Tag Archives: Nathan Fillion

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (2011) Movie Review By Stephen McLaughlin

Green Lantern Emerald Knights

Directors: Christopher Berkeley, Lauren Montgomery
Writers: Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim 
Stars: Nathan Fillion, Jason Isaacs, Elisabeth Moss

I’m assuming that this was DC and WB preparing the world for the then upcoming live action version of The Green Lantern and ironically in my opinion this is way better than the Ryan Reynolds big budget movie. That’s not to say that Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is a great movie, nor is it a bad movie. My feelings are that this was made for the fans that perhaps may have felt the previous Green Lantern Animated Film “Green Lantern: First Flight” was made for a more widespread audience. Personally I really liked First Flight.

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is really a well told story that is constructed into the pending threat as the home planet of the Green Lantern Corps faces a battle with an ancient enemy and Hal Jordan (Nathan Fillion) must prepare new recruit Arisia (Elisabeth Moss) for the coming conflict by relating stories of the first Green Lantern and several of Hal’s comrades. It’s a great method in embedding previous adventures from the comic books that casual fans may not have read or heard of and that applies to the characters too. If like me, a casual fan I am listening to Jordan’s tales in the same vain as Arisia. So I thought that was a neat way of storytelling. The sub stories are actually really good and remain interesting throughout the films duration. Yes some of the alien characters and the animation in these characters looks and voices could be silly at times but the storytelling remained consistent and made me understand this universe a little more. 

The cast again like most of these DC animated films are strong and Nathan Fillion is back (Last time as Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman from 2009) Jason Isaacs as Sinestro (last played Ra’s al Ghul in 2010’s Batman: Under the Red Hood) Elisabeth Moss as Arisia (I think this was his first and only time in the DC Animated Universe) Arnold Vosloo of Mummy fame playing Abin Sur (previously Bar-El in All-Star Superman from 2011) and Henry Rollins as Kilowog (Rollins has a long list of animated features including Batman: The Brave and the Bold Television Series. The majority of the cast have a history in comic book animations or live action and I feel this is important on how they come across in their voice acting. Here  the likes of Fillion and co get it and what they have to bring to the table. In all of the DC Animated Universe Films I commend the voice actors as they have all done a sterling job in their roles and once more show us that even in voice they must perform to the peak of their game.

The action sequences are fast and furious. The opening scenes are quite graphic and sets the tone to the movie which worked well as the movies colours where bright throughout and I think with Christopher Berkeley (The Batman (TV Series) and Lauren Montgomery (Superman/Doomsday, Wonder Woman,Green Lantern: First Flight, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse) in the Directorial chair I knew we were in safe hands on where we were going with this movie. It might have been my mind playing tricks on me but I am pretty sure all the flashbacks had a different animation style to differentiate the storytelling. Some of the animation at times made the alien creatures silly looking at not at all menacing or superior and thankfully this is just nitpicking because as I said the storytelling was dominant here anyway. The Hal / Arisia animation interactions in between the stories was more traditional comic book look and both characters came across as teacher and student as it was intended.

Overall, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights may have been created with the core fanbase in mind but newbies like myself will be able to pickup and understand the plot easily enough and be taught some of the backstory to the other characters within the Green Lantern Core and it’s universe.

Personally I enjoyed the First Flight film as an overall experience but storytelling wise Emerald Knights is one of the best in the DC Animated Universe out there. My advice would be not to start your DC adventures here. Go back and watch them chronologically and embrace the build up to this cracking film from Christopher Berkeley and Lauren Montgomery. Highly Recommended.

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Wonder Woman (2009) Movie Review By Stephen McLaughlin

Wonder Woman 2009

Director: Lauren Montgomery
Writers: William Moulton Marston (creator: Wonder Woman), Gail Simone (story)
Stars: Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Alfred Molina, Rosario Dawson, Marg Helgenberger, Oliver Platt, Virginia Madsen

I think it’s fair to say that Wonder Woman (2009) was possibly a little overshadowed by the higher profile Batman: Gotham Knight due to its release in the midst of the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight Trilogy and although the more prominent live action film from 2017 grabbed all the headlines, I think it’s clearly obvious that the Warner Premiere produced animated Wonder Woman aided the plot and Patty Jenkins would be able to cherry pick the best of this 2009 release. If it were me, I would be using the animated version as my story board if this wasn’t already done as many of the sequences from the 2017 movie are here to see 8 years previously. That isn’t a dig at the 2017 filmmakers in anyway, just my opinion and observations.

Wonder Woman (2009) is about a modern man’s trespass (Steve Trevor) who survives a frantic mid air battle and crashes on the island of the Amazons and enables an imprisoned war god (ares) to escape and Princess Diana wins the responsibility to recapture him. Not surprising Wonder Woman (2009) is a well made film that is both energetic and thought provoking and personally I felt it deserved more recognition on it’s release. Those opening sequences drew me in from the beginning. I was intrigued how Diana came to be and her backstory. The bloody war from ancient times is won by the amazon women and as a reward from the gods the Queen Hippolyta is granted a child fashioned from clay. The amazons flourish in isolation on paradise island where Diana grows up into a fine young warrior. But a part of her seeks greater adventure outside the boundaries of the island. (Sounds bit like Moana here doesn’t it)

The Amazons hold a contest to decide who will escort Trevor back to the USA after discovering he is of no threat to them and during the contest we flit back and forth as an amazon traitor releases Ares from capture as Diana wins the contest and now as well as seeing Trevor off the island her main mission is to track down Ares who has a far more sinister plan in the work, one that could spell the doom of the world and the extinction of the amazons before it is too late with the help of Steve Trevor. 

I must commend the writing on this fine animated film. The Dialogue between the characters by Gail Simone, brings to life the story with it’s clever and witty lines that keeps with the spirit of the comic books but also has a level of maturity that you will almost forget you aren’t watching a live action movie. I’m nitpicking here but the one thing that I was a little let down with was the visuals and the animation. I’m not familiar with Moi Animation, the Korean studio who worked on many critically acclaimed works that I have to admit not nothing enough about. What struck me was that some of the fight scenes weren’t that dynamic as I felt there were too many cuts leaving the audience member dazzled and sometimes confused.

I was particularly impressed with the cast once more in my DC Animated Universe Marathon and I felt Keri Russell (Wonder Woman), Alfred Molina (Ares), Nathan Fillion (Steve Trevor) Rosario Dawson (Artemis), Oliver Platt (Hades) and Virginia Madsen (Hippolyta) were a strong ensemble of talent. These actors really just absorbs their characters and you forget the voices behind them are established live action actors who are so familiar. Nathan Fillon fits into his role perfectly and his delivery in the most natural way, sharing a tremendous chemistry with Russell. 

Overall I enjoyed Wonder Woman (2009) very much and I was satisfied with the work that went into bringing this character to life. My only gripe would be the animation at times and some of the characters looked too similar and in particular on the Island of the Amazons. Ironically, the best part of the film was set here at the beginning of the film and I loved the origins part of the tale. It wasn’t forced or drawn out and felt enough to understand what the amazons were and how Diana’s story of a more innocent nature contrasting with the ways of the modern world  and this works to develop her character from a naive and contained princess into a true warrior and finally a hero. Wonder Woman (2009) is a typically 75 minute film by DC and if you are enjoying it, it feels too short. But in this instance I think the storyline was simple and it worked just well.

Recommendable.