‘Green Lantern: The Animated Series’ Premiere Review

Published 2 years ago by

green lantern the animated series clips Green Lantern: The Animated Series Premiere Review

Cartoon Network has given fans a glimpse at the new Green Lantern: The Animated Series in a special hour-long episode that sets up the overall concept and provides an opportunity for the network to show off the slick, CG animated style of the show. While DC has normally done well by its heroes in the animated arena, Green Lantern: The Animated Series doesn’t quite live up to one series it is clearly attempting to follow.

Like the similarly titled Batman: The Animated Series, Green Lantern: TAS is being launched with a feature film still relatively fresh in the minds of its intended audience. After the critical drubbing and underwhelming financial gains of the Green Lantern movie, however, the world beyond the comic book pages has begun to look unduly harsh for the Emerald Knight.

To set this right, Green Lantern: The Animated Series intriguingly begins not with Hal Jordan or any sort of unnecessary exposition into the Green Lantern mythos, but by first introducing the audience to a relatively new faction of the overall GL universe: the Red Lanterns. This recent expansion of the Lantern color wheel – which was previously limited to green and yellow – has helped define the Green Lantern characters by the emotion associated with that lantern’s hue. For instance: green (willpower), yellow (fear), red (rage), orange (avarice), indigo (compassion), violet (love), black (death) and white (life).

In starting the episode with these newer Lanterns – Razer and Zilius Zox, to be specific – Green Lantern: The Animated Series is telling the audience that this will not be a simple rehash of the feature film – but instead it will be a far more expansive experience, akin to the direction writer/DC Entertainment executive Geoff Johns has taken the characters in the various GL books over the past few years.

Like the story-arcs seen in the books, there are hints of larger forces at play as Razer and Zilius Zox (basically a toothier version of Marvel’s MODOK) bait and kill a distant galaxy’s Green Lantern. Before we are allowed to learn more of the nefarious plot, however, the focus quickly switches to hot-shot pilot Hal Jordan and the only time we see him on earth. After setting up an unrequited romance with Carol Ferris, Hal is summoned to a strangely unpopulated Oa by Ganthet and the other Guardians. While answering to the Guardians for his unorthodox methods, Hal learns of the fallen Green Lantern and demands action be taken. Unfortunately, Hal and Kilowog are informed that even at full speed, it would take them 18 months to reach the sector where the murder(s) occurred.

Green Lantern Animated Series Red Lanterns 570x320 Green Lantern: The Animated Series Premiere Review

Red Lanterns: Razer and Zilius Zox

As soon as they commandeer (at the unspoken suggestion of Ganthet) a prototype spacecraft that Hal dubs Aya, he and Kilowog are off, basically setting up what appears to be the initial story arc of the show: Hal and Kilowog stranded light-years from Oa (or earth, for that matter) doing battle with the incredibly powerful and dangerous Red Lanterns.

The singular focus guarantees that Green Lantern: TAS will take place where the series belongs – which is space, not earth – and will give a serialized feel to the overall story. It also works in the series’ favor the same way limiting Batman’s world to that of Gotham in Batman: The Animated Series made that series feel unique. Instead of providing the program with the entirety of the DCU (like Young Justice), Green Lantern: TAS will likely play solely with Green Lantern characters, which will hopefully translate into better Green Lantern stories. The downside to this means it may be a while before we get to see other characters like John Stewart, Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner, or the conspicuously absent Sinestro and Tomar Re.

Tonally, Green Lantern: The Animated Series resembles Batman: The Animated Series more than any other DCU animated series has since that series ended. With Bruce Timm working on both, it’s no wonder. Right off the bat (no pun intended), GL: TAS sets the tone with the off-screen death of a Green Lantern – telling the audience that there will be life-and-death consequences to the action that is expected of superhero program.

What the series fails to do, however, is give those consequences the kind of emphasis that would help shape the series as a whole and make the impact of such loss more than just a plot device. As it stands, ‘Beware My Power: Part 1 & 2’ takes a somewhat cavalier approach to violence with the aforementioned Green Lantern deaths, and, more disappointingly, the obliteration of an entire planet and (seemingly) its occupants – after which, Hal’s reaction is to beat a somewhat conflicted villain into submission with a giant green fist. Unfortunately, the notion of sentiment was brushed aside in favor of yet another battle sequence.

