Thursday, October 30, 2008

Contrasts and Conclusion

After diving into the world of the Daredevil comic book fan and immersing myself in responses to the movie I've learned that many people are passionate about Daredevil, his world and the many interpretations of it all.

The strength of the traditional comic book format is the room it provides for backstory. The detailed universe is complex and flexible.The characters move forward and backward in time at the whim of the creators. Multiple writers and artists have different eras---with fans downright fanatical about particular writers and artists, (e.g. creators, writer-editor Stan Lee, artist Bill Everett, Wally Wood, John Romita Sr., Gene Colan and Frank Miller). The fans of the comic book format are deeply invested in the world of the comics and they love the conventions of the genre.

The movie format is much more focused.Ultimately one vision, the director's/producer's, is what we see. There are all kinds of amazing special effects that physically impact the viewer. Sounds--we can hear and feel the punches land in the fight scenes. The lighting and camera work focus our eyes exactly where the director wants us to look. The music provides a pulsing background that affects us subliminally. Viewers are given warnings of impending action when the music rises. Even the opening scenes with the names of stars, directors and producers appearing in cgi Braille, give a depth to the experience that is different from that available to a reader.

One challenge of the movie business, though is target audience---young males. The Daredevil film was trimmed to 100 minutes because that's what the movie-going public wants. If the story is filled with too many important-to-the-fan details the story lags (according to the producers).

When I watched the movie and read the comic books I enjoyed both experiences AND found them quite different. Because I am not long-time comic reader, I really enjoyed the movie--especially the villains. Collin Ferrill as Bullseye was maniacal and over-the-top and I loved it. I also enjoyed Jon Favreau as Matt's long-suffering friend Foggy. Joe Pantoliano as Ben Urich the investigative journalist whose articles tie the mystery of this story together was key in helping me understand the intricacies of the plot and Daredevil's world.

I think that this comic book made a pretty good transition to film---but it could be better. 'Whose' version of better is the ultimate questions.

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