It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of movies from the 80s. Someone far more familiar with the medium than I could write a whole book on how weird and wild the movies of that era were, especially the ones aimed at kids. Looking back you have this great mix of super surfacey action films, dark sci-fi and kid adventure movies plus so much more. Many might look back and snicker at the movies of that era, but not everyone. In fact, I watched two recent movies that could fit right in with some of my favorites, which is why I’m talking about Big Game and Turbo Kid together and hope you watch them back to back!
As luck would have it, on the same day that my Blackest Night theory was confirmed, we got the animated Green Lantern: First Flight DVD and watched it. And I liked it, a lot. I haven’t seen Wonder Woman yet, but GL was far better than all the other animated movies I’ve seen from both DC and Marvel.
But, of course, I have a few fanboy complaints that I’d like to get out of my system right off the bat. I have no problem that they didn’t get into the emotional spectrum and only briefly mentioned how yellow and green are opposing colors, but I thought it was kind of strange that, given that, the floating cities on Oa were yellow. This is pretty picky, but it bothered me (to be SUPER picky, the planet Oa was red). There was a ton of yellow in the movie actually that seemingly had no effect which is why I was surprised when they got into the yellow vs. green stuff later on.
This might dip into SPOILER territory, but I didn’t understand why Sinestro, once he got the yellow ring, had the Sinestro Corps symbol on his chest, but the yellow battery and his ring had the Green Lantern symbol (what’s even weirder is that the actual Green Lantern power battery did not have that symbol).
Okay, fanboy bitching aside, this movie was rad. Within five minutes of the movie beginning Hal Jordan has received the ring from Abin Sur and, soon, he’s approached by a cache of GLs including Kilowog, Boodika and Tomar-Re. After that he’s off-planet on Oa getting hassled by the Guardians (who are more dottering old guys than omnipotent schemers) for being human and not worthy of the ring (we don’t ever get told how the rings are divvied up). Sinestro offers to back him and the two of them go off in search of Kanjar Ro. We get hints of Sinestro’s crazy strictness and desire for order and then the story flips to a GLs vs. Sinestro while Hal’s ring has been stripped away for reason I don’t want to spoil. So, there’s kind of an Iron Man like set-up at the end (depowered hero fighting fully functional villain and still winning), but I thought it was done a lot better.
I was also surprised at how adult the movie was even though it’s rated PG-13. I mean there’s not hardcore sex (or any sex actually) and head splattering violence, but there are a few swears and one particular death towards the end that reminded me of that dude getting “screwed to death” in Jason X. I was shocked by that one actually. There’s even some neck snaps and all that. SPOILER. The final battle itself doesn’t exactly get bloody, but there are literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of implied GL deaths due to suffocation in space. Yeesh.
For GL fans, the movie doesn’t quite get into the specific details that Geoff Johns gets into in Rebirth (like how Kilowog’s constructs are the only ones that make a sound), but we do get great characterizations of all the characters (though Boodika fans will probably not like how she’s portrayed either visually or her character). And a huge part of the characterization is thanks to the voice actors. I especially love Victor Garber as Sinestro. He’s the dad in Alias and plays a somewhat similar character (I think they even based aspects of Sinestro’s face on Garber as I could literally see him). I also really dug Michael Madsen as Kilowog, though it’s not a casting choice I would have ever thought of. The biggest head scratcher for me, though was John Larroquette as Tomar-Re. It’s a pretty small part and Larroquette’s a fairly big deal, so I wonder how he got involved in the project. Maybe he’s a big fan?
An interesting note about the aliens is that they actually changed a lot of their looks. Abin Sur has chin horns, the Weaopners of Qward are spider-like (maybe a Spider Guild reference?) and Kanjar Ro has a squidish look. I was scratching my head about this changes when I realized that, in the comics, those are all just regular looking dudes who happen to be pink. The redesigns end up looking pretty cool and the artists seem to have had a ton of fun creating all kinds of new ones to throw in the background.
There’s been a lot of talk about getting a Sinestro Corps War animated movie (in fact, I’ve written at least two wish list-style bits on the subject myself for ToyFare and Wizard) and I think this might be a pretty good set up. By the end of First Flight you’ve got a status quo that could easily lead into a stripped-down version of SCW that would work pretty well. My finger’s are crossed.
Also of note, there’s a special feature on the DVD where Dan DiDio, Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi all talk about Blackest Night. Johns actually explains an aspect of the Black Lanterns in it that has been hinted at, but not full stated in the series so far. SPOILER? So, you know the scenes where the BLs see which emotion their targets are giving off? Well, apparently, they actually feed off of that energy and the more there is the more powerful they become. Cool, right? I was wondering when they were going to get around to explaining why they kept analyzing peoples’ placement on the emotional spectrum (this may have been explained in another interview somewhere, but I’ve been keeping away because I don’t want anything spoiled).