Sin City Review

It has been a while since I have seen a movie before it hits DVD. And I must admit, I had fairly high expectations for “Sin City” after hearing all the hype. Per the norm, I was let down. “Sin City” is a good movie that would have been great if only the story did not come across as convoluted as it does.

I am not familiar with the “Sin City” novels, but I have liked every single comic movie that has come out in the last few years. I really like the graphic style of “Sin City,” but I do not think it was quite as successful as a movie as the predecessors in the transition to film.

For those who do not know, “Sin City” is mix of three of Frank Miller's graphic novels. This is my biggest issue with the movie. Not only is it three stories being told, it is book-ended by Josh Hartnett's character “The Man.” There are a lot of questions I have about the story, but what really does not make sense is these two scenes with Josh Hartnett. Edit: It seems that this opening with Josh Hartnett was actually Rodriguez's test footage used to convince Miller, and is from a fourth novel, “The Customer is Always Right.” A bad movie if you ask me.

The movie does tie things up in the end, with the exception of Hartnett's character. I really have no idea what he is tied into.

As I do not know the print versions of Sin City, I do not have much to go on. I have heard and read that the movie is very faithful to the source material. This might be the movie's major flaw, as there are a lot of questions about character development and interaction.

There is no story buildup for any of the characters in “Sin City.” Even in “X-Men,” which is a very popular Stan Lee franchise, they used a lot of that movie to build the story behind the characters. Even “Hell Boy” had back story added into the movie. I don't know jack about “Hell Boy” (the comic) but I identified with the movie more then “Sin City” because they took the time to flesh out the characters in “Hell Boy” as well as “X-Men.”

The story buildup does not have to be as thick as “X-Men,” “Hell Boy” did not take a lot of time on the back story. Bringing comic franchises to the big screen is supposed to bring the story and characters to a bigger audience. If this means you need to “water down” some elements, then that is an option. But we have seen plenty comic book movies that have figured out how to broaden the audience without alienating true fans of the franchise.

I am sure once I watch the movie again I will understand more of the story, but I should not have to. I am sure the stories were cut down for time. I hope to see the full length versions on the DVD release.

I am happy Rodriguez decided to use three of Miller's novels (Sin City: The Hard Goodbye, Big Fat Kill, and The Yellow Bastard) and not spread one novel thin over one feature length film. I like the fact that there was no new story made for the film, but I would have got a lot more out of this movie had I just a bit of prologue (in one form or another).

Sometimes movies can still be a big hit without a fluid story. The fit and finish of “Sin City” is just amazing. The special effects were done by not one, but three FX shops. Each effects shop worked on one story. On a related note, the magazine “Computer Graphics World” has a great feature on the FX of “Sin City.” If you have a chance you should check it out. The article has a lot of specifics on the effects behind the movie.

Similar to other Tarantino flicks, this movie would probably not hit the big screen if it were not shot in a surreal and stylized fashion. We can all thank Robert Rodriguez for convincing Frank Miller into making a movie adoption of his graphic novels. The results are stunning, with stark black-and-white scenes with dramatic lighting. The references to the source material are masterfully rendered.

Most movies these days have some form of greenscreen work. On a big feature you might have close to 200 effects shots. Each of the three stories in “Sin City” has close to 600 FX shots. Every frame of this movie was greenscreened. The final result of live action and greenscreen environments is just stunning.

With a strong story that just misses the transition to the screen and a marvelous display of special effects, “Sin City” is a feast for comic book and special effects geeks alike. It falls short of capturing a new, uninitiated, audience however.

Sin City scores an 8 out of 10.

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