|Green Lantern: Emerald Knights|
Cover of the U.S. Blu-ray
|Produced by||Bruce Timm|
|Music by||Christopher Drake|
|Distributed by||Warner Home Video|
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is a direct-to-video animated superhero film that tells various stories featuring members of Green Lantern Corps, including Abin Sur, Laira, Kilowog, and Mogo. It was released on June 7, 2011. While not a direct sequel to First Flight, the film uses the same character designs and includes a cameo by Ch'p, who had a speaking role in the previous film.
It is the eleventh film released under the DC Universe Animated Original Movies banner. It is also the second DC Animated Movie following Batman: Gotham Knight to feature an anthology format, though unlike the latter, it features a single, uniform animation and visual style and an overall linking story. The film received mixed-to-positive reviews with many critics praising the animation, voice acting, and action sequences, but criticizing the story and characterization.
Two of the stories ("Mogo Doesn't Socialize" and "Abin Sur") were based on comic stories written by Alan Moore, who has a standing policy of not allowing his name to be used in the credits when his stories are adapted to other media. Although it uses the same name, it has no relation with the 1998 comic book Emerald Knights.
The sun of the Green Lantern homeworld, Oa, is becoming a gateway for Krona, an anti-matter alien overlord that once sought to destroy all life. As precaution the Guardians of the Universe decide to evacuate Oa of all valuables, such as the Central Battery. While in line to charge their rings before the Battery is taken away, Green Lantern Corps rookie Arisia Rrab converses with Hal Jordan and expresses her self doubts as the newest Green Lantern. In response, Hal tells her the story of the first Green Lantern:
The First Lantern
Avra, a humble scribe to the Guardians, was chosen by the final of the first four power rings despite having no skill or aptitude as a warrior. Avra and the other three original Green Lanterns, G'Hu, Wachet, and Blu, were immediately tasked with stopping the Dominators, an aggressive species which was invading solar system after solar system. Blu was the first Green Lantern killed in battle, whereupon with defeat apparently at hand Avra used his willpower and imagination as a writer to continue the fight: He created the first construct from his ring, a sword, which was used to wreak havoc amongst the alien war armada. Following Avra’s lead the other two Lanterns, G'Hu and Wachet, also created their own distinct power ring constructs, and the battle was won. The power to shape constructs from the power rings became standard operating procedure, and Avra rose in prestige among the growing Green Lantern Corps. After his death, Avra's ring was passed down and ultimately came into the possession of Abin Sur, who was then succeeded by Hal Jordan.
Back in line at the Central Battery, Hal and Arisia meet Kilowog, the head drill sergeant of the Green Lantern Corps. He antagonizes Arisia as a rookie, reminding her that she still has to attend boot camp. Hal tells Arisia not to fear Kilowog, and recounts the story of Kilowog's own trainer.
Sergeant Deegan trained the rookie Kilowog and others by removing their power rings and putting them in deadly settings such as a volcano about to erupt. Angrily, Kilowog confronted Deegan and accused him of employing a reckless training method and of having no value for the lives of his trainees. They briefly fought until Deegan was called to deploy with his recruits when a nearby planet came under attack by the Khunds, as they were the nearest Green Lanterns in the sector. Deegan purposefully dropped Kilowog’s ring before departing with the other recruits, and Kilowog picked it up. In the battle Deegan ordered the rookies to protect the refugees as he would deal with the invaders. As Kilowog caught up, Deegan was mortally wounded. Kilowog destroyed the army and went to Deegan's side. Deegan told Kilowog he never would have let his rookies die and that he did what was best for their training. He passed his authority to Kilowog, who completed the mission, thus ensuring his death was far from in vain.
Hal and Arisia arrive at a border patrol of the sun and await Krona's return. Arisia and other Lanterns hear a Delphic prophecy from a Lantern named Laira who is levitating in the Lotus position (about which she remarks "That was strange."), whereupon Hal shares Laira's own story:
Once a princess, Laira was sent on her first solo mission to her homeworld to deal with charges that her people were attacking the Khunds unprovoked. Standing in her way, Laira quickly defeated her father's mistress and her belittling brother. But when she faced her father she was saddened to learn that the recent war crimes were his own decision. He has been driven into rage and jealousy by the embarrassing loss of honor that Laira's ring chose her and not him when the Khunds attacked Jayd. After a brutal showdown, Laira was able to defeat her father who admitted she has truly earned her adulthood. He then committed ritual suicide to maintain his honor. He died in his tearful daughter's arms claiming that she was the true protector of Jayd, not him.
