Saturday, July 26, 2008


Another Frank Miller comic very faithfully adapted into a movie. I'm not sure it was the best choice for conversion, since the highlight is definitely the art, not the story, but they ended up making an entertaining film anyway. What I found interesting is that most of the elements from the movie I didn't like didn't really show up in the comic. The contrived subplot with the evil senator, the laughable sexuality, they're not there. What is there is all the interesting war imagery and clever dialogue, with it becoming apparent that the movie's greatest contribution was having Gerard Butler shout "This is Sparta!" instead of just saying it before kicking that fool into the pit. It's a very tight story, pretty different from most comics I've read.

And the focus really is the way it looks and not how it's written. As you can guess from the wide cover, it's not in the normal scope, with each page being double wide and filled with beautifully drawn and painted images. Miller can still tend to get a little lazy when he has a lot to draw in one panel, but it's mostly all really good and iconic pencil work, and Lynn Varley's colors just make it even better. It's pretty obvious that they weren't going for historical accuracy, just a visually interesting, different sort of comic book. It definitely worked well, even without Zach Snyder's cool use of slow motion.

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