Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Sinful in Pink

For a bizarre, visually arresting trailer, check out Sin City. I'm not sure it's even a good idea for a comic book movie to look so literally like the art of the comic book, but it sure looks neat. My concern is that it detracts from the story standing on its own as a movie, that the whole time you're watching this you're thinking, "oh, it's a comic book," when if you want a comic book experience maybe you should just read a damn comic book.

I had the same problem with the stupid split-screen gimmick in Hulk. Simultaneity of action was unimportant to the story, unlike something like 24 or Phone Booth where unity of time is integral to the concept. So it was just there to suggest a comic book. Yes, superficially, when you look at a comic book you see lots of boxes with pictures in them. But that doesn't mean that's what we should see when we're looking at a movie of a comic book. The boxes aren't a conscious part of the storytelling experience. When you make a movie out of a novel you don't make a point of putting a lot of written text on the screen. That's just part of the medium, and drawing attention to it is insulting and demeaning to the source material, like you're treating comic books as some second-class source. And it takes you out of the movie.

Not to mention, that's not even how comic book panels are used. Comic panels are (usually) used for sequential action, not simultaneous action, so split-screen action juxtaposing simultaneous scenes is decidedly un-comic like. And don't even get me started on the amateurish wipes. The thing looks like it was put together with a kid playing with iMovie for the first time.

Okay, that was a tangent. Sin City could be okay. I like Frank Miller (Batman: Year One and Dark Knight Returns, though not Dark Knight Strikes Again), and for some reason I like Robert Rodriguez. I've liked aspects of many of his movies, although there's none I can embrace fully. I do like his bare bones Do-It-Yourself filmmaking philosophy though. And Sin City, again, looks quite cool, though I have my doubts about whether it will hold up for a whole movie.

I meant to also call attention to the trailer for The Pink Panther, featuring Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau. It's pretty dumb, but the slapstick and bad French accents are well done. People falling down or getting hit with things almost always works for me. Plus, Jean Reno is funny in it. That first pin joke makes me cringe, though.


matt said...

sin city looks cool. jessica alba is hot.

the pink panther looks funny. beyonce is hot. has steve martin done anything respectable since "l.a. story"? and why does beyonce only use the "knowles" when she's acting? when she's singing she's just "beyonce."

(meli adds: "i think it should be 'acting'."

Anonymous said...

) Sin City is a good comic book, too. Frank Miller was also great doing about a year of Daredevil, maybe more, which was awesome, though I read most of it long after it originally came out. The "Daredevil" movie franchise seems to based around Frank Miller-era Daredevil. You may consider that good or bad...

I didn't think the obvious comic-book elements of "American Splendor" were very effective either. I don't think the comics really added anything - especially with the pointless story attached to it in "American Splendor" - and specifically for Harvey Pekar, who *wrote* comics, but didn't usually draw them.

I don't think a good comic book writer would necessarily be good at writing movies, just like I don't think a good novelist would necessarily be a good screenwriter. I still think the presence of Frank Miller bodes well for this movie.

Speaking of do-it-yourself, IMDB credits Robert Rodriguez for directing, co-writing, producing, editing, and writing original music for "Sin City". Does that make him a quintuple-threat? Even Trey Parker doesn't edit his films.


Anonymous said...

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Kenny said...

I neglected to mention Miller's Daredevil work, which I also enjoyed. He did an arc now collected as "Born Again," which is illustrated by Batman: Year One's David Mazzuchelli (sp?). He also did a lot of art for stories he didn't write, and a graphic novel retelling of Daredevil's origin called "The Man Without Fear" which ranks as possibly my favorite DD story. Many DD fans dislike the liberties he took, but I don't read DD enough to notice--as far as I'm concerned, TMWF is the definitive DD origin. I don't think his influence on the Daredevil film was a bad thing. That film was sunk by the limp direction, ham-handed writing, especially the overwrought voice-over, and casting of Ben Affleck.

Miller also worked on one of the Robocop movies. The second one, I think. I haven't seen it so I can't comment. Some people like it.