Monday, April 04, 2005

SIN CITY? BUY THE BOOK

I am not really a big fan of graphic novels. I don't have anything really against them, they just aren't for me. There are, however, a few that I love. In particular, Frank Miller's Dark Knight series, were a favorite of mine--not so much for the writing but for the pictures. Miller's angular line work somehow doesn't keep his beautifully rendered figures from leaping from the page.

So, I was understandably excited to see SIN CITY this weekend. I am always interested in how filmmakers mate film and a visually stunning media such as comics/graphic novels. I had seen some of the clips and trailers, read some of the pre-release press that showed some pretty awesome stills from the film. It looked like this was going to be a romp.

As excited as I was, I was equally dissapointed when the film just sort of fell flat. Visually, it was stunning. The black and white, high-contrast look with splashes of color here and there was artfully done. It was paced well. The characters were pretty well designed--although Marv (Micky Rourke) looked a little bit silly. Even as one is able to suspend a fair amount of disbelief in a film like this, you can't help but be a little annoyed when the make-up starts to look like a bad halloween mask. Visually, Miller's work is about his characters cutting a dynamic silouette against the background. It works well on the page but in life it can have the effect of looking forced--almost as if they are trying WAAAAAY too hard to get Marv's coat to flutter out towards his left or right etc...

Still, as visually interesting as the film was, it was impossible for me sustain interest for more than an hour. The stilted dialogue, the hackneyed noir voiceovers, the obscene amounts of voilence... It just started to wear on me. I found myself truly, well, bored... I felt a similar reaction to SKY CAPTAIN--another film that is very much visual-effects-centric.

As to the whole genre of films adapted from graphic novels... FROM HELL remains my favorite. Faithful to the original, yet it is its own entity. SIN CITY is too closely connected to the source to be strong enough to stand alone. I wonder, why not just creat an animated adaptation--sort of in the style of COWBOY BEBOP? I don't know...

I still have high hopes for BATMAN BEGINS...

3 comments:

Ward Jenkins said...

Interesting review, James. That's funny that you wrote about it, as I'm in the process of writing my own review on the film. I like that you did an illustration of you in the theater in the style of Sin City. Mind if I borrow that idea for mine?

James Palmer said...

Do it man!! I wish I had had the time to write more about it... I was pushing a deadline at the time and didn't have the time to write a more in-depth review...

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