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.


Brett W. McCoy said...

That's just what we need, yet another remake. :-|

Anonymous said...

I watched the Bakshi clip you linked . I had forgotten how embarrassingly Saturday-morning the anmation in that movie was.
"Fire and Ice" was basically Filmation type of stuff with more inbetweens in some cases.

Brett W. McCoy said...

It was 100% rotoscoped, I believe.

warren said...


When I was a kid and saw this movie, it shaped my taste just as much as Disney or Warner Bros, for better or worse. That, and a love of heavy metal bands and those crappy airbrushed vans parked in the lot across the street.

Some of the animation is actually pretty alright, especially when you compare it to the likes of HEAVY METAL, which is downright shoddy in sections. Those neanderthal faces weren't fully 'scoped. No one actually looks like that, and some of the close ups are pretty well done.

Sure it's a terrible story that wanders all over the place, but I like Bakshi all the more for getting it made the way he wanted to be. He's still one of the few American animators who made their own version of an animated feature & in the 80s, no less, when even Disney's studio was hurting.

But does it need a remake!?

Not unless they take that story and make it work.

I don't mind filmmakers taking a bad movie and doing a great version of it. John Carpenter did a fantastic job with THE THING in the 80s. The original 50s story was dry as toast, but he kept what made it work and tossed the rest. If Rodrigues can do something similar, great. If not, meh.

Brett W. McCoy said...

Just to clarify, warren, 'The Thing' is actually based on a story by John Campbell called "Who Goes There", written in the 30s... Carpenter did a much better job adapting the original story, no question about that.

warren said...

Fair enough, but you get my point.

I rewatched 'Fire & Ice' for a bit last night. It's pretty unique...hahaha!

I was surprised to (re)note the story was by Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas two of my favourite comic book writers.

For some reason on film their tale meandered all over the place and usually they're responsible for pretty tight plotting. Wonder what happened?

Brett W. McCoy said...

Yeah it's not a very focused story but it's still entertaining... I especially enjoy watching Teegra and am jealous of the guy who got to animate her :-)

Brett W. McCoy said...

I need to re-watch it also, for some reason I never noticed that Simpsons voice talent Maggie Roswell (Maude Flanders, Helen Lovejoy, Miss Hoover, etc) voiced Teegra (Cynthia Leake was the "body").

Anonymous said...

I think with a concept like Fire and Ice, I personally think it can be, not just a great opportunity to capture the visuals of Frazetta, but this could also, story-wise, be potential material to do a Robert E. Howard-type story like no Howard adaptation has managed to capture the spirit of Howard's writing, the way John Carpenter did H.P. Lovecraft-type films with The Fog and In The Mouth of Madness.