larroquette (Tomar-Re), Kurtwood Smith (Kanjar Ro) and Larry Drake (Ganthet) all made valid contributions to the characters and to the story.
Overall, i thoroughly enjoyed Green Lantern: First Flight as a proper introduction to the character and his world. Justice League: The New Frontier may have given us the origin story strung out over the 75 minute duration of that particular animated film but I felt it was in First Flight I got to understand what motivated Jordan and where he is at. Green Lantern: First Flight delivers us interesting and fleshed out characters and is has some really intense action scenes in storytelling and in animation. Highly Recommended.