Considering Green Lantern
Even though it is being filmed for a 2011 release, the upcoming Green Lantern movie is already creating some positive word of mouth (articles via screenrant.com)- so much so that there is even talk of a potential animated series.
If they do, just a suggestion - please use Green Lantern: First Flight as your template. Please consider it a "pilot film". Because everything about this - from production values to voice talent to writing - is a top notch production. In fact, it's one of the better DC Universe offerings.
Do a quick search for online reviews, and this animated movie will be described as a "Training Day in space"...and on some level, it's true. It's structured like a cop/buddy movie, but with a few differences....first, obviously, it involves power rings. But more importantly, it provides really alien-looking aliens (you've probably never seen Abin Sur look like this before), and more importantly, it has a slight grittiness in tone. Green Lantern: First Flight also has a very strong police procedural tone to it - instead of treating the GLC as, say, a paramilitary force, it's seen as more of a general peacekeeping and enforcement organization. It helps make First Flight a solid, watchable movie that provides a really unique take on a long-standing comic character. (Think more Law & Order: Green Lantern Corps than a science fiction version of Ed McBain's 87th precinct).
That L & O reference is really brought out by Christopher Meloni's voice work as Hal Jordan. Unlike his typical role, he doesn't have the opportunity to glower or snarl...and Jordan is portrayed pretty consistently to the way he is in the comics. Meloni also adds a slightly humbling sense of humor - check out the scene where the newly ringed Jordan is lectured by a Guardian about the Corps. It could have easily been played as defiant....but Meloni slightly underplays the voice, allowing a slight sense of humor to creep into the situation and turning it into one of the highlights. And admittedly, although I know Victor Garber more from Godspell than Alias, his Sinestro is pitch perfect - arrogant, assuming, bold, and turning in a strong performance. It's easy to see how (and why) Sinestro turns rogue in First Flight...and there's some nice subtle interplay between Garber and Meloni (who recorded their lines together in the same room).
But what really gives the movie a lift is that in the supporting vocal performances, Andrea Romano has stacked the deck - providing a cast of actors who seem to have a background in more solid, police-based dramas and comedies. Although there are too many individuals to mention in a single paragraph (but well worth checking out the IMDB entry for Green Lantern: First Flight ), their collective work makes an already strong script stronger. We see a diverse GLC, but more importantly, fan favorites get their day in the sun, both Ch'p (voiced by David Lander. Yes, that David Lander ). My personal highlight - Michael Madsen as Kilowog.
Let me repeat that - Michael Madsen . As Kilowog.
If that doesn't sell you on watching this disc, I don't know what will.
Finally, what also makes Green Lantern: First Flight distinctive....is that it has a pretty nice, non-canon origin for how the Green Lantern (and Sinestro) rings work. Granted, in this post-Blackest Night/Brightest Day DC universe, the explanation presented might seem rather unusual....but it helps the movie feel much more self-contained, taking place in its own universe without that pesky "canon" creeping in. (And the Green Lantern mythos....hoo, boy, there would be a lot to insert into this movie if they went forward in that direction). In this writer's not-so-humble opinion, this is one of the hidden gems of the DC Animated line - it hits all the high spots in terms of plot, of characterization, and in overall tone. If there is going to be an animated Green Lantern movie...I hope this is considered the pilot.
(Yes, that is a very bad pun. My apologies).
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