Sometimes a movie is not really a movie. Director Matt Pizzolo calls his own Godkiller an illustrated film, which is exactly what it is. The narrated images of this ´moving´ picture are inspired on the graphic novel Godkiller: Walk Among Us, which was written by Pizzolo and illustrated by Anna Muckraker. Because of her excellent drawings the writer/director decided that the pictures had to be made into a big screen adaptation.
Pizzolo claims that there is a difference between illustrated film and motion comics. He explains that the first is a cinematic approach on sequential art, while the latter is an attempt to recreate a comic into a cartoonish style. I do admit the difference is hard to see, but luckily so does Pizzolo. His graphic novel was adapted for the screen by moving the camera over still images, while poorly animated characters or objects might provide some actual movement within the frame. The results are dramatically and explicitly narrated by voice actors, who in their turn are supported by a pumping soundtrack. As a whole it comes close to an animated film, but it never gets to be that exactly.
The story of the graphic novel is split into two, where the first bit is pre-apocalyptic and the second bit post-apocalyptic. The story of the film is set in a time where some remaining city states are inhabited by extraterrestrial invaders and human survivors of a nuclear war, so there is little doubt which part this is. The aliens look humanoid though, so the difference between them and the earthlings is barely noticeable (I had to read up on the alien bit after seeing the film). That doesn’t mean the approach to the post-apocalyptic theme is regular in any way, because the story and setting are bizarre to say the least. The best next thing I can compare this constant output of violence and quantum physically driven narrative with is the love baby between Sin City on LSD and Ghost in the Shell.
The characters are biologically enhanced with metal, but freshly scavenged body parts are exquisite merchandise in the world of Godkiller. Protagonