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Green Lantern: First Flight (Blu-ray Review)

22 Jul, 2009 By: John Latchem

Green Lantern

Street 7/28/09
$19.98 DVD, $24.98 two-DVD set, $29.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of sci-fi action violence.
Voices of Christopher Meloni, Victor Garber, Tricia Helfer, Michael Madsen.

The latest DC Universe animated actioner will have Green Lantern fans giddy with excitement. First Flight offers a tight, fast-paced adventure that effectively embraces the spirit of the Green Lantern mythology.

The character has been one of the core heroes of DC Comics for 50 years but for some reason has never been the standalone focus of a movie or TV show. His appearances have mostly been relegated to supporting parts in animated series such as “Super Friends” and “Justice League.”

First Flight begins briefly with the origin story, as a dying alien named Abin Sur crashes on Earth and sends his magical ring to find a successor. It chooses hotshot test pilot Hal Jordan (Christopher Meloni of “Law & Order: SVU”) to carry on his mission. Jordan becomes a member of the Green Lantern Corps., an intergalactic force of peacekeepers powered by their trademark rings, which can bend energy into matter.

The origin is covered in a pre-credits sequence that lasts less than five minutes. Then it’s off on a sci-fi adventure that seems to owe more influence to the “Star Wars” saga than the superhero comics of yesteryear. Jordan is teamed with the best of the Corps., Sinestro (Victor Garber), who is growing tired of taking orders from the benevolent Guardians of the Universe.

The high energy of the script and colorful animation make this the best of the DC Universe movies so far (though none of the performances tops Nathan Fillion’s romp in Wonder Woman). The only real flaw deals with the backstory of the Corps., and why the only weakness with the green rings is the color yellow.

In contrast to the general high quality of the movie, the extras seem rather lackluster. The DVD includes some analysis of the Green Lantern character, but these featurettes feel more like overly long plugs for various comic book projects. The Blu-ray has “I Am the Ring,” an exclusive 22-minute documentary publicized to be about the symbolism of “the ring” in literature, but it’s actually more about the mythology of any artifact that imbues fortune and glory to the hero who wields it, with clips that all come from Warner-owned movies.

There’s also a mini-library of Lantern-centric episodes from “Justice League Unlimited” (which is one of the best superhero cartoons ever), and an amusing “Duck Dodgers” tribute.

The debut of First Flight comes as Warner tries to get movies not based on Superman or Batman off the ground. Recent news that Ryan Reynolds would play the part in a live-action adaptation seems to indicate the time is right for Green Lantern to claim his share of the spotlight.

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