Sure, Green Lantern: The Animated Series is a cartoon intended to appeal to the interests of a younger crowd, but so was Batman: TAS.  Given the talent and effort involved in bringing this series to life, it seems that more emulation of the superlative storytelling aspects of Batman should be present in Green Lantern.

Additionally, recognizing that this is a cartoon means we must discuss the animation style.

Given the uproar Ryan Reynolds’ CGI costume caused, the all-CG animation style of the series seemed risky, at first. After viewing the first two episodes, however, the intent and functionality of the animation style is clear – but just like the negative aspects of the feature film, the end product feels unfinished.

Green Lantern Animated Series Hal Ring Blast 570x320 Green Lantern: The Animated Series Premiere Review

On one hand, using CG does make the light-emitting aspects of the Lanterns’ rings and constructs more vibrant and exciting. On the other hand, the ultra-smooth texturing and seeming lack of shadow anywhere in the universe has the awkward effect of making all the characters look like an overly-illuminated maquette dropped inside a rather rudimentary diorama. There is no sense of impact or true physicality with any of the characters or environments –  felt in similarly-animated programs like Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Hopefully, as the series progresses, the animation style will begin to feel more natural and actually aid in telling this space-faring tale, instead of acting as detraction from it.

When all is said and done, 2011 certainly wasn’t the kind of auspicious year DC comics and Warner Bros. were looking for with stalwart hero Green Lantern. Thankfully, Green Lantern: The Animated Series doesn’t actually being airing weekly until spring of 2012, as part of Cartoon Network’s DC Nation block of animated programs. Maybe by that time the expectations will have died down and the series will be looked at as a welcome addition to Cartoon Network’s line-up, instead of an unpleasant reminder of a missed opportunity.

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Green Lantern: The Animated Series is expected to air on Cartoon Network in spring of 2012.

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  1. I really enjoyed the show last night. I will disagree with the death of the two lanterns in the episode. I thought the first one did set the tone for the rest of the show but the second one seemed more emotional, after we were introduced to the GL’s family. Which is what I think caused Hal to go off like he did, hinting at his inability at times to control/overcome fear and deal with the harsh realities of life.

    I thought I wouldn’t like the animation but surprisingly, I wasn’t put off by it. I really do look forward to this. Cartoon Network is stepping it up with its shows: Young Justice, Green Lantern, and Thundercats.

    • I do not like the computer graphics. Total eye sore. YUCK.

  2. I likes the show, even though I’m not really into galactic stories (Besides the Star Wars films). I haven’t read a lot of the newer Green Lantern stories with all the other different Lantern corps, so this is really a chance for me to learn as the show goes along.

    When I first saw the promo for the show I was not found of the animation at all. Once I began watching the show though I found myself not even noticing it. It’s different but it works for what it is.

    Storylines I do hope to see eventually are Carol Ferris turning into Star Sapphire, the introduction of Guy, John, and Kyle. I’d also like to see an episode or two with Green Arrow, to show their friendship.

  3. What about the introduction of alan scott, the first human green lantern?

    • I don’t think he’ll get involved since his ring is based on magic and not willpower or linked to the central battery of OA.

    • Alan Scott was not the “first” Green Lantern in regards to the Guardians creation of the Corps. Scott is a supernatural GL and not a cosmic one. His story is a completely different trilogy all to it’s self. He could be perhaps introduced into the series, but he is not the first GL in regards to the corps as most know it.

  4. They should have tried hand drawn animation with cgi constructs.

  5. The fact that it is CGI is the reason I was put off. I waited for a review and can safely say that I will give it a shot.

  6. you forgot the color blue which represents hope and belongs to the blue lanterns

  7. It’s not bad, something I CANNOT say for the interspersed “DC UNIVERSE” cameo “humorous” intermission blurbs. Those really sucked, they weren’t in the slightest bit funny.

  8. i really enjoyed the show, I thought the animation was very slick. comparing it to batman tas is wrong though we can’t expect every show to live up to it because it was more than likely a once in a lifetime deal. I for one am hoping that DC keeps putting out shows as good as this and young justice

  9. I really dislike the CGI animation…
    Why couldn’t they have gone with the classic look? (2D-animation)

    Honestly, I don’t really care much for this show (it looks boring and senseless) — BUT, as they say, “you can’t knock it till you tried it”, so that said, I’ll try to watch it as soon as possible and then form a more reasoned opinion.

