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Early Review: Green Lantern: Emerald Knights Blu-ray

Why this animated feature is the perfect complement to the upcoming live action Green Lantern movie.

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Just in time for his live-action theatrical debut, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights arrives in stores on Blu-ray (as well as DVD, On Demand and Digital Download) on June 7, 2011. This is the next entry in the ongoing DC Universe Animated Original Movies. That means, you have an idea of what to expect.

The story deals with the Green Lantern Corps dealing with and preparing for an attack by an ancient enemy, Krona. Krona has been a major thorn in the side of the GL Corps in the current stories so it's great to see that tight of a connection between the comics and this movie.

The focus of the movie is in dealing with Hal Jordan mentoring a new recruit Arisia. This allows for the set up of the movie. Arisia is told of the history of the Corps, including tales of Avra (the first Green Lantern) as well as others including Kilowog, Sinestro, Abin Sur, Laira and Mogo.

The movie stars Nathan Fillion as Hal, Elisabeth Moss as Arisia, Henry Rollins as Kilowog, Jason Isaacs as Sinestro, Kelly Hu as Laira, Arnold Vosloo as Abin Sur, Wade Williams as Deegan and legendary professional wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper as Bolphunga.

Besides having Bruce Timm as the executive producer, we have Lauren Montgomery, Jay Oliva and Christopher Berkeley as directors. If you're concerned about the writing, the movie's stories are written by Geoff Johns, Dave Gibbons, Peter J. Tomasi, Eddie Berganza, Alan Burnett, Todd Casey, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim. It's pretty safe to say they know what they're writing about.

That all sounds great, right? What about the movie itself?

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The first thing you'll notice is the colors. It might not make a huge difference but this is why I love the Blu-ray format so much. Everything is so vibrant (but I didn't compare it to the DVD version). The opening is a little brutal. My seven-year old daughter said, "This doesn't make me want to watch this." But of course she did watch the entire movie, completely engrossed. Surprisingly, the movie is only rated PG.

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There isn't a clear explanation of who or what the Corps is about at the beginning so that might be a little weird for new viewers but it does go well into the history. For those familiar with the comics, Hal and Sinestro are Green Lanterns. Hal seems to be a veteran member as he's mentoring new recruit Arisia. Minor changes that should not be a problem to live with. There are some great character designs and I was pleasantly surprised that the rings did not resemble the live action movie version.

The mini-stories serve to inform Arisia (and us) on the history of the Corps. It was great seeing Kilowog's drill instructor which gave great insight into his character. (Kilowog is now my daughter's favorite Lantern). Laira's story was great as well. My daughter was a little shocked in seeing what her fate is in one of the Special Features (I'll get to those in a minute). Seeing a Mojo story as well as Abin Sur and Atrocitus helped make this movie even better than I thought it would be. I had feared the mini-story format but all worked perfectly (don't tell the Guardians I showed some fear). Some of voices were a little off. I thought Sinestro sounded a little like a younger Obi-Wan and some of the aliens sounded weird but there really isn't much to complain about.

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What about the Special Features?

Of course there is the highly anticipated Batman: Year One Sneak Peek. Running at nearly eleven minutes, we get to hear from the voice actors as well as Bruce Timm. Timm wanted it to be a true adaptation and it will be translated almost word for word.

Other features include:

  • Only the Bravest" Tales of the Green Lantern Corps (31:51)
  • Why Green Lantern Matters: The Talent of Geoff Johns (18:11)
  • Bruce Timm's Picks (from Batman: The Brave and the Bold)
  • From Comic Book to Screen: Abin Sur (3:11)
  • Beautiful...But Deadly: From Comic Book to Screen: Laira Omoto (3:52)
  • Virtual Comic Book (Green Lantern: Rebirth #1)

It's a great release. As a big Green Lantern fan, I can't help but be overjoyed with the attention GL is getting. What makes it better is this is such a high quality production. DC and Warner Bros. have been doing a great job with these animated originals and including actual comic book/Green Lantern writers shows major respect to the franchise and comic book fans.

Here are some more screen caps to further entice you.