Entries tagged with “comics movies”.


There are films based on graphic novels (comics books) heroes and action stories and the genre is flourishing making happy studios and fans of all ages. And there are the ‘Sin City’ films which are graphic novels on screens.  ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For‘ directed by (who also created the books that inspired them) and is only the second in this genre. I liked it. I will try to explain the reasons and the difference.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0458481

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0458481

 

The first thing to notice with ‘Sin City 2′ (as for the first one almost one decade earlier) is that it does not pretend to be anything else that it is. It is a comics story which is directly designed for the big screen rather than for the paper support of the graphic novels. The story (there are actually three almost independent story threads) is simple and relies mostly on action. No psychological or character development is to be expected from its heroes, they are from the first time they appear on screen until the moment they die or the end of the movie (what comes first) ‘The Drunken Righteous’, ‘The Dangerous Vamp’, ‘The Corrupt Senator’,'The Nice Face Gambler’, etc. The actors either wear masks () or they are their own masks (, , , , , ). Most of them create their own characters as graphical novel heroes. The only one who holds some mystery and hides – at least for some time – her real intentions is the character played by . All seem to enjoy themselves greatly to be in the film.

 

(video source Movieclips Trailers)

 

All this concept is supported by a superb cinematographic solution which places the actors on sets that seem to be drawn in comics style and uses mostly black-and-white with touches of selected colors as in the mid 20th century comics books combined with the cinema masterpieces of ‘film noir’ from the same period. The execution is perfect, and the action scenes not only support the stories but also create moments of aesthetic wonder and fit perfectly in the atmosphere. The concept and the execution make of ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For‘ a rare combination of good entertainment and stylish cinema.

 

The first two minutes of ‘s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets are one of the funniest introductions that I have seen on the big screen in the last few years. After the next 15 minutes I was starting to believe that I have made a bad decision about spending the coming two hours to watch a childish and soppy comics-inspired action film. What followed developed in one of the good entertainment films of this year, but one that not everybody will like, one that you need to be in the right mood to watch and enjoy. Even the comics-inspired films fans and fans of the series may be split.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2239822/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2239822/

 

‘s source of inspiration is the comic book series “Valerian and Laureline” written by Pierre Christin and drawn artist by  (with the difference that the heroes of the comics travel in time and space, which does not happen in the film). Most of the movies Besson wrote, directed and/or produced in the last thirty years have three lead features. One is his attraction for teenage heroes (females in most cases) – this is present here as not  the lead heroes but many of the citizens of the world created by Besson seem to be hardly above today’s drinking age if at all. Maybe we are suggested that the world of the future may have found the magic elixir of youth. The other is unrestrained violence on screen, and from this point of view we are treated with a relatively soft version of Besson, with stylized fights at comics level. Last is the visual creativity. From this point of view Besson is at his best, or maybe simply reached the best until now in his career. Compare by example with War for the Planet of the Apes which I saw (and wrote about) last week. Same techniques of creating characters by computer effects enhancing actors are used, but what an explosion of fantasy we have here, conveying the idea of a infinitely diverse universe, a direct descendant from the one in the ‘Star Wars’ series (or maybe the same world of the future). This is combined with the exceptional architecture of the City of a Thousand Planets, whose areas and rooms change every few seconds into new spaces of exceptional colors and forms varieties. Cinematography, Production Design, Art Direction are all breath-taking.

 

(video source Movieclips Trailers)

 

Is the story childish? Maybe, but this is after all the screen variant of a comics series. It actually carries logic, but it’s comics logic, not philosophy. No need to talk in too many details about actor performances – young (a rising actor star whom I somehow missed until now) and do what they are supposed to do and look how they are supposed to look, and it does not matter too much that a fine actor like or a music legend like are present in roles of adults. It does matter however that pop idol joins the team and creates a stellar interstellar (!) dance and music number that is to be remembered. She is part of the fun of this summer action movie, set in a beautiful and dream-like version of the future. A film for young people of all ages.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is easy entertainment, but it is not cheap entertainment.

 

 

 

 

 

My unusual relationship with films inspired by comics continues to develop, as for various reasons I have seen a lot of these in the last few weeks. I picked Les aventures extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec this week at the end of an exhausting day of work (and heat outside) as I was looking for easy entertainment that would not require efforts from the few cells in my brain that staid awake. More or less I got what I wanted.

 

source http://www.magnetmagazine.com/2011/12/30/best-of-2011-guest-editors-of-montreal-on-the-extraordinary-adventures-of-adele-blanc-sec-by-jacques-tardi/

 

I think that I know the reason because of which I enjoy more the films inspired by French comics than the American ones, and feel more comfortable in the company of Asterix than in the one of Superman, Batman, or Spiderman. Unlike many of my American (and not only American) friends I grew on the French comics journals, especially Vaillant (later named Pif gadget). Second to Vaillant was Pilote and this is where the character of Adele Blanc-Sec created by Jacques Tardi comes from.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1179025/

 

Adele is a French newspaper journalist in the years before the First World War. She is beutiful, she travels, she never seems to lose energy. Well, she’s a cartoon character. She also has a fantastic sense of humor, and ridicules her enemies with the same easiness she beats them with various weapons or tricks. The first sequences that see her travel to Egypt in order to find, bring to France and bring back to life a physician of the Pharaohs who is of course the only person dead or alive who can save the life of her sister are both well filmed (as is the full movie), funny and a reverence to Indiana Jones.

 

(video source EUROPACORP)

 

Certainly script author and director Luc Besson wrote and directed more ‘important’ and ‘serious’ films. Here and in other films made lately he seems to enjoy himself with making easier stories, and targeting all audiences. While I miss films like the original La Femme Nikita, Leon or The Fifth Element, I cannot deny that I enjoyed this film at many moments, including the thick comical parodies of the characters at the start of the 20th century (policemen, scientists, and even le president de la Republique) or of the ancient Egyptians on a walk to know Paris, a Paris emptied by heavy traffic but already with most landmarks in place. Louise Bourgoin as Adele Blanc-Sec is sexy and funny, and as the last scene shows her boarding the Titanic I am wondering whether Besson intents to locate there her next adventure. Ah, a parody of Cameron‘s movie, what a sweet revenge it could be!