    Until then: I WANT AVENGERS: EMH! GIVE ME AVENGERS! — I’m tired of watching reruns of season 1 :(

  10. I agree with the animation shortcomings (would it REALLY kill them to add just one more level of texturing?) but still enjoyed it.

    My only concern is they spend ALL their time battling the Red Lanterns. Could get stagnant facing off against the same enemy group time and time again. I want to see Sinestro’s fall from grace and the creation of the Yellow Lanterns (done correctly this time though). Would also like to see the origins of the other colors of the spectrum at some point.

  11. Just watched the premiere.
    Aside from Hal and Kilowog essentially being trapped on their own in the Frontier area of the universe (would have like Salakk to be there too), the series shows promise.
    As for the CGI, I could care less. The 2D animated minions made the same complaints when the new Clone Wars debuted, and that series is still going strong.
    Story lines make or break a series. Not the animation or style

    • Sooooo, if they did the characters as stick figures (like OOTS) that would be ok as long as the story was strong???

      While I agree the story should come first, lets not kid ourselves into believing that the animation style has zero impact on things.

  12. Who provided the voices ?
    Any wellknown actors ?
    Just curious.

  13. “Right off the bat.” Genius! :)

    Looking forward to this TAS. I love the other two.

  14. It was cool. I enjoyed the movie but it should’ve been more like this, I mean the action scenes here were awesome and Im pretty sure it was more than what the entire movie had.

    Hey, if they ever do make a sequel get Bruce Timm onboard as a production designer or something.

  15. Tehe I enjoyed Killowog explaining why hal jordan wears his mask even in space! so funny

  16. Everything looks great but I really can’t stand the animation. It’s really getting in the way of me trying out this series. I have no issues with story and direction since I have faith in Bruce Timm in that aspect. Pretty much every animation he’s been a part of I love.

    I prefer 2D though. It just looks like Bruce Timm’s animation style doesn’t translate well into CG. One of the reasons I never watched clone wars was the animation style + the cg animation added later on in the seasons. It could have the best story in the world but if I can’t get that initial interest visually to hook me onto it I can’t watch it.

  17. I thought the premiere was pretty great. Could the script have a little more polish? sure. But I thought they hit the notes right for the character – and it was big, bold and actually darker than i expected. The climactic moment at the end was actually a surprise to me.

    Animation style, i think it works – it feel like the Incredibles meets Batman: TAS, which are two of my favorite things. Just hope the scripts continue to evolve and this could be a great show.

  18. Whoever the digital supervisor and art director are, they should be replaced. It looks like little toys running around in an environment made by a little kid.

  19. Nice review, I do think there was some bad with the good, but overall I’m just glad there is a Green Lantern TV show of any kind! Check our full review with the video below:

  20. The animation is great, and I enjoyed the story set up, and I’m saying this as a 30 year old who grew up on 14 years of DCAU, from Batman to Superman to JLU.

    And everyone needs to seriously lay off the movie, as a long time GL fan, I enjoyed it thoroughly (Especially The Sinestro & Scar stuff)

  21. This show was nominated for two Annies (one for Best General Audience Animated TV Production, and Music in a Television Production). I want to believe the reason why they chose CG and this type of animation style was because of the success that Cartoon Network was having with the “Star Wars: Clone Wars” series (specifically with young boys and the desire to capture that specific audience (as to why it is aired on Saturday mornings). For those of you who can not get this series where you are, you can purchase episodes or the entire season at the Apple Itunes Store or a service like Cinema Now ($1.99 per episode or $50 for the entire season). I myself think that they are taking a smart approach in making this series have a Star Trek like feel whit a star craft as their theater while in space and transition planet side for some of the action scenes. The introduction of familiar characters from the comics during the series is not only an Ester Egg to fans, but a set up for a bigger plot line to come should the series get picked up for a second season. From the looks of it before the season is over, we may get to see appearances of the likes of characters like the Hawkmen, Arisia Rabb, and (dare I say) Parallax. This is a good series now and will turn out to be a classic by seasons end. I would certainly hope that it get picked up for a second season, but unfortunately it may not be part of the DC Nation block (it seem that “Beware the Batman” will be there instead).

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