Back at the border patrol of Oa's sun, every Lantern extant has been called to await Krona's return, with the notable exception of Mogo. Hal explains who Mogo is and why he is not present:
Mogo Doesn't Socialize
Bolphunga the Unrelenting, a brutal warmonger, sought to fight and destroy all of the most powerful warriors in the universe. He was told, however, by his latest opponent (a volcanic being) that he would never defeat the Green Lantern Mogo. Bolphunga’s computer contained no data on Mogo save for his whereabouts on a mysterious green planet. Bolphunga spent weeks there tracking Mogo's plethora of power signatures, but never found the elusive Lantern. He then set explosives all over the planet in order to flush Mogo out, but was horrified when the planet extinguished all the bombs and Mogo was revealed to be the entire planet itself as one sapient being. He attempted to escape, but Mogo easily captured him.
At Oa's sun Hal and Arisia are attacked by Krona's Shadow Demons and rescued by Sinestro. Sinestro then speaks of the prophecy that Oa will be destroyed and relates a story of Abin Sur and the Lantern view on destiny:
Hal Jordan's predecessor Abin Sur fought Atrocitus, a maniacal alien criminal speaking dark prophecies. Abin Sur was assisted by Sinestro in capturing the alien. Sinestro and Abin Sur then had a conversation relating to the warnings that Atrocitus spoke of and Sinestro insisted that he did not believe in destiny. Parting ways, Abin Sur took the criminal to the prison planet Ysmault where Atrocitus again spoke on Abin Sur's imminent death. He also warned Abin that Sinestro would rise against the Green Lantern Corps and create his own lantern corps built on the power of fear. Abin Sur however refused to believe his friend would betray his Green Lantern duties and left Atrocitus imprisoned.
Krona finally arrives from the Oa Sun. All the Green Lanterns fight swarms of Shadow Demons as Krona, an enormous figure, rises from the sun. Many Green Lanterns are killed and all others fall back. It is Arisia who devises a plan: if Krona is made of anti-matter then an equal or greater amount of matter will destroy him on contact. The Green Lanterns fall behind the planet Oa and push it at Krona. Krona uses Shadow Demons to push back and the Corps finds itself stymied while taking casualties. However, Mogo the Living Planet arrives and uses its own mass and Lantern Power to assist his comrades. Oa and Krona are forced into the sun and both are destroyed. The prophecy of Oa's destruction is fulfilled, but Krona is destroyed and the Corps is saved.
Mogo volunteers to be the Corps' temporary base as they build a new Oa. Arisia is honored with an official entry into the Book of Oa for her heroic ingenuity, although she still has to report for Kilowog's training.
- Nathan Fillion as Hal Jordan /
- Elisabeth Moss as Arisia Rrab
- Jason Isaacs as Sinestro
- Henry Rollins as Kilowog
- Kelly Hu as Laira
- Roddy Piper as Bolphunga
- Arnold Vosloo as Abin Sur
- Tony Amendola as Kentor, Appa Ali Apsa (uncredited)
- Steven Blum as Kloba Vud, Palaqua (uncredited), Ranakar (uncredited), G'Hu (uncredited), Additional Voices
- Grey DeLisle as Ree'Yu, Ardakian Trawl (uncredited), Boodikka (uncredited)
- Michael Jackson as Ganthet
- Peter Jessop as Salaak
- David Kaufman as Rubyn
- Sunil Malhotra as Bolphunga's Ship
- Andrea Romano as Abin Sur's Ring, Deegan's Ring (uncredited)
- Jane Singer as Wachet
- James Arnold Taylor as Tomar-Re
- Bruce Thomas as Atrocitus
- Bruce Timm as Galius Zed (uncredited)
- Mitchell Whitfield as Avra
- Wade Williams as Deegan
- Gwendoline Yeo as Blu
In the animated series Young Justice, in the episode "War" of its second season, exactly the same designs used in the previous film First Flight and in Emerald Knights for the various alien races appearing were also used in the first scenes of the episode, which involves one of the Green Lanterns from Earth, John Stewart.
The movie has received a mostly mixed to positive reception. Joey Esposito of IGN praised the film's visuals, voice acting, and action sequences, but criticized its thin plot and characterization. Esposito felt that it was difficult to connect emotionally with the characters, and asserted that Emerald Knights was best watched by established fans of the Green Lantern comics series. In a review for DVD Talk, Jamie Rich also praised the animation and action sequences, while panning the film's storyline. Rich also recommended the film to "true Lantern fans" in particular. On the other hand, Alan Kistler of Newsarama called it "a solid feature [that] should be enjoyed by any Green Lantern fan, as well as anyone who knows nothing about the comic and wants to learn." Joseph Szadkowski of The Washington Times praised the design decisions made in the making of the movie and, specifically, called the fight between Laira and her father one of the best animated hand-to-hand combat sequences that he had ever seen.
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