so i saw 300 last saturday and i really liked it- a better adaptation than sin city even. mostly due to its impeccable adaptation of miller/varley’s visuals. i think that the biggest flaw in almost all comic to movie adaptations isn’t the writing. although it’s true many writers don’t seem to get these characters they’re writing, most of the time it’s the sanitizing of the visual architecture of the characters, dynamism, color etc.
for example, batman begin’s real flaw wasn’t as much the script as the continued slavery to the production design of the character; the nippled-scuba suit-ing of the character tim burton and his inheritors seemed to indelibly brand as the character’s image. it seems that most of the time, hollywood can not conceive of the accurate visual/story adaptation that sin city and 300 have clearly shown to be possible. why can’t batman the movie be like batman the comic? now with the films i’ve cited being made- my answer is “i dont know”.
as a lover of comic books, i’m constantly dismayed and aggravated at the inevitable “let-down” that occurs when i see superman, batman, the hulk, constantine, punisher etc. let’s face it- these movies do not really resemble the books they’re based on. they don’t. 300, sin city and spider man (and possibly ghost rider) are really the only films of this genre to duplicate the energy and iconography of the source material they come from. 300’s production team took a great deal of effort to use the comic as a template for characters, design and even the color palette of the film.
on to historical accuracy. of course miller’s telling of the battle isn’t historically accurate. it is a modern fable - a retelling- it’s miller’s myth of (…the legend of the history of…) the spartans. and is miller’s story any less beautiful or meaningful or effective than malory’s completely christian-centric and culturally/mytho-poetically innacurate Le Morte d’Arthur? it isn’t about accuracy- it’s about passion. it’s about cultivating a moment of theater and energy.
and frankly, it was a pretty damn entertaining action flick too. hands down.
my sincere hope is that with the advent of mr. miller’s latest success, it will be possible for him use his newfound clout with hollywood to bring dark knight returns to the big screen under his supervision. in fact, considering how he seems to be capable of having his properties tampered with least, it would be great if he attempted to spearhead other creator’s comics into motion pictures. frank miller the executive producer- type of thing.
FRANK MILLER ART SITE
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