The strangest thing about Sin City being released on Blu-ray is that it is not tied to anything. The closet thing that its release could be piggy backing on is Frank Miller’s The Spirit. Since that was such an awful film I’ll dismiss that coincidence and say it’s odd that Dimension Home Video is releasing Sin City without Sin City 2 (lost in development limbo) set to release or even close to Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. Let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth and appreciate Dimension Home Video’s incredible transfer of the film. This should not come as a surprise because the entire film was shot digitally. Unlike numerous older films making their debut on Blu-ray this film, from this century, looks and sounds perfect. Better than it did in the theater. My only complaint would be that there are only two new special features exclusive to Blu-ray.
Special features are the lure to upgrading your film from DVD to Blu-ray. After comparing the new Blu-ray with the Sin City - Unrated (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) the special features are identical, save two. Those two special features outshine all the repeats and hands down are a great leap for Blu-ray. However one is just way too short.
Running the entire length of the film is the Cine-Explore feature which allows viewers to see all three versions of Sin City at the same time. Now by “versions” I mean you watch the finished film, the green screen footage and the comic book simultaneously. Miller’s artwork and covers to his Sin City comic move and change size as each panel comes to life on screen. The brilliance of this Cine-Explore feature is that it holds the comic right next to the film and illustrates how true Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller were to the source material. To see Miller’s artwork literally panel per panel as Bruce Willis walks on screen is amazing. Any true fan of the film and the comic will already know how perfect the translation was but for someone who never picked up the book it will blow you away.
The green screen footage playing with the comic and film is narrated by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller. This is their commentary track, an option by itself if one desires, but perfect to really experience the making of Sin City. Through the commentary Miller, who stutters a lot more than one would think, discusses his surprise on how much these “icons” (his words) wanted to stay true to his book. Fans of Miller will know that his previous work with Hollywood, RoboCop 2 (1990), was quite the opposite and was the reason he walked away.
Rodriguez is quick to fill us in on every detail about the film and reveals secrets on what was filmed first, why Jessica Alba at times remains in a watered down color and his decision to combine certain aspects of Miller’s Sin City characters. The green screen footage is also segmented so you’ll see who and what many of the actors were playing off of. The actors combined erratic schedules didn’t allow for most of them to act with one another.
The commentary is also an interesting window into plans for Sin City 2 and maybe why Miller’s The Spirit bombed. Miller is never a hundred percent sure of his decisions and it was Rodriguez that was his guiding light. Perhaps if the two would have made Sin City 2 before The Spirit Miller would have had a better chance at making it work. At this point Miller should remain the wordsmith and world creator and leave the directing to someone else.
The producers of the Watchmen clearly took note of how Sin City tied everything together with its comic book counterpart. The best marketing tie-in with the Watchmen was the Watchmen Motion Comic. Despite it being narrated, as is the tradition, by one actor the motion comic in its five and a half hours was incredible. The Blu-ray of Sin City takes the motion comic one step further and creates and interactive comic with the story “Kill ‘Em Good”. By taking the film’s cast members and narrating the comic it creates an experience that puts the Watchmen Motion Comic to shame. As Marv the viewer can drive a car, get a lap dance from Nancy Callahan, shoot and axe people, only where it is appropriate though in the story. The panels, bullets and blood run rampant but it is the in out of focus point of view of Cardinal Roark choking that makes any fan of the film or comic scream for more. This eight and a half minutes of “Kill ‘Em Good” runs the story out to its conclusion but it is far too short. If anything Dark Horse Comics and Robert Rodriguez have to apply this to every story when they release Sin City 2.
Sin City on Blu-ray is the definitive edition for the film. It is packed full of special features and commentary that entertain and educate filmgoers on the importance of staying true to the source material. If only all comic book movies could do the same.