The British punk scene of the 1970s may be best known for the Sex Pistols, but the Buzzcocks were also a terrific band that helped define the pnk generation. Singles Going Steady is a great compilation of the band's early work, highlighting their stripped-down musical attack and punk-pop lyrics.

Headed by singer-songwriter-guitarist paid Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle, the Buzzcocks were punks as interested in teenage romance (and its failings) as in bucking the system. They might comment on the vapid pleasantness of society in "Everybody's Happy Nowadays," adult disproval in "Noise Annoys," or difficulty of life in "Something's Gone Wrong Again," but they really hit their stride with teen angst about romance. It's no coincidence that the fairly romantic "I Don't Mind" is followed here by the song that asks "Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn't have fallen in love with?" Lust also plays a big factor in their experience, from the wanting "Why Can't I Touch It?" to the straightforward "Just Lust" to the fairly comic "Orgasm Addict."

These themes are well supported by the angry, fast music that match the sneering vocals of the singers. There's a raw energy to the songs, as they're blasted out fast (few songs are over three minutes long; most are closer to two minutes) with competing guitar, bass, and drums. And while the music is angry, it's also catchy: a strange melody that makes you want to sing along.

Singles Going Steady is, in many ways, the best of the punk scene: a reminder that punk wasn't just tone-deaf pissed-off rockers, but people who blend their passion with talent to create memorable music. Singles Going Steady belongs with the best of the Ramones and Sex Pistols.

Overall grade: A
Reviewed by James Lynch



Aardman Studios create terrific claymation animated features -- such as Wallace and Gromit -- that are often as entertaining for adults as for kids. They take on the high seas with their 3-d movie The Pirates! Band of Misfits and wind up going more for cute than clever -- and somewhat landlocked as well.

It's 1837, and the Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) enjoys the pirate life. He has a loyal crew, a fat unusual-looking parrot named Polly, a sturdy ship, and a love of Ham Nite. However, he's lost the Pirate of the Year competition (the winner is the pirate with the most booty) over 20 years in a row, and this year looks no different. He seems hopelessly outclassed by rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven), Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek), and Peg Leg Hastings (Lenny Henry). It doesn't help that the first several attempts at plundering are absolute disasters.

Things start looking up when the Pirate Captain tries plundering the ship of Charles Darwin (David Tennant). Darwin is a shy, mousy, lonely scientist; he also recognizes Polly as a living dodo, which he thinks can win him the Scientist of the Year Award. The Pirate Captain wants to win too -- to claim the incredible reward that comes with winning, and using that reward to win Pirate of the Year. But Darwin and his money Bobo (a silent creature who "talks" by holding up a series of cards) keep trying to steal Polly. What's worse, the competition is in London, where Queen Victoria (Imelda Stauton) displays a homicidal dislike of pirates.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits is enjoyable enough, but it could have used more insanity and manic energy (the latter popping up in a few chase scenes). While Hugh Grant is fun as the ever-confident captain as obsessed with his beard as the competition, the rest of the pirates don't even rate actual names: Martin Freeman is the Pirate with a Scarf (actually the first mate), Ashely Jensen is the Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate (a woman in disguise), etc. There's some nice physical comedy from the silent Bobo, but most of the jokes are quick chuckles instead of the clever humor of the best Aardman features. And for reasons beyond me, this movie landlocks itself in London for a surprisingly long time; shouldn't pirates be adventuring on the high seas?

I liked The Pirates! Band of Misfits but I was hoping for more humor for the grown-ups watching it with their kids.

Overall grade: C+

Reviewed by James Lynch



Oz Fluxx is out, and that means you're off to see the Wizard -- or you're hoping to unite the Tin Man with his Artificial Heart -- or just Follow the Yellow Brick Road. This latest Fluxx game from Looney Labs has no surprises in terms of gameplay -- but a terrific feel for the world of Oz.

The rules of Oz Fluxx are the same as in previous Fluxx games. At the start of the game, players have a hand of three cards and follow the starting rule "draw 1, play 1." Players can play Keepers (objects needed to win), Goals (which have Keeper requirements -- usually 2 or 2 of 3 together -- to win; a Goal card replaces a previously-played Goal ), New Rules (such as drawing more cards, playing more cards, or limiting the number of cards you can hold), Actions (stealing Keepers from other players, or drawing 3 cards and playing 2 of them), Creepers (cards that get played automatically and prevent victory -- unless they're part of the current Goal), and Surprise cards (that have different effects if played on your turn or another player's turn).

