March of the Spartan

I know what you might be thinking and no, this doesn’t have anything to do with Master Chief. as a matter of fact, Master Chief isn’t even the coolest Spartan in video games. that honor goes to Kratos. Every now and then i like to discuss things other than games. Shocking, I know. While an aforementioned spartan warrior will be making his highly anticipated return to the ps2 come march in God of War II, 3oo Spartans will be making their way onto the big screen. There is a good chance that Kratos may have some heavy competition for the baddest motherf–king Spartan on the planet. Zach Snyder(dawn of the dead) will be bringing his adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel 3oo to theatres.The graphic novel depicts the Battle of Thermopylae and the events leading up to it from the perspective of Leonidas I, king of Sparta. The comic, however, takes great liberties in its narrative, for example depicting Xerxes I of Persia as a bald black man with piercings and the traitor Ephialtes of Trachis as a hunchback. [wikipedia]

Miller (Batman Year One, Dark Knight Returns and Sin City) is responsible for some of the best work the comic industry has seen. Coming off the success of Sin City, this latest Miller adapted novel hopes to wow viewers with it’s slick visuals and violent storytelling he is known for. Even though Miller wasn’t as involved in the filmmaking process as he was with sin city (co-director) his fans shouldn’t be disappointed. i recently read an interview with Snyder in Wizard Magazine’s 2oo7 movie edition and this is what he had to say about comics, Frank Miller, and his film version of 3oo:

“I always felt like the mainstream comic books were always a little too soft for me. They weren’t gory enough and they weren’t sexually demented enough and that’s not who i am. It’s just true. When I went to the comic book store i had a hard time with Superman and Batman. then when Frank came along, in a lot of ways, he was more to my sensibility and that’s what got me interested in frank and got me interested in comics. that put me back in that world, I graduated from high school in ’85 and there was a shift going on in the comic books around that time. So i was just in college. It was an interesting time. There was this thing happening with movies and in the comic world and i felt like i was in the right place in my development as an artist, I guess, or whatever you want to call it, to appreciate that and have it shape my aesthetic in some ways and my career.

“[3oo is] pretty violent. of course I’m a hard judge because i don’t think anything is violent. It’s as least as graphic as the graphic novel and probably more so.I tried to design the violence so that it was in the spirit of the graphic nature of the movie. In battle one, we did the opening bit of it where they’re pushing and they first start killing in what i would call a more traditional sort of battle scene style. I wanted the audience to come around to my way of thinking of violence, slowly and not all at once. Then when Gerry [Butler, who plays King Leonidas] breaks out, you get a sense of a different way of making violence, a little more balletic”.

Just like the creators of Sin City literally transformed those books to the screen, Snyder and co. took the liberty of using the actual pages of the graphic novel for the storyboard. After checking out the trailer for 3oo, take a look at the comic to film comparisons taken from solaceincinema.com. You can check out the site for more comparisons:

While the visual direction and overall movie “look” promising, there is a lot more at stake with Synder’s directing abilities than people may realize. you see, Synder’s next effort after 3oo is directing an adaptation of alan moore’s Watchmen. to it’s credit, Time Magazine placed Watchmen on its list of the 1oo greatest english language novels from 1923 to the present, stating that it was “told with ruthless psychological realism, in fugal, overlapping plotlines and gorgeous, cinematic panels rich with repeating motifs…a heart-pounding, heartbreaking read and a watershed in the evolution of a young medium.” Not only was Watchmen the only graphic novel to make the list, it also took the number one spot in the reader’s poll.

In other words, if you haven’t read Watchmen, go find yourself a copy now!

“Watchmen is set in 1985, in an alternative history United States where costumed adventurers are real and the country is edging closer to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. It tells the story of a group of past and present superheroes and the events surrounding the mysterious murder of one of their own. In Watchmen, superheroes are depicted as real people who must confront ethical and personal issues, who have neuroses and failings, and who – with one notable exception – completely lack anything recognizable as a “super power”. Watchmen’s deconstruction of the conventional superhero archetype, combined with its innovative adaptation of cinematic techniques and heavy use of symbolism and multi-layered dialogue, has changed both comics and film”. -wikipedia.org-

Now of course, there is no such thing that everyone will enjoy. If you are the type of person who is a hardcore mainstream superhero type of reader, there is a slight chance Watchmen is not for you. At the same time, if you are one who thinks comics are for kids and have no interest in the Justice League, but enjoy a well-crafted story, chances are Watchmen may be your gateway into graphic novels; in particular, Alan Moore novels.

Personally, I have a lot riding on 3oo because it is going to be a good measuring tool for how capable snyder is to pull off the film version of Watchmen, which was once considered “unmakeable”. Here is to hoping Synder has what it takes as a filmmaker.

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~ by laurance on February 19, 2007.

5 Responses to “March of the Spartan”

  1. I have the 300 graphic novel, but I have yet to read it. I can’t wait for the film to come out.

  2. What I’m liking a lot about the movie is how it adapts the look and feel from the graphic novel itself; like Sin City, I’m expecting to see something rich with artistic visuals and a bit of originality. I look forward to 300.

    It’s interesting that you linked to Time’s All Time 100 Greatest Novels [English Language] because I remember seeing and reading about Watchmen from that list. It’s a shame that the list doesn’t have any of Dostoevsky’s novels on there; then again, he was a Russian novelist….perhaps the greatest novelist of all time 🙂 Yeah. He’s my favorite author.

  3. Frank Miller is easily my favorite creator. I was not disappointed by the movie in the least. On the contrary I’ve been dragging people to go with me to see it.

    Putting it simply… 300 = sex

  4. Xerxes as a GAY-LOOKIN’ bald man with piercings is more like it.

    Dig that eyeliner…where’d he get make-up tips from? Alexander???

  5. gi

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