|Green Lantern: Emerald Knights|
|Edited by||Margaret Hou|
|Music by||Christopher Drake|
|Distributed by||Warner Home Video|
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is a 2011 American 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. Animation was outsourced to Studio 4°C, JM Animation and Studio Pierrot. 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.
Despite the film featuring a standalone story, Nathan Fillion would later reprise the Green Lantern role in several DC films, particularly the DC Animated Movie Universe.
The sun of the Green Lanterns' homeworld, Oa, is becoming a gateway for Krona, an anti-matter alien that once sought to destroy all life. The Guardians of the Universe decide to evacuate Oa of all valuables, including the Central Battery. While in line to charge their rings before the Battery is taken away, Arisia Rrab, the newest Green Lantern, admits her lack of faith on her abilities. In response, Hal Jordan tells her the story of the first Green Lantern.
Avra, a humble scribe to the Guardians, is chosen by one of the first four power rings despite lacking skill or aptitude as a warrior. He and the other original Green Lanterns, G'Hu, Wachet and Blu, are tasked with stopping the Dominators, an aggressive species invading several solar systems. When Blu is killed in battle and defeat apparently at hand, Avra uses his imagination to create the first ring construct, wreaking havoc amongst the Dominator fleet. Following his lead G'Hu and Wachet also create their own distinct constructs, and the battle is won. The power to shape constructs from the power rings becomes standard operating procedure. After his death, Avra's ring is passed down through the years, ultimately coming into the possession of Abin Sur, who is 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 treats 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 trains the rookie Kilowog and others by removing their power rings and putting them in deadly situations. An angry Kilowog accuses Deegan of employing a reckless training method and having no value for the lives of his trainees. The two fight until Deegan and the recruits are called to defend a nearby planet from the Khunds. Deegan purposefully drops Kilowog's ring before departing with the other recruits. In the battle Deegan orders the rookies to protect the refugees while he deals with the invaders. By the time Kilowog catches up, Deegan has been mortally wounded. Kilowog destroyed the army and goes to Deegan's side. Deegan tells Kilowog he never would have let his rookies die and that he did what was best for their training. He passes his authority to Kilowog, who completes the mission, ensuring Deegan's 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, whereupon Hal shares Laira's own story.
Once a princess, Laira was sent on her first solo mission to her homeworld, Jayd, to deal with charges that her people attacked the Khunds without provocation. Laira is saddened to learn that the recent war crimes were ordered by her own father. 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 is able to defeat her father who admitted she has truly earned her adulthood. He then commits ritual suicide to maintain his honor. He dies 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.
Bolphunga the Unrelenting, a brutal warmonger, seeks to fight and destroy all of the most powerful warriors in the universe. He is told by his latest opponent that he will never defeat the Green Lantern Mogo. Bolphunga's computer contains no data on Mogo save for his whereabouts on a mysterious green planet. Bolphunga spends weeks there tracking Mogo's plethora of power signatures, but never finds the elusive Green Lantern. He then set explosives all over the planet in order to flush out Mogo, but is horrified when the planet extinguishes all the bombs. Mogo is revealed to be the planet itself. Bolphunga attempts to escape, but Mogo easily captures 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 Green Lantern's view on destiny.
Hal Jordan's predecessor Abin Sur fought Atrocitus, a treacherous 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 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 Green 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 Green Lantern Corps is saved.
Mogo volunteers to be the Green Lantern 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.
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.
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights earned $3,468,925 from domestic home video DVD sales and $2,228,971 from domestic Blu-ray sales, bringing its total domestic home video earnings to $5,697,896.