Oz Fluxx plays like the other versions of Fluxx: quick, simple, and pretty fun. The artwork is cartoony and light, with a kid-friendly feel to the land of Oz. The cards capture the feel of The Wizard of Oz: the Creepers are the villains from the movie, while Water can be used to discard the Wicked Witch of the West and the Falling House can get rid of the Wicked Witch of the East. And the game is very easy to teach and can last briefly (with great luck) or up to 30 minutes (as players can draw and play massive amounts of cards, or constantly switch Goals to prevent others from winning).

The only problem with Oz Fluxx is thatthere's very little difference in gameplay from the other versions of the game. If you've played the other versions, this will be extremely familiar. But if you haven't played Fluxx before -- or if you're a fan of The Wizard of Oz; or you like playing Fluxx -- then Oz Fluxx is a fun little game.

Overall grade: B-

Reviewed by James Lynch


The Lurking Fear/Arkham Horror (HP Lovecraft and Fantasy Flight Games)

Howard Phillips (H.P.) Lovecraft is one of the most influential horror writers of the last, or indeed, of any century. Even if you've never read Lovecraft, his influence is felt and cited by a vast number of modern and often better-known writers, including Stephen King, Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman among many others. The Necronomicon, a Lovecraft invention, makes an appearance in the film Army of Darkness, for example, and the list goes on and on. Lovecraftian, as an adjective, has entered the lexicon, and parodies of his admittedly somewhat overwrought style can be found without difficulty.

I must say, though, that if you've never read Lovecraft, you really owe it to yourself to give it a try. Sure, some of the prose seems a bit dated, and some of the stylistic choices do lend themselves to parody a bit, but it all works. When reading his work, you sometimes may find yourself thinking it's a bit cliché, but what's worth remembering is that odds are pretty good that he invented that particular cliché. I've mentioned The Lurking Fear in the title, and as a short story, it's a good place to start. Shadows Over Innsmouth is another good starting point. If you'd like something meatier, the novel The Lurker at the Threshold is a personal favorite.

Among the spin-offs and Lovecraftiana, there are quite a few games. The Call of Cthulhu role-playing game came out in the '80s and my friends and I spent many happy hours trying to avoid insanity while still holding off ancient and unknowable evil from out of time and space. (At least, they did, I was running the games ...) More recently, Fantasy Flight Games has come out with Arkham Horror and a number of expansions.

Arkham Horror is a cooperative game, with the players, anywhere from one to eight of them, taking on the role of investigators trying to prevent a variety of horrible and ancient terrors from destroying the world as we know it. Each character has a set of skills and, usually, a special power which allows them to alter game-play, sometimes by ignoring or modifying an existing rule (eg. when drawing a card, take from either the bottom or top of the deck and look at the bottom first) or by doing something outside the normal rules.

Game play is deceptively straightforward. Gates from other worlds open spewing forth monsters and hastening the arrival of the Great Old One. The players run around gathering clue markers and having encounters in various locations around the map, then try to shut the gates. If they shut enough gates fast enough, stability is restored. If they don't ... evil awakes and there's a massive battle. That's a bad thing, in case you hadn't guessed.

The mechanics are simple. You have skills and roll that many d6 looking for 5's and 6's. Equipment can modify the number of dice you roll as can a great many other things. Too many, in fact, to mention here.

The game is tough. We lose about half the games we play. It is a tribute to the game, that we have a lot of fun anyway.

The expansions add more locations, extra encounters, and even more ways to die, go insane or wake the old ones. Out of seven expansions, there is part of one that actually seems to work in the players' favor. Mostly, though, it's just more doom and madness. Which is great.

Be warned, there are lots of fiddly bits. There are decks of cards for neighborhood encounters, extra-dimensional encounters, random events, unique items, common items, spells and skills. There are counter pools for gates and monsters. Character sheets for players and for the horrors from Out There. More cards and counters to track special states and clues and health and sanity.
And that's just in the basic set. Expansions add more decks, as well as adding to existing decks. It's a glorious, over-the-top, whirlwind ride through a Lovecraftian nightmare.

The atmosphere is fantastic, and the more Lovecraft you've read, the more you will enjoy the attention to detail in terms of locations, characters you meet, monsters you face and so on.

