Sunday, July 24, 2011

Robert Rodrigues to Remake Bakshi's Fire and Ice

As you'll see in the above clip, Robert Rodriguez is going to remake Fire and Ice using the approach he used for Sin City. Frank Frazetta was a designer and producer on the original film and Ralph Bakshi directed it.

Rodriguez feels that he can now get closer to the look of Frazetta's art than was possible in 1983. That's probably true. However, I think it's a waste of time.

Frazetta was certainly a strong draftsman and painter. His images are striking due to his sense of composition and colour. In addition, there's a healthy dose of sex present in most of his work. However, while Frazetta worked in comics before his career as a painter, he wasn't really known for his narratives. His paintings are striking images, but they are no more than moments. His themes are limited and his worldview is that of a hormonally-drenched fourteen year old male. While that might make him the perfect source for current Hollywood movies, I doubt that Rodriguez will be able to bring anything to the film that isn't already present in Frazetta's paintings.

I understand the urge to adapt. When you love something, you want to be able to immerse yourself in it and somehow connect yourself to it more strongly. Everyone creative is influenced by existing work and many can recall "ignition moments" when they encountered something that crystallized an urge to do work of a certain kind.

Jack Kirby used to laugh when comics artists said they were going to work on characters he created "in the Kirby tradition." His response was that the Kirby tradition was to do something new. I think Kirby had it right.

When adapting a novel, a director at least brings visuals to a story. But when a director adapts something from an already visual medium, such as Rodriguez will do here, I think he's fighting a losing battle. Rodriguez may nail Frazetta's look (and I admit to being skeptical), but he'll fail to add anything to an appreciation or understanding of Frazetta's work.

For the record, here's what Bakshi and Frazetta did with Fire and Ice.

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