Comic/Graphic Novel

24th March
written by JohnArkontaky

Frame from graphic novel Watchmen

Frame from graphic novel "Watchmen"

This animated movie is a spinoff of a comic book within the graphic novel Watchmen. The movie does an excellent job of keeping true to the core of this (fictitiuos) comic book. We watch the hero go through stomach turning atrocities that ultimately transform him from an honorable ship captain to a hallucinated madman.

It lacks, however, any tie-ins with Watchmen, as it strives to be a stand-alone entity. But, unfortunately, it’s hard to justify any film clocking in under 30 minutes of reel time with a price tag of $30 retail. Gerald Butler (King Leonidus from 300) is a sexy guy and a great voice-over, but not that good.

The movie starts off right in the middle of a bloody naval battle between a monstrous black ship and what seems to be an honest naval ship (maybe British). It would have been nice to see some homage to the spinoff’s roots, visa vi a prologue of the fanboy reading “Tales of the Black Freighter” at a newsstand in NYC. After all, that’s how readers followed the comic: the fanboy would talk to the newsstand vendor, then we would get a glimpse of Freighter and the action would perfectly coincide with the discussion fanboy was having–but with a really twisted, gory perversion of the conversation.

All-in-all it’s interesting, but not worth the dough. Maybe if nothing interesting is on your Netflix list you should give this DVD a shot, but don’t expect to be pulled into the story for long. I recommend the graphic novel instead.

11th March
written by JohnArkontaky

Graphic Novel:
Author: Alan Moore
Published: DC Comics, 1986

Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Morgan, Patrick Wilson
Release: March 2009

You don’t have to look too hard before finding somebody that worships DC Comics’ Watchmen. Its popularity has survived tests of time, and one could argue that Watchmen is the lynchpin of the graphic novel’s (and comic book’s) credibility as “serious” literature. Had it been made into a motion picture in the late 80s or even 90s, the lack of computer graphics and special effects may have tarnished the experience. But, now that movies almost have too much computer animation, it is safe to attempt this seminal work. Or is it? Afterall, with great success comes even greater expectation…and criticism. Watchmen fanboys are going to be, umm…watching, with scrutiny for any miscues. So, how did Zack Snyder fare in recreating this cult hit? (more…)

10th January
written by JohnArkontaky

Writer, Artist: Will Eisner & Assoc.
Published: 1940 – 1952
Sunday newspaper supplement

Director, Screenplay: Frank Miller
Starring: Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Mendez, Scarlett Johansson
Released: December, 2008
Rated: PG-13

Taking a classic and celebrated body of work such as The Spirit is a touchy thing. Its formula is simple yet so hard to duplicate because of the medium William Eisner chose. Placed in a Sunday newspaper, Spirit’s do-gooder deeds were recounted in a mere handful of pages. Foregoing back stories, monologues, or an assembly of other tools used to deliver sound, compelling drama, each new tale of The Spirit seems to start in what would be the climax of the story if Eisner had more pages to build up to it. The anecdotes range from hot under the collar romances to cat and mouse games with hoboes in Central City’s cavernous sewer system. But, one theme rules every page I’ve read, and that’s irony. Eisner’s short and sweet style and laden irony made for a lethal one-two combo. Frank Miller’s screen adaptation of The Spirit, though, strongly deviates from the original series’ simple essence, its spirit.