Friday, December 23, 2005

Best and Worst of 2005 #8: Red Sonja is Mighty while Elektra Deflates

Red Sonja 0
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
As a bonus Pre-Christmas present, here is number 8 on my list of the Best and Worst this year had to offer.

BEST #8: New Red Sonja Series!
When Marvel launched it's Red Sonja series back in the 1970's I was a big fan. Here was this strong, incredibly beautiful woman who made her way through the world with nothing between her but a metal bikini and a sword. It was mind-boggling to watch her overcome the sexism so easily thrown her way and defeat her detractors. To me as a young girl, Red Sonja was it.

I am thrilled to see the return of Red Sonja in comic book form. To me she and Conan fill a gap in fantasy books we have been lacking for awhile. Dynamite Entertainment has muddied the water with variant covers, but I forgive them because the quality of the story being told is A+.

WORST #8: Elektra Movie
I like Jennifer Garner. She does a fine job on Alias kicking butt. I also like Elektra and have bought any issue pertaining to her I can in the past two decades. What's the problem here?

Jennifer Garner is not exotic. She is not Greek. She is in outstanding physical shape and does an amazing job on the stunts, but she just isn't Elektra. It doesn't help that the script is so far from what we are used to seeing in comic book land that the power of the character lost it's punch.

To me the film focused more on the little girl who Elektra wanted to protect her. I also didn't buy that Elektra would fall for the girl's father. What put it over the top for me was the sheer cheesiness of the villains. The overacting was extreme and horrid.

Bottom line- while we saw a few great comic book movies this year, Elektra just didn't make the cut. If the script would have been a bit darker, and if Monica Bellucci would have put on the red outfit, we might have had something to talk about.


Melchior del DariƩn said...

I thought Sonja was great too when she made her first appearance. Though, of course, my reasons for being interested were slightly different. (What can I say? I was thirteen years old at the time.)

And yeah, I do wish I didn't have to constantly explain to people that I read comics because I actually enjoy them. And not just arts-y graphic novels or alternative comix, but honest-to-goodness comic books. Since I teach 17th and 18th century history, it'd be impossible for me to dissemble and claim that I read them for a scholarly purpose, but having that "cover" would make life so much easier for me sometimes.

I'm off to see the folks in NYC. Enjoy the holiday!

kalinara said...

I disliked the Elektra movie as well. It had such potential! And it's never a bad thing to see capable, confident female characters ready to kick ass.

Though Jennifer Garner was a bad choice, sadly. She's not quite a strong enough actress to make up for the fact that she doesn't particularly embody the role. I might have liked to see Sophie Marceau in the role as well, I don't know if she's as physically capable, but she's very good at portraying complex motivations and moral ambiguities, I think.

Heidi Meeley said...

Melchion, I had a similar conversation about the merits of Red Sonja with my hubby and he said the same thing! I do remember my dad checking out those books rather then Batman as well.

Justifying reading comics gets about irritating after awhile for sure. I have an unnamed relative that thinks Jim and I are not her family's intellectual equals because of this. They have long, passionate talks about religion and education while Jim and I would much rather talk about comic books or historical/autobiographical works. It's maddening, and I don't know what to do to change it other then to stay proudly out of the closet so to speak.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and that it wasn't too hectic!

Heidi Meeley said...

Regarding the Elektra movie, I think that another problem was that Jennifer Garner in small doses in Daredevil was tolerable, but the jump to the big screen was too much.

I hadn't thought about Sophie for the role, but she could have pulled it off as well. I appreciate her complexity, and think she could have played tortured much better then Jennifer Garner, who looked bored half the film!

I wish we could get a do-over with the Elektra movie. Hmmm...