Saturday, November 12, 2011

Taste the rainbow

I really want to like the new Green Lantern animated series. I had hoped to see more of Hal Jordan and his "civilian" supporting cast, which I thought would be possible with a series focusing on one character.

However, DC Animation obviously feels that teams are what pays the rent these days. That, and a desire to attract younger viewers, would be why they chose a hero who comes with 3599 dressalike teammates and a full spectrum of color-coded bad guys. We only meet three Red Lanterns in this episode, but you know the other colors have to be in the wings. And any Green Lantern series that doesn't include Star Sapphire should turn in its power rings.

Another decision I'm not crazy about was to pull a Star Trek Voyager on Hal and Kilowog, stranding them 18 months'  travel time back to Oa at whatever the ring's top speed is, vs 9+ months to repair the warp drive: Either way, It guarantees we won't be seeing any familiar faces unless their backstories are significantly rewritten. Or unless the Guardians had more than one of those experimental starships.

But it does cut down on the number of dressalike teammates we're likely to encounter. And I liked Batman: Brave and the Bold. So maybe this could work. I found myself liking this man, this Hal Jordan who seduces an AI navigational system. Hal, have you met Jim Kirk? I'll bet you would get along famously. Kilowog sure isn't Spock, though.

Actually, characterization is pretty consistent with the comics, as I've come to expect with Timm/Dini DC shows. There's a reason these comic books have lasted as long as they have, and the producers have wisely chosen to keep a lot of it.

Which still leaves two really big problems. One, SPOILER ALERT, is the fact that the Big Damn Green Heroes... lose. This setup wasn't content to put Hal and Kilowog umpteen kessel runs away from anything familiar: We spent an hour (less interminable commercials) getting invested in our three ringslingers and drumming up a serviceable bit of "how are they going to get out of this one", only to discover that they don't get out of it. Another Green Lantern dead, and the planet he rode in on destroyed. Most of the people were relocated successfully, including our casualty's wife and child, on a completely new planet with nothing but the shirts on their backs. I mean, thanks for not letting us all die, but you couldn't have just moved the bomb? There's a lot of unapologetic onscreen death and destruction in Green Lantern.

The other really big problem is CG animation. I was hoping that once I saw it in extended action, it would grow on me. It didn't: I felt like I was watching someone play a video game. Give me old-fashioned hand-drawn cel animation every time.

1 comment:

Rafa Rivas said...

The CGI and the setting are a bad idea. I like the space opera angle, but ony for some episodes. I'd prefer the classic rogues gallery. The animation ruins Bruce Timm's designs.

We woudn't have Hal without Geoff, and I thank him for that, but I really hate everythig he addded to the mythos. Rainbow lanterns is a really lame idea.

I loved the early issues of Green Lantern Corps, though. I wouldn't mind seeing situations from that run in the show.