Home > Movies, Reviews > Sinestro Isn’t Just A Name, It’s A Way Of Life

Sinestro Isn’t Just A Name, It’s A Way Of Life

green-lantern-first-flight-dvd-coverDC Comics have a surprisingly good track record with adapting their comics and characters into animation, from the critically acclaimed, Emmy-Award winning Batman: The Animated Series in the 1990s through Justice League (and its follow-up/sequel/final seasons in its “unlimited” form), anime-influenced Teen Titans and even the short-lived Static Shock.

It’s commonly understood that many of DC’s animated series are intertextual and share continuity: there have been several crossover episodes, most of them through the aforementioned Justice League, Batman: TAS, Superman, Batman Beyond (or Batman Of The Future in some markets.) Most of these have been produced, written, designed or at the very least influenced by Bruce Timm. In 2006, production was started on a series of animated movies or DC Universe Original Animated Movies, which feature further stories from the shared universe. The latest release, Green Lantern: First Flight tells the story of Hal Jordan, the first human Green Lantern and, in many ways, the most popular character to hold the title.

hal

Hal’s origins in the movie are brief and to-the-point: although referenced throughout the film (and forming a solid part of the plot), he’s wearing the Green Lantern costume before the opening titles roll, with Abin Sur, member of an intergalactic police force, crashing to Earth and choosing Jordan as his successor. As Jordan gets accustomed to his powers, several other Green Lanterns appear on Earth, led by Sinestro, to summon Jordan to a meeting on the planet of Oa, where the blue-skinned Guardians will assess his suitability to wear a power ring and hold the Green Lantern title. In a test of his abilities, Jordan is placed under the care of the Sinestro and the two set out to find the person responsible for Abin Sur’s death.

As anyone who’s ever dipped into the DC universe can guess, the story uncovers a deep-rooted traitor in the ranks of the Green Lantern Corps who sets out to exploit their weakness to the colour yellow and, ultimately, to impose his own brand of justice on the universe.

With the majority of the film set in the depths of space, Green Lantern: First Flight is unusual for a superhero origin: rather than waxing lyrical about the dichotomies of strength and responsibility, the film makes use of the setting to provide some impressive deep-space action sequences making full use of the power rings’ strengths and leaving little chance for Hal Jordan to grow, except to face the same trials most people come up against on their first day in a new job.

Compared with some of the other DC features, GL:FF comes across a little bit weak. The animation never quite makes use of the epic and unusual potential of deep-space, and while there are plenty of alien-looking Green Lanterns, most of them fade into the background. As often happens with the Green Lantern, some of the power rings’ constructs are a bit…well, silly (keep an eye out for a fly-swatter, complete with “pest control problem” joke, rapidly followed by a large boot.) Thankfully, when doing this, the film doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it lacks the wit and charm that comes so easily to Lex Luthor in Superman: Doomsday.

With voices provided by Christopher Meloni as Hal Jordan (better known from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), Victor Garber (as Sinestro) and Michael Madsen (as Kilowogg), the film impressively breathes life into these classic characters, but forgets the golden rule that deep-space action needs an emotional heart, a heart that Jordan alone can’t provide and the characters that care for him back home are quickly forgotten about.

sin-7Green Lantern: First Flight is by no means a poor offering, though, giving a suitable taste of what the DC Universe Original Animated Movies are all about, and it will whet many an appetite for those who want to dip into the universe. But if you’ve already sampled what the series has to offer, you might end up going back to the first movie you watched to remind yourself how good it could be.

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Green Lantern: First Flight is available now on Region 1 DVD and Blu-Ray.

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  1. July 31, 2009 at 1:24 AM

    This is a great review but I have to say that it’s your best title so far.

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