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September 2011

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights

voice cast: Nathan Fillion, Jason Isaacs, Elisabeth Moss, Henry Rollins, and Arnold Vosloo

directors: Chris Berkeley, Lauren Montgomery, and Jay Oliva

82 minutes (12) 2010
widescreen ratio 1.78:1
Warner blu-ray region B

RATING: 5/10
review by Christopher Geary

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights

Like the Jedi knights of Star Wars that followed in their wake, the space warriors of the 'Green Lantern' corps (which launched in 1959), were partly inspired by the pulp sci-fi adventures of E.E. 'Doc' Smith's classic Lensmen series (1934-50). Still a rarity among superhero comic books, the Green Lantern is a cosmic adventurer and a 'star cop' of intergalactic justice, a brand-name of righteousness, and yet still a tactically independent and generally autonomous space warrior, created by the lantern corps' strategic leadership, known as the Guardians of the Universe.

GLC's champion from Earth is former test-pilot, Hal Jordan (Nathan Fillion, Firefly, Serenity, TV show Castle), whose origin and induction into the lantern corps is told in Martin Campbell's live-action movie Green Lantern, where Ryan Reynolds plays the eponymous superhero.

In this particular offshoot from the DC franchise though, the main storyline - concerning a menace from another dimension which threatens universal Armageddon - inter-cuts with flashback tributes recounting legendary tales of GLC history. Wisely, the animators draw upon sterling work a team of writers, including Dave Gibbons, Geoff Johns, and Alan Burnett. "I'll tell you about the time I took on an army of manhunters and my only backup was this squirrel."

We learn about 'Bolphunga the unrelenting' (Roddy Piper), a particularly destructive villain, who goes hunting for a mysterious Green Lantern named Mogo (a fearsomely mighty hero 'who does not socialise'), and scours an entire alien world, but finds not a hint of Mogo's presence, until poor unfortunate Bolph discovers - too late - that, in a sly nod to Solaris, Mogo is the whole living planet.

Overlooking the retcon tendencies that may perturb some viewers familiar with other chronologies or, indeed, narrative templates, Emerald Knights is certainly a watchable anthology style cartoon movie but I can't help thinking that full use of 3D CGI (as showcased in several recent anime features), instead of traditional 2D cell animation, would make this material far more appealing to 21st century viewers.



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