I'm not going to give the game or the literature a rating, rather I will simply recommend them both and suggest that they work well in synergy with each other.

(Note that the game has been reviewed previously on this site, but I think I like it more than the previous reviewer;-)



Everyone grows older, but not everyone grows up. This is apparently true for some movie franchises as well, as demonstrated by American Reunion. The fourth film in the series (not counting numerous direct-to-video releases), this film brings back virtually the entire cast from the 1999 original movie -- and virtually the same humor as from the first one.

American Reunion starts with a "where are they now?" of the main male characters from American Pie. Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Allyson Hannigan) are married with a 2-year-old son -- and have hit quite a dry spell in their sex life. Oz (Chris Klein) is famous as both a sportscaster and losing contestant on Celebrity Dance-Off -- and his hot girlfriend Mia (Katrina Bowden) is a bit too wild for him. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is happily married -- but not happy about his wife making him watch shows like The Bachelorette and Real Housewives. Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) has become a globetrotter but never found a lasting relationship. And Stifler (Seann William Scott) is as obnoxious, sexist, horny, and crude as ever -- but he's stuck temping for an obnoxious boss. They're all brought together for their 13th high school reunion (an odd number, but matching the time since the 1999 release date of American Pie). And of course there's Jim's Dad (Eugene Levy), now a widow nervous about dating once again.

The guys may have adult lives, responsibilities, and problems -- but soon they're acting like teens again. For Jim, it's the temptation of Kara (Ali Cobrin), the girl-next-door than Jim used to babysit; of course for a movie like this, she just turns 18 and has the hots for Jim. Oz has to deal with old feelings for former girlfriend Heather (Mena Suvari), Kevin wonders about feelings for his former girlfriend Vicky (Tara Reid). Finch finds himself starting things with old classmate Selena (Dania Ramirez). And Stifler, well, he's out to get laid, get drunk, and get revenge every chance he can. The rest of the cast from the original movies is here -- including Jennifer Coolidge and Shannon Elizabeth -- but they pop up more for nostalgia than for any real humor or plotting.

For a movie about folks supposedly growing up, most of the humor here is extremely juvenile. There are the usual sex jokes, excrement jokes, nudity for comical purposes and embarassing public exposures. But while Eugene Levy remains terrific in his awkward-without-realizing-it role, and Seann William Scott is too consistently juvenile to be creepy (someone 13 years out of high school hitting on high school girls), the rest of the cast seems to be methodically going through the same paces as before -- gross-out humor and romantic longing -- as before. American Reunion is also both ageist and sexist, as the teens and new characters are all barely-dressed babes, while the actresses from the original are far more subdued (and covered up).

American Reunion is an exercise in nostalgia, simply rehashing the types of jokes and relationships from the older movie instead of trying for something new. Some of the jokes are funny, but this movie aims far too much at bringing back older characters and sex-and-bodily-fluids humor and too little at being, well, good.

Overall grade: C-

Reviewed by James Lynch



The wonderful boardgame Cosmic Encounter allows for shared victories -- but now players can join together in teams with the new expansion Cosmic Alliance. And if this isn't enough (and for me, it isn't), there's also a new color (allowing for another player) and a collection of new aliens -- some of which aren't that new.

Normally in Cosmic Encounter, players who ally when attacking both get to go on the target planet if they win; and if multiple players get their fifth colony together, they all win! Cosmic Alliance allows players to form teams of two, working together to defend each other and go after their opponents. To me, this ongoing alliance from the outset is unnecessary: Part of the fun of Cosmic Encounter is persuading people to join you (for attacking or defending), and having an automatic ally from start to finish removes that element of the game.

Fortunately, there are 20 new/old aliens with Cosmic Alliance. This expansion introduces aliens from earlier editions of the game (like the Empath) into the current Fantasy Flight Games version -- and tosses in new ones as well. As with the previous expansions, the aliens here work extremely well, whether the paralysing Gorgon (virtually trapping ships on its planets or shared colonies), the scary Relic (which gets a free colony whenever another player draws a new hand of cards -- and gets its own ships out of the Warp when it draws a new hand), or the rules-changing Schizoid (which changes the victory conditions, leaving other players to win by accident or try and figure out what the new victory condition is). None of these are so overpowering that they'll be picked over the other aliens -- but they certainly have the potential to bring victory. There's also a pretty good sense of humor here: the hedonistic Animal has the summary "Throws a Hearty Party;" the Horde (shown below) looks like a marshmallow Peep with a sinister underside; and the Pacifist is once again the victim as it becomes controlled by the Remote.

