The Fountain

Author: Darren Aronofsky
Artist: Kent Williams
Titan Books
RRP: 16.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 8457 6171 4
ISBN-10: 1 84576 171 5
Available 23 February 2007

An odyssey about one man's thousand-year struggle to save the woman he loves.
The Fountain follows Thomas as he feverishly travels through three distinct eras - as a 16th century conquistador battling a fierce Mayan army, a present-day scientist searching for a cure for his wife's mortal disease, and a future explorer seeking to uncover the secrets of a dying star...

The Fountain is, according to the blurb on the back of this graphic novel: "An epic love story so grand that one medium cannot contain it. The Fountain graphic novel is a sister-project to the film, using the same story as its seed, but stretched upon the limitless storytelling canvas of the comics medium. Already earning Kent Williams the Eisner nomination for Best Painter."

No, I'm sorry, but that is just about the biggest load of cobblers I've ever read. The truth is that the graphic novel was made because the original large budget movie ground to a halt and Darren Aronofsky wanted to tell his "story" any way possible. The graphic novel was the easiest way. He then decided he'd try and get a low budget movie off the ground. So maybe a more apt description would be: "An epic love story so pretentious that the Hollywood machine saw 'Turkey' written all over it, so it was released as a comic."

I had a major problem with this tale. It was so up itself that one could be forgiven for thinking it was a fine arts student's first project. I really can't believe that Williams was nominated for an Eisner award for Best Painter. It's pretty poor, on the whole. Most of the pages look like someone in a rush to meet deadlines. But its the dull story that really lets everything down. It tries so hard to be deep and thought provoking. Yet the only elements of this release which could have been beautiful, the sad modern day relationship between Tommy and Isabel, is ruined by Williams's insistence on slapping the paint all over the place.

To be honest I didn't feel for the characters in the slightest and had no interest in what happened to them. In fact, I became so disillusioned with it that I was pretty sure that Aronofsky was going to conclude the whole thing by showing the tree of life and the tree of knowledge being pulped to print his wonderful, breathing work of art! Thankfully he stooped just short of being that pretentious. And, because I found it to be a pretentious piece of crap, I'm going to have to give it a big number two out of ten.

Nick Smithson

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