There's an interesting little (and I do mean little) trend going on in genre / geek movies and television right now. Actually, I should say it's been going on since March 2007, but it seems to be debating whether to sputter itself out or not. It's the so-called "graphic novel style", which really just means "in the style of 300." Numerous films in pre-production have boasted that they're going to be done "in the graphic novel style", including Timur Bekmambetov's gestating Moby Dick adaptation and Keanu Reeves' 47 Ronin. Recently, it's reared its really ugly head in the Starz television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand which has featured shots practically lifted from Zack Snyder's film, but with a tie-in graphic novel being sold as an excuse. ("See! It's based on a comic like 300 was!") As I noted in the column last week, some advertisements even claim the series is based on a graphic novel, though it's a slender claim to make of a tie-in series.
It's really pretty cute. Everyone wants to be cool like the kids on the comic book shelves. We never thought we'd hear that in a million years, did we? Let alone be the inventors of, in the words of the LA Times "[a] particular aesthetic, born of video games and comic-book panels." It's a style that values fakery over realism "sort of the way that synthesizers were preferable to pianos in '80s pop."