The new color -- white -- gives more color options for the players. More significantly, when combines with the other expansions it allows for massive eight-player games! If you have the players, this will last a long time -- and be very fun (if long).

Cosmic Alliance is a nice expansion, except (ironically) for the new alliance rules. Even if you ignore them, you'll still have 20 new aliens, the option for an additional player -- and another great expansion for the terrific Cosmic Encounter.

Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch


Lockout (2012)

 Star Wars Has Nothing To Fear
I can't begin to describe Luc Besson's Lockout without making
reference to Star Wars.  Not because Lockout deserves to be mentioned
in the same galaxy as that 1977 classic, but to highlight that the
similarities between the two do not make Lockout especially
Han Solo, I mean, Snow (Guy Pearce) is framed for espionage in 2071
America. He is given a chance to redeem himself if he goes aboard the
Death Star, I mean, maximum security orbital prison to rescue the
princess, I mean, First Daughter of the President of the United
States, Emilie Warnock (the lovely Maggie Grace).
As you can imagine, there is little rhyme or reason as to why the
First Daughter was even allowed to enter this space prison, nor why
she did not go with at least a battalion of Marines to guard her.
Yes, the inmates are all kept in stasis while there, but why the
prison warden allowed her to meet with the lunatic Hydell (Joseph
Gilgun) is beyond plausible explanation.  Nor do I care.  The entire
setup of this movie ignores logic at almost every turn.  What follows
is a station crawl as Snow and Emilie try to evade and escape from the
Imperial stormtroopers, I mean, prisoners, hunting for them.
Spoiler Alert (and lots of them):  Given the chance to escape, Emilie
refuses to go, allowing her escape pod to leave without her.  Ugh.
The leader of the prisoners (who of course all come out of stasis -
did you have to ask?) is Alex (Vincent Regan) brother of the crazy
Hydell, who assumes command of the prisoners without explanation as to
why they would follow him in particular.  Perhaps it is his cool
Also, the orbital prison is destroyed at the end of the film by an
attack of X-wings, I mean, American space fighters, which shoot a
missile into the center of the station to blow it up.  No, really,
that is what happens!
Snow is your typical wisecracking tough guy/special ops/cop type, and
his character shows promise at times.  I could also see him being put
into a sequel that is better than this first installment.  That being
said, he is not very much different from any other tough guy of the
genre, and apart from the heavy Star Wars similarity, the film most
reminds me of Die Hard, with the lone American battling an
international cast of space bad guys. 
Lockout is not terrible.   It is not that good either.



When it comes to horror movies, the decrepit cabin in the middle of the woods is the ideal location: The cabin can be spooky, the woods can keep help away and harbor critters, and the building can be a sanctuary or a deathtrap. This has been used in horror (Friday the 13th), horror-based comedy (Tucker and Dale vs. Evil) and a mix of the two (Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn). With The Cabin in the Woods, this staple of horror gets a metafictional take, thanks in no small part to producer and co-writer Joss Whedon.

There are two stories happening in The Cabin in the Woods. The first seems to be a fairly typical teenage weekend getaway gone horribly wrong for five college students: innocent Dana (Kristen Connolly), her promiscuous friend Jules (Anna Hutchison), Jules' jock boyfriend Curt (Chris Hemsworth), brainy Holden (Jesse Williams),and stoner Marty (Fran Kranz). They decide to spend the weekend at Curt's cousin's cabin in the middle of nowhere (so far away it has no cell reception or appear on Google maps). And when they explore the creepy basement, someone makes the mistake of reading some Latin phrases from an old diary -- and soon zombies are attacking the teens.

But there's also a business of sorts going on: a high-tech operation is manipulating what's happening to the teens, from monitoring them before they even leave to releasing gasses to affect the teens' behavior and controlling the evnironment (including a Holodeck-like virtual reality border at the edge of the woods). This is a mix of middle management types in dress shirts and ties (the two main ones played by Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford), a concerned scientist (Amy Acker) and the uptight new guy (Brian White). These people treat this like just another job, from making in-office bets on what will happen to working to make sure everything proceeds according to plan. They monitor the teenagers constantly, view similar paranormal situations from around the world, and worry about upper management and ancient gods.

While I have to give credit to this movie for trying to create something new with a frequently-used horror situation, The Cabin in the Woods ultimately tries for far too much. The contrasts between the wild, dirty, supernatural woods the teens occupy and the sterile office environment of the folks for whom the teens' torture and murder is business works for a while but gets overused quickly. While the movie plays with the role of the audience as voyeurs to horror by having the events watched by other characters in the movie, pretty soon everything from commerce to Lovecraftian Great Old Ones get tossed into the mix. (Adding in a massive number of horror monsters near the end just feels like massive self-indulgence.) And while there's a reason the teens are cliches of horror, no actors really stand out.

I'm sure there will be plenty of woods housing threatened teens in cabins, but most won't be as ambitious as The Cabin in the Woods. While this movie does have some scares and some nice contrasts, it ultimately proves too deliberately clever for its own good.

Overall grade: C-

Reviewed by James Lynch



After writing about the resurgence of the "hooker with the heart of gold" trend in entertainment, I felt it behooved me to watch The Client List, the Lifetime television movie with this motif that will soon be a Lifetime television series. This movie did nothing to change my opinion that three of the worst words in entertainment are "Lifetime original movie."

The Client List has a setup of financial disaster. Samantha Horton (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and husband Rex (Teddy Sears) seem like a perfect family: She was a beauty pageant winner, he was a college football star, and they live in Texas and have three terrific kids. Unfortunately, Samantha was laid off as a physical therapist, Rex' leg injury keeps him from getting work in construction, and neither of them can find work. One of their daughters needs braces, their son needs $100 to play flag football at school -- and the bank will foreclose on their house in a month.

Fortunately, Samantha gets a job at the Kind Touch Health Spa. Unfortunately, this is a massage parlor where the employees don't have formal training but do provide... full service to their male clients. Samantha is sickened at first by the work, but soon the money is pouring in (as the other employees say, "Beats the hell out of waitressing!") and Samantha is the most popular worker. But the job interferes with the family, drugs enter the picture, the law gets involved, and the titular "client list" refers to a very public release of Samantha's highest-profile clients in exchange for less jail time for prostitution.

The Client List may have been "inspired bya true story" but it's all over the place. Samantha may hate the job, but she loves providing for her family (not to mention the gifts she gets from her appreciative clients). There's good ol' Christian guilt (inspired by the dashboard angel on the car), but there's also self-righteous Christian judgment (and hypocrisy from the Minister who's also a client). The job plays havoc with Samantha's family life -- but that seems to be more from the long hours than the sexual activity. And the movie never fully addresses the fact that the "immoral" work more than pays the bills, while "regular" jobs are both hard to come by and wouldn't cover the middle-class lifestyle.

In terms of stars, The Client List has Jennifer Love Hewitt (who does decently, as the nice mom who happens to find success and money as a prostitute), Cybil Shepherd (as Samantha's sassy mom), and a lot of extras who have little to do. This is a pretty typical television movie, promising scandal and titillation but delivering mediocre performances and situations. I don't how the tv series will continue from the movie's wrap-up, but given the fairly weak movie I wouldn't expect too much.

(And dvd extras don't exist here: All you'll get are a few trailers and the option for subtitles.)

Overall grade: D+
Reviewed by James Lynch


The Hunger Games (2012)

Lionsgate // PG-13

142 mins

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Lenny Kravitz, Woody Harrelson, and dozens of young actors who get killed midway through the movie

Unappetizing Fare

The Hunger Games is a dystopian film in which young Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take part in the dystopian Hunger Games, wherein twenty-four dystopian youngsters compete to the death for the right, I suppose, to say that he or she won the Hunger Games. It isn't made clear what the great prize is at the end of the homicidal rainbow, or why the oppressed, dystopian people of the dystopian districts of dystopian nation of Panem (of which there are twelve - Katniss hails from the twelfth) should submit to this squalid, dystopian gladiatorial contest for the amusement of the dystopian, decadent Capitol.

All of this is occurring in what is apparently a dystopian future America, in which the outlying districts send resources to Capitol, which is something of a dystopian D.C. crossed with Thunderdome. The dystopian "citizens" of Capitol, if they can be graced with the dignity of such a term, are a wretched bunch (and look as if they have are refugees from pre-revolutionary France dressed in an unholy combination of Hot Topic and 1980's Benetton clothing) cheering and squealing in delight at the dystopian murder games played out for their dystopian entertainment.

That a lot of dystopianism to ingest. Wow, this film is bleak. What am I to make of it? Is it an anti-capitalist critique of modern capitalism for the 99%? A parable for the age of reality television? A love story? It is a mixture of all of those things.

Katniss and her fellow male district "tribute," Peeta Mellark, are sent from their drab, 1930's Depression-style community in District 12 to the bright and shining Capitol to train (in a mere four days) to fight the twenty-two other selectees, as well as, ultimately, each other, in a high-tech outdoor stadium, watched all along by the millions of denizens of this bizarre nation. A nice touch is that real color invades the screen only when Katniss departs her gray district town for Capitol, a nod to Dorothy's wondrous entrance to the Land of Oz, but in this case, something far more sinister.

The youngsters are trained by Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and their look spruced up by Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), who despite being relatively sympathetic characters, nevertheless do not challenge the basic premise of the Hunger Games, which is that they are revoltingly immoral contests. Perhaps they feel that they can't, that they are powerless to alter the Hunger Games, a blood sport whose only purpose, it seems, is to remind the people of future America not to get uppity and rebel.

I have not read the books. Now, after watching this movie, I don't want to. I can't say that the books are bad, but The Hunger Games did not resonate with me. I found the premise of two dozen kids killing each other for the amusement of the crowd to be disturbing, and I am not squeamish. I could stomach Gladiator very well, but that was a far different film. Also, it is not that The Hunger Games was especially bloody. That element was rather limited. No, the premise of the film is not something that I care for - at all.

There were several times during the course of The Hunger Games that I just wished it would end. It is a very good film, just not one that I enjoyed. That may seem contradictory, but it isn't. I can recognize the quality of the moviemaking. Director Gary Ross has done a fine job and Jennifer Lawrence is a splendid actress. Dystopianism is not for me. I think that in order to really like a science fiction movie or novel, I have to want to "visit" the imaginary world in which it is set. I would like to visit Middle-earth, Narnia, the Federation from Star Trek, or even the Galactic Empire from Star Wars (just for a short spell) but I don't have any desire to visit the depressing, frightful Panem with its sordid Hunger Games.


Marc blogs on popular culture and whatever else he pleases at Consolidated Pop.


With the new "DC Nation" block of DC superhero shows on Cartoon Network, it's no surprise that they needed a new superhero series. The result is Green Lantern: The Animated Series, a fairly routine cgi show about superheroes in space.

The setup for Green Lantern: The Animated Series is pretty simple. In the furthest regions of space, Green Lanterns are being killed. While the Guardians don't want to do anything about it (foreshadowing some sort of dark secret of theirs), maverick hotshot Hal Jordan (Josh Keaton) and gruff tough-guy Kilowog (Kevin Michael Richardson) steal an experimental spacecraft to investigate. What they find: the Red Lantern Corps.

It seems there's a whole 'nother color of Lanterns, and the Red Lanterns' rings are powered by rage -- and Atrocitus (Jonathan Adams), their leader, wants revenge against the Green Lantern Corps. So with Hal and Kilowog's ship conveniently damaged (it can do everything but get them back home), the two Green Lanterns must work alone against the threat of the Red Lanterns. Well, not quite alone: Razer (Jason Spisak) is a Red Lantern who feels guilty about what he's done and joins the good guys; and Ava (Grey DeLisle) is the ship's artificial intelligence that wants to be a Green Lantern -- and builds herself a sexy robotic body.

While Green Lantern: The Animated Series isn't as bad as the recent live-action movie (faint praise indeed), it's also not that impressive. The cgi is adequate but not thrilling, giving us ring-generated constructs and alien species that don't thrill. And with the exception of Razer's conversion, most of the battles end in a draw: the Green Lanterns don't capture the Reds, and the Red Lanterns don't kill the Greens. The series does service to DC fans by skipping over Hal's origins, and the workings of the power rings are left vague: They're no longer vulnerable to yellow, but they need to be recharged whenever the plot dictates it. Green Lantern: The Animated Series is alright: not likely to turn off fans of Hal Jordan, but not likely to excite them either.

Overall grade: C

Reviewed by James Lynch