Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Comics in the moving pictures

Within the past several months I have wached several things based on comic books. I want to briefly cover them here, and if anyone has any thoughts on them, please chime in as always.

Wanted - I read Mark Millar's 'Wanted' and liked it, but didn't love just how ugly it was. I commented on this before, and will only partially cover here. I thought the negativity was overdone and I thought it was heavy handed in unnecessary ways. Yes, I think it IS possible to have lots of gun play and even lots of killing without having everything just feel ugly and overwrought.

I thought the movie was pretty brilliant. It took some core themes, twisted them around perhaps a lot, and made a movie that was many times more enjoyable than the comic book. They kept some of the 'big twist' mechanics in place and created whole levels that didn't exist at all in the original. I would say the movie is more than a few steps removed from being 'based on the title of a Mark Millar comic' but it isn't an adaptation of that book either. It is a different thing, and I thought it worked really well (I went in thinking I would love the book and hate the movie).

Amazing Screw-On Head - This is a perfect comic made into a perfect pilot for a tv series based on a comic which I assume will never be made. The voice acting is great, the script is hilarious. The whole thing builds upon the basic idea of the comic and changes just enough stuff to make it go from being a one-shot to being something that shows even more potential for as a show. There were ideas and effects that were fleshed out on screen in ways that couldn't have been done as effectively in print, such as a portrait of lincoln that uses the old style digital mechanism to make his mouth appear to move when he is communicating with Mr. Head. The extra bits about his butlers adds depth, and the lost love interest works, It is just awesome. The art is the same as the comic, the tone is the same, but a greater potential is shown. I nearly cried when I realized that all I would be able to see was one 22 minute episode. It has been shown on Sci-Fi network, and I know it is available through netflix as well. You really should see it.

Death Note (Live Action) - I probably won't review a lot of manga related stuff here, but that is not because I have anything inherently against comic books that are called manga or anything. Death Note happens to be a series that I have read the bulk of the manga(but not all of it) and really liked. It's good twisted stuff with a lot of out-thinking and out-foxing going on in it. My favorite character is Ryuk the Shinigami, and he is my favorite in the manga as well as the film. The premise is that there is a notebook out there that belongs to a death god(shinigami) if a person touches it they can see the shinigami whose book it is. If they write a persons name in the book while having their image in their mind, that person will die. The notebook is found by a genius kid who is a bit bored with life and finds a way to really put excitement back into the world while exploring his inner megalomaniac. The live action movie is basically a 'part one' , part two is supposed to be making it's way here to the states sometime after October of this year. It picks a good place to end, and although unresolved, could be enjoyed without seeing the second part.

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