Sunday 5th June 2005

In prospect, another boring Saturday. Determined to make things different, I text my friend Pav and asked if he wanted to go see Sin City. He replied instantly, as he always has done and it bought back memories our texts during college. He was in Southampton and had already seen the movie on Friday night. We agreed to meet up soon and perhaps catch Batman Begins on Friday night. Saturday morning was disappearing and having already been into town to carry out some jobs, I took a comfortable seat on the sofa to see what was on television. It was around 1pm and there were some big World Cup qualifiers taking place across three continents but I was not really interested. The showing on Sky Movies was appalling and after lunch, I fell asleep. Waking up at around 4pm, I dragged myself onto the computer. Perhaps there was one person who would want to go and watch this comic book action movie with me? I had mentioned it to Hussein briefly on Friday evening, so I grabbed my mobile and text him. Yet again, a swift reply with a positive response. He was happy to meet up an go watch the movie at the Vue cinema in Harrow. While I waited for his arrival on MSN, I quickly rushed over to the Vue web site to check the times, it was coming up to 5pm and I would be cutting it very fine, if I wanted to catch the 6pm viewing, so I recommended the 9.10pm screening. All confirmed, I booked the tickets and then tried to familiarize myself with where my friend lived again. (Give me a break, it was around 9 months since I had last been to his house).

The schedule from now on in was very tight. I had to keep my appointment with the Doctor and then rush out promptly at 7.45pm to get to Harrow in time for the movie. I quickly had some food, got changed and watched the final part of this weeks episode in my room, then headed out. The M40 and A40, were relatively quiet so that part of my journey only took fifteen minutes. It was here on in, that I made some stupid mistakes, which is unlike me. The directions I had recorded from Multi Map were relatively useless. Yet, there was something else special about the journey last night. I drove through Rayners Lane and just as I passed their road, I switched the radio over to Heart and the heavy bass of an introduction filled the car. I could do nothing to stop myself tapping away at the steering singing along and thinking of you. Thousands of miles away, on the other side of the world. The answer to the question from me, is a definitive yes. So, if only you could find it in your heart to tell me, “Can You Feel It?”.

I drove on and after taking a slight detour north towards Pinner, I tracked down the right street. Parking the car, I called to let Mighty Mouse know that I had finally arrived, and we headed to off to St. George’s Shopping Centre. I knew little about this movie, apart from the fact that it started British actor, Clive Owen. I had seen a poster, while waiting in queue to watch Star Wars a few weeks ago, and many people had approached the poster and turned to their friend, partner, girlfriend or wife and said this ia great movie, we have to go and watch. Let me just clarify my cinema going activities. Generally I only go to watch the big blockbusters at the cinema, but then again, in 2003, I went to the cinema only 3 times, so my choice of movie can be quite selective. I was looking forward to watching this comic book adaptation because it was so different. Yet, would I be impressed with the graphic violence and mindless acts of crime?

When a comic book comes to the silver screen, the director and writer face a great dilemma. What do they do? Stay true to the comic and risk alienating the wider movie going audience? Or cause controversy by altering the story for a more film friendly finish? This is a difficult balancing act. Some studios only think about bums on seats and therefore revenue generated from a picture and nothing else. This is a narrow minded approached. A movie such as this can appeal to a cross section of people. For example there will be those people that have read and loved the comics in the 1980s and waited a lifetime for this transition. There will be those comic book action hero fans, such as myself, who do not necessary read the comics but love the adventures of the superheros. Then there will be those going to watch the movie based entirely on the actors taking the real life persona of an still drawn image. As you can see, appealing to these groups (there are others but not as significant) can be struggle. The comic book fans, will come and see the movie regardless, no poor review on Rotten Tomatoes will put them off. Having now seen the movie, I can say that this is the closest thing you will ever see to a comic book coming to life on the screen. The action, story telling and pace all closely relate to how a comic book is written. I especially liked the use of colour, with the movie shot in black and white with the odd touch of bright colours (red, yellow, blue) to highlight blood, eyes and lipstick. Perfect. The casting was inspired and I feel Bruce Wills and Michael Rourke performed well in their stories, even if perhaps there was not the time available for character development. The surprise for me was, Jessica Alba. The spoilt brat from The Secret World of Alex Mack (which I confess, I did watch!) has all grown up! ;). There are three stories to tell and rather than go about intertwine them, the approach is to tell the stories seperately, but link in several of the characters that feature. This subtle hint, reminds you that you are watching one film, rather than three seperate movies. The beginning and ending are perfect at the overall finish article is a mirrored piece in terms of content. What also makes this movie different from others in the same genre, is that the villians are as human as the heroes (or anti-heroes if you prefer) and there are no special suits, jackets or weaponery. Everything is quite down to earth in this regard. Therefore, that is why the location, the setting is so important. It is only here, that mindless acts of violence are tollerated, because the police can be bought and corruption is rife. Perhaps Millier was just looking ahead to the future and trying to put together a comic book that reflected the road that society was heading down. Who knows?

My sister went to see the movie in a late afternoon screening in Reading and did not like it. She was evening going to warn me to not go and watch it. I think she felt it was more of a ‘bloke’ movie than anything else. Sure the violence, is graphic and at times insane. But with the source material, you have a licence, to let revenge take any form you wish and if that means cutting down the police force with an axe, then so be it. There are also some extremely comic moments, particularly in the Marv storyline, which remind you that this is not a true reflection on real life. There are already two sequels planned over the next few years, which sounds great. I just hope they have further intriguing stories to tell. Went I got home at 1am, I rushed onto the computer and read all the trivia associated with the movie, having avoided the page earlier in the day. You can see clearly what a difference it makes to have a fan of the comics directing the movie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.