Dec 16, 2006

The Fountain of Batman. Soundtrack by Mogwai.

In the November issue of Wired, Steve Silberman discusses director Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain, his third film (after π and Requiem for a Dream). The Fountain is also a graphic novel from Vertigo featuring artwork by Kent Williams, but the story didn’t begin that way. As Silberman explains, Aronofsky hired Williams to create the book after his attempts to film the movie were thwarted by a wishy-washy Brad Pitt and a bloated budget. The big-budget sci-fi flick eventually reincarnated as a pawn-shop art film, fueled by Aronofsky’s guerrilla-filmmaking background. The film might lose money, even after DVD sales, etc., but D.A. has proven himself once again.

What we’ll never see is Aronofsky’s “gritty take on” Batman. Silberman cites Aronofsky’s vision of Batman “battling switchblade-toting pimps” as being too racy for mainstream audiences. This reminds me of why most superhero films are doomed to fall beneath my expectations. Many comic books are acceptable for a general audience, but those I’ve loved either couldn’t be loyally translated to the big screen without an R rating (Miller’s Dark Knight series, in the case of Batman) or would be too convoluted for a casual viewer (e.g. Kingdom Come).

Batman takes out a WB executive.

Consider my favorite comic-based movies: Sin City, Ghost World, and Hellblazer. Each has an R rating. With the general exception of Sin City, these aren’t verbatim stories put in motion, but--Keanu aside--they are loyal to the original spirit, tone, and maturity of the books they come from.

I swear not to let Schumacher touch this.

Rachel Wise’s, who co-starred in
Hellblazer and is married to Aronofsky, performance in The Fountain struck me as saccharine, especially next to Hugh Jackman’s stoic coolness. In all three time periods in which the film takes place, all the characters are basically static. As with many films that aim for meaning and high-art, The Fountain is at times heavy-handed, but it’s consistently beautiful, visually and sonically.

Hey Jack, I think you've wandered into Apocalypto.

Clint Mansell, who scored Requiem for Kronos Quartet, also enlisted the help of Scottish post-rockers Mogwai on The Fountain soundtrack. The result is a score strong enough to stand on its own.

Kronos Quartet & Mogwai – “Death is the Road to Awe”

The Fountain official site

November’s Wired also features great articles on atheism, prosopagnosia, and six-word stories by Margret Atwood, Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, Kevin Smith, Mark Millar, Howard Chaykin, Neal Stephenson (my fav story), and Ronald D. Moore.

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