I’ve decided on this, the week of my birthday, that I would spend my days sitting on my ass and writing also watching some of my favorite movies. As it happens, two of my favorite comic book movies of all time come from Frank Miller comics: 300 and Sin City. I saw 300 a few years back in the theaters with Ben and Rickey and our ladies. I walked out feeling like I wanted to punch something, but decided against it. When it came out on DVD I eventually bought it with a few others at Blockbuster, but hadn’t gotten around to watching it again until today.
Man, I still love this movie. I haven’t read the comic it’s based on yet, so I can’t comment on how accurate it is to the comic, but it does have the feel of a Miller comic in both visuals and tones. More to the point, it’s just an awesome, fun movie full of larger-than-life characters who refuse to die (well, up to a point), severe and visually interesting movies and an uplifting ending (again, kinda). Oh, and tons and tons of blood and gore as the Spartans take on all manor of enemies.
Visually, I find the movie stunning. I’m not a huge proponent of these kinds of digital shoots, but I think director Zack Snyder did something really innovative by creating such a rich visual tone.
300 was one of those interesting movies to see coming up while working at Wizard. There had been some weirdness in the past between the magazine and Miller, but after the success of Sin City things seemed to get patched up. I was working in the research department at the time, so anytime they ran anything having to do with 300, we had to go back to the same batch of images over and over and over again. That’s one of the problems with covering things so far out in advance. Even with an utter overload of 300, I was still excited for the movie and remain excited about watching it again. I still wanted to punch something, but instead I just kept sitting on my couch.
When Sin City came out, I was in college. I don’t think I was more excited for any other movie that year and maybe during my whole college career. I had read a few of the trades and seen a few of Robert Rodriguez’s other movies, but the combination of the two had me crazy excited. I never expected to see a “smaller” comic like this (ie, not a superhero) on the big screen with such high production values, vision and gigantic actors. And it did not disappoint. It didn’t disappoint when I watched it together either and by now I’ve read and own every Sin City trade and have seen most of Rodriguez’s movies.
I know some people don’t like the idea of just bringing a comic book to life, but I’ve got no problem with it as long as it’s done this well. Taking real people and making them look like Miller’s drawings and still not look completely ridiculous is a feat in and of itself. Also, taking some of Miller’s more noir-ish dialogue and spitting it out in real life would sound strange and let’s be honest, not everyone’s good at it. I noticed the male characters seem to do it better than the women, but maybe it’s because it’s harder for women to sound badass.
Anyway, I like how well Rodriguez and Miller told no less than three stories in a fairly tight fashion without rushing any of them. Sure, the movie’s a bit long, but I didn’t find myself getting bored. How can you be bored with badasses like Bruce Willis, Clive Owen and Mickey Rourke all doing their badass things so well? If there’s one thing that Miller does really well, it’s creating seemingly indomitable characters who don’t take “no” or “die” for an answer unless they’ve decided it’s their time. Heck, I’m still not completely convinced that Marv is dead. Here’s hoping that Rodriguez actually gets around to making Sin City 2 and doesn’t let Miller take the reigns as The Spirit was a shit storm of epic proportions.