Saturday, June 16, 2007

Comic book extravaganza #4: Sin City

Staring: Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Jessica Alba, Michael Clarke Duncan, Rutger Hauer, Jaime King, Brittany Murphy, Nick Stahl, Powers Boothe
Director: Robert Rodriguez

This is one of the best adaptations of a comic book to film ever made. However, unlike many films that are based on source material that spans multiple decades, for something like X-men or Fantastic Four you’re looking at 40+ years, and with Batman or Superman you’re fast approaching 70 years.

The style is there, in all its noir-ish quality. The use of the monochrome, with just a hint of color once in a while establishes a great mood and atmosphere. The cinematography (mostly taken directly from the original work) is amazing to say the least.

Sure a lot of it is form over substance, but that’s the way the original was like too. One only has to look at the number of pulp films that came out in the 30s and 40s to see that the dialogue isn’t really silted, as much as it’s playing to the specific genre.

Not only that but it was one of the first times that the technology to make an actual fictional comic world, actually worked. Previous attempts made the visual hell that was in the Schumacher Batman films. This is far more “innovative” than even the most recent attempt at mixing up a comic book film. Look at the heinous attempt in “Hulk” to make actual comic book frames in the middle of the film. Great idea, extremely poor execution.

While generally I detest people who say this, but frankly, a lot of the naysayers just didn’t get the film. The best part is they’re either complaining about the lack of originality (that you may as well read it – that is, when they’re not claiming it is ripping off dozens of unrelated films), that the film’s cinematography is terrible and that it should have been filmed exactly like a regular movie would (real sets, 100% color), that the dialogue is “bad” (forgetting the noir-type style), or that it’s too cartoonish.

I’d like to hone in on the last point. This is really the first comic book film that has unrealistic that I actually accepted the lack of realisim. I don’t mean unrealistic like “mutants aren’t real” kind of unrealistic, but that a regular person can get shot multiple times and be fine, or that people can jump down 3 stories and land perfectly fine. It’s cartoonish, but that’s okay. Try to pull this in a Batman film, Superman film, or X-men film, and you’ll get a stern objection from me.

Now please note, a lot of the naysayers also claim that this film is actually film-noir, and thus fails completely because it does not live up to film-noir standards. I don’t believe many people who like the film have actually claimed this to be a valid point. I certainly see the elements, but it is not a noir film. I’d probably give a handful of films made in the last 40 years that title (Chinatown, Blade Runner, and Dark City are just three). It's just a blatant attempt at a cheapshot complaint. If you don't like the film fine, but blame it on the "over the top violence" or some such thing.

In the end the film was extremely popular, and I personally can’t wait till Rodriguez dumps the DOA Barbarella remake and gets on to making the friggin’ sequel.


1 comment:

Matt Ramone said...

One of the things I love about Rodriguez and Tarantino is that they throughly absorbed the b-movie gears and widgets and then turned and used those bits and pieces to create movies that were just sheer AWESOME. (Sin City and the Kill Bills come to mind.)