Directed by Sam Liu and Rick Morales
Starring Josh Keaton, Kevin Michael Richardson, Grey DeLisle, and Jason Spisak
The “Rise of the Red Lanterns” story arc focuses on Green Lanterns human pilot Hal Jordon and hulking pink alien Kilowag traversing far off planets as they investigate and combat against the emerging threat of the oppressive Red Lanterns. Right there, the show fixes one of the problems the live-action film has, which is to take it off Earth, although I think a balance needs to be struck with some Earth adventures, which will probably be fixed in later episodes. We get to see the Green Lanterns actually be space cops. Just as much of the show, if not more, features Hal and Kilowag dealing with extraterrestrial problems that don’t deal with the Red Lanterns.
The series does a good job exploring and reinventing some of the standard Green Lantern mythos. The series takes reasonable liberties introducing other Green Lanterns and more alien species that DC fans will be sure to enjoy. Viewers get to see more of the color spectrum than the usual Green Lantern green and Sinestro yellow. I’m glad the series keeps away from the easy villains of Sinestro and Parallax, although I’m sure the series is even gladder after the film.
The acting is all well done. Josh Keaton and Kevin Michael Richardson pull off a great Hal and Kilowag respectively. The character of Red Lantern Razor (Josh Spisak) is acted well, but I find his sort of newbie character cliché he feeels tired, the reformed bad guy looking for redemption and begrudgingly opening to the good guys’ ways. The computer Aya (Grey Delisle) is a more interesting computer program with sentience trying to fit in, and that fits better with me but could also be tired to others.
The series has a few slower points in the middle going towards the end, as it revisits and emphasizes elements from its earlier episodes. It also lacks a sense of suspense, the characters don’t feel as in too much trouble, but this does add to the excitement on those moments where they do (usually when facing Atrocitus).
All together, Green Lantern: The Animated Series is off to a decent start. As the show moves away from the movie and can play with more of the Green Lantern canon, I’m sure it’ll be more fun. The one thing I missed from the show is more Earth Green Lanterns. From what I hear, Guy Gardner is showing up in part two, so here’s to that.
The Video and Audio
The video is presented in a matted widescreen format to maintain its broadcast aspect ratio, yet also enhanced for widescreen TVs, so what you saw on Cartoon Network may be what you see here.
The CGI animation unfortunately isn’t all that much to look at. The character and background designs are simple, and while some are pretty interesting and unique, others come off as bland and empty, particularly the scenery. Hal himself looks like the classic Bruce Timm character style from his work in the Batman, Superman, and Justice League animated series in the ‘90s and ‘00s, and I don’t think it looks as well in CGI as in 2-D. Adding to this is some occasionally jerky movements, which overall gives the show a cheap feel, which is still well transferred to disc, so while it may look cheap, at least it’s clean.
The series audio and subtitles come in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and I believe Thai. The reason for the uncertainty? The box only lists English and Spanish, and I don’t understand the alphabet used to spell out the Thai language option, if that is indeed it. Sounds enough like Ong Bak though.
The audio is easily understood and comes through clearly. The soundtrack does a good job setting the theme of this epic space journey, especially the main opening theme.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The two-disc set comes in a standard DVD case. The only extra is Green Lantern: The Animated Series #0 in digital comic form. It plays a page at a time, then each individual panel before moving on to the next page. It’s more trouble than it’s worth on any screen 20 inches or smaller.
Overall (Not an Average)
The series is just starting, and this is an early release. I like where the show is going, and I want to see more. With its weak selection of bonuses, this isn’t the release for collectors of DC animated works, of which there are plenty. It will be fine for kids to go through, or to watch while waiting for the second part of season one to finish and a complete season set with more bells and whistles is released.
The Series 7/10
The Video and Audio 6/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 3/10
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10