With the roaring success of Marvel Studios inaugural independent feature film “Iron Man,” there are a lot of eyes on what will happen with the company’s subsequent releases (both reboots) “The Hulk” and “Punisher: War Zone.”
One of the most interesting aspects of these films is that they demonstrate how the perspective on translating comic book heroes to film has grown up. Arguably refashioned by Chris Nolan’s “Batman Begins” that endeavored to remain much more faithful to the work of Frank Miller by pressing the human behind the mask rather than the superficial caricature, the new slate of films employs some of today’s top dramatic talents – from Christian Bale, the late Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Robert Downey Jr., Gwenyth Paltrow, Edward Norton and in the case of Punisher, goes one step further to put lesser known names in the title roles in exchange for their proven abilities as actors (Ray Stevenson will play the Punisher in a film that also features Dominic West and Colin Salmon.)
|Most interesting about Punisher is that it is looking to be far less reliant on the ubiquitous CG to which these big action films are prone, and more interested in mis-en-scene – using (gasp) lighting and atmosphere to evoke the Marvel Universe comic book style that the characters inhabit. To add to this the film will be scored by founder of Sonic Images record label and one-time member of Tangerine Dream – Christopher Franke.|
Hrm. Evocative, rich and dark lighting, relative unknown actors hired for their talent and appropriateness for their respective roles, an ambient electronic musical score – sounds like a film that came about some quarter century ago starring Harrison Ford, Edward James Olmos, Rutger Hauer and debutante Sean Young.
Franke has scored many projects prior to Punisher: War Zone; High School Confidential and over 150 episodes of reality TV show “Big Brother” among them so simply being associated with Tangerine Dream does not necessarily mean we can expect the next Vangelis masterpiece, however when coupled with the dark contemporary urban subject matter of the Punisher framework, odds are we may get close.
Punisher: War Zone is slated for release December 5th, 2008 from Lionsgate Films.