I would’ve bought this one pretty much no matter what, but when they cast Nathan Fillion as Hal that was just the 在星期天頂部的櫻桃.
Emerald Knights is a collection of stories about Green Lanterns, presented in the form of Arisia’s first day in the Green Lantern Corps. Hal does most of the talking, with Sinestro – still a Green Lantern in this narrative – dropping in with one of his own.
There are several stories ranging from awesome to okay, all tied together by the central story of some unimaginably bad universe-ending imminent catastrophe. You know, like something on Buffy. Honestly, the main story isn’t that great. But really, the idea of cosmos-threatening evil is portrayed well enough to move things along.
The first tale told might actually be the best. It is the story of the first four ring bearers and the first Green Lantern to create a construct.
Throughout the entire feature the animation is fantastic; very reminiscent of Heavy Metal but much cleaner. The alien worlds are diverse and really capture the sort of imaginings that went into creating the Green Lantern comics of the seventies and early eighties. The story of the first construct showcases everything that is awesome about the concept of Green Lanterns. You get to see an entire alien fleet obliterated by sheer, green willpower and a giant, mile-long sword cut a starship right in half.
As I’m writing this I realize that each story introduced a facet of being part of the Green Lantern Corps. The first story introduces the basics – wielding a ring and using your willpower and imagination to create constructs. I can’t remember where the second story was taken from, but I swear I remember reading it. It’s about Kilowog’s drill instructor – Deegan. It’s a fairly standard tale of someone learning to respect an authority figure, but this part basically explains Semper Fidelis in the context of outer space policemen.
Up to this point the only standouts among the actors are Nathan Fillion as Hal Jordan and Henry Rollins as Kilowog. I don’t know why they didn’t just go ahead and get R. Lee Ermey to play Deegan because the whole time you’re watching Kilowog’s story you’re just sitting there thinking, “Why isn’t this R. Lee Ermey?” Don’t get me wrong – the guy who does Deegan’s voice is great. The only thing going against him is that he isn’t R. Lee Ermey.
Next we get Laira’s story, which I don’t remember reading (doesn’t mean I didn’t). It’s probably my least favorite of the five, but is still pretty okay. The thrust is that sometimes you have to stand alone and be your own person or something. Honestly, I think my big problem with this one is that we have to sit and watch hand-to-hand combat not twenty minutes after watching a guy slice a starship in half. Laira has to go to her home planet and sort out the warlike douchebags that are in charge and just generally making life miserable for a whole bunch of people. Naturally, those douchebags are Laira’s family. It’s a good story, but when her misguided father – who is the king of the Empire of the Golden Dragon (I think) busts out some blades and is clearly ready to slice his own daughter into little bits; you kind of have to wonder why she generates a bo staff with her ring. I’m thinking the first story should have been fourth and this one should have been first. That would fix the whole, “Why isn’t she just obliterating this guy?” issue. And trust me – it’s not because he’s Daddy. They’re definitely fighting to the death at one point.
Next up, as the situation in the central story becomes more dire, we get Sinestro telling the story of he and his old pal Abin Sur apprehending Atrocitus. This story is awesome. I don’t want to say too much because I very strongly believe you need to just see it. The theme of this one is destiny, and how you must embrace it to be a great Green Lantern. Seriously, this one is really good. Also, Arnold Vosloo is fantastic as Abin Sur (to be fair, Arnold Vosloo is fantastic as anything) and whoever does Sinestro’s voice is even better than Mark Strong; and I’ve been thinking Mark Strong is outstanding.
Next it’s time to kick ass and chew bubblegum with none other than Rowdy Roddy Piper as Bolphunga the Unrelenting in what is probably one of the greatest casting choices of all time. Everybody loves “Mogo Doesn’t Socialize”, and this adaptation does it justice. Piper is awesome as Bolphunga and Fillion’s voice-over is great (as it is in the rest of the tales). Actually seeing this story come to life was awesome.
And then we get to the conclusion of the main story. It’s pretty epic and you’ll need your pause button to catch every Lantern that shows up for the final showdown.
All in all I think Emerald Knights would probably make a great introduction to somebody unfamiliar with the concept of the Green Lantern Corps, probably more so than 2009’s First Flight. At the very least Nathan Fillion makes a much better Hal Jordan than Christopher Meloni (sorry, Mr. Meloni – I’m still a huge fan). Everything is beautiful and easy to follow. I was playing with Lil’ Troublemaker the whole time and still had no trouble understanding what was going on or who was doing what and I barely remember all but two of the stories.
For the parents out there it’s worth noting that despite the PG rating, Emerald Knights has a bit of rough language. “Damn”, “Hell” and “Bastards” are all (unnecessarily) used, which surprised me. I usually screen DC’s animation before watching it with Lil’ Troublemaker, which means he hasn’t seen most of them. But a couple of the PG-13 ones are less abrasive than this one, which I watched with him for the first time because I thought the PG would be fine. Of course, given that you can use “Fuck” once and still get a PG-13, I can’t imagine what garners a PG.
I haven’t watched any of the special features yet, but apparently the preview of the forthcoming Batman: Year One is enough to dampen some trousers.
I say go ahead and grab this if you can still find it for under twenty bucks. I got the Blu-Ray/DVD/bullshit Digital Copy for $17.99 and it was well worth it.
4 out of 5 Space Fleets Being Decimated By Giant Green Items
Until next time, stay creepy