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Book Review: Sin City: The Making of the Movie

by Scott Weinberg

Despite the fact that I’ve never actually read any of the Sin City novels (yet!), I already consider myself a huge fan of Frank Miller and his work. Why? Because I’m a passionate supporter of 'graphic novels' and the animated arts, and I applaud anything that helps to elevate these media beyond the status of mere “kid stuff.”

The biggest fallacy in the world of popular arts and entertainment is that comic books & animated movies are made for children. But riddle me this: if you see a vibrant and challenging caricature in a museum, then that’s considered “art” of the highest order – but if you happen to see something similar in a comic book or on a movie screen, then you’re wading into the mental kiddie pool? I don't think so. Anyway, artists like Frank Miller, Alan Moore & Neil Gaiman have done their share to prove that an illustrated narrative is far from child’s play – and now comes the movie that just might prove it to the rest of the world.

“Comics have been the retarded second cousin of movies begging for scraps … Sin City is far and away the most faithful translation of a comic book to film … I think people are going to be quite surprised.” – Artist Frank Miller

How can I applaud a film that I haven’t even seen yet? Good question. Keep in mind that we’re talking just about the visual side of the project, and since I’ve spent the past week wandering through a phenomenal tome entitled “Sin City: The Making of the Movie,” I can guarantee at least one thing: this movie looks…amazing. Stunning. And, most importantly, truly unique. So few filmmakers even attempt “unique” that I think it’s a cause for huge celebration when someone does; someone like Miyazaki or Pixar or Frank Miller.

“Not quite a cartoon and not quite live action. I think it looks great.” – Previsualization Supervisor Chris Olivia

Although I’ve intentionally avoided purchasing the Sin City novels up till now (because I don’t want to spoil the movie!), I expect my credit card to take a nasty hit in a few weeks. And all my set-up blather exists only to set up the following admission: “Sin City: The Making of the Movie” is my first real introduction to Frank Miller’s world – and it only took about four full pages before I became hopelessly addicted.

“What would normally be white is black and vice versa. Fans of the comics will notice shots like this are pretty much exact recreations from the books … It’s a unique look, and something that we spent a lot of time fine tuning.” – Visual Effects Artist John Ford

What is it, precisely, that would adequately satisfy you after shelling out twenty bucks for “Sin City: The Making of the Movie”? Loads of Frank Miller panels, production sketches, and full-page artwork? A collection of essays written by Miller, co-director Robert Rodriguez, and a host of other contributors? Entire chapters devoted to the cars, the costumes, and the characters found within Sin City? How about a swanky poster gallery, tons of glossy set-photos, generous looks behind the props, the make-up, the weapons, and the vehicles? How about a heaving handful of sexy snapshots that showcase all of Frank’s femme fatales? And cap the whole thing off with the inclusion of the entire shooting script -- beneath which you’ll find miles of phenomenal artwork?

“The MPAA basically said that we would have had to cut many scenes if the movie had been in color, but because the film is in black and white we can get away with more graphic violence.” – Visual Effects Producer Keefe Boerner

Well, obviously it’s all here, folks. (You don’t think I’d mention all that stuff if it weren’t!) “Sin CIty: The Making of the Movie” is a testament to how much craft and creativity went into this adaptation; forget the fact that the movie looks seriously slick and criminally cool … this project is clearly a huge labor of love for all involved. And to see so many talented filmmakers working so damn hard on something that could ultimately end up being dismissed as “just another comic book movie” – well, that gives this particular movie geek renewed hope for the future of genre filmmaking.

“We’re matching the story panels exactly to the movie. So what he’s drawn we’re bringing to life.” – Art Director Steve Joyner

“Sin City: The Making of the Movie” is the inaugural release from Troublemaker Publishing, which is (obviously) a branch of Robert Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios, and that means that this is no glossy-looking leech of a publication; this is the stuff that the moviemakersknow you want to see, and boy do they deliver! And while you certainly cannot judge a movie by its “making of” journal, there’s more than enough stellar stuff packed within these 270+ pages to make me feel pretty damn confident about what Miller & Rodriguez have pulled off. Fans of Frank Miller’s work will undoubtedly adore this companion piece to the film – and after April 1st, I suspect there will be a whole lot more of those fans wandering the comic book racks.

“I don’t want to make Rodriguez’s Sin City, I want to make Frank Miller’s Sin City because I love that material so much … How could I rewrite it? … You’re not making it better, you’re just making it different, and it was so good the way it was.” – Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez

(“Sin City: The Making of the Movie” will be released on April 25th, but you can pre-order your copy by clicking right over here.)

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originally posted: 03/24/05 15:41:26
last updated: 09/24/05 06:59:42
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