Sunday, March 14, 2010

99) Lucky Luke

99) Lucky Luke (200) Dir: James Huth Not Yet Released Date Seen: March 14, 2010 Rating: 3.75/5

I'm always amazed when I see a successful comic book adaptation, probably because most of them suck. While you probably don't need me to explain why, I'd wager that more often than not creative difference between the producers or the studio execs and the creative team involved can be blamed. Which is why it's so refreshing to see a comic book adaptation that's A) fully realized (ie: clearly not hacked up, rewritten or dumbed down to sate the tastes of a mass audience that could, in all likelihood, care less) and B) one that understands and appreciates that you can only translate the spirit of a comic to the screen by preserving its mood.

Lucky Luke is a lot of fun because, though it lags inevitably, director/co-writer James Huth clearly appreciates and wants desperately to replicate the sense of humor that co-creators Morris and Rene Goscinny, the latter of Asterix fame, invested in their original comics. This is a matter of meticulously reproducing the look of those comics, which at times seems like a slavish task, especially when you look at overwrought costumes like the overflowing coat-tails of Jesse James's (Melvil Poupaud) slicker or Billy the Kid's (Michael Youn) lollipop bandollero belt. It's also a matter of embracing the comics' childish sense of humor, their naive, serialized meandering plots and the childish cockiness of its hero, played with zeal and aplomb by consummate actor and comedian Jean Dujardin.

In other words, Huth's adaptation has everything a comic adaptation should. It's not cynically campy but completely and totally sincere in its aim to just adapt the comics and not break their back to sell them to any disinterested parties. No wonder it's not being released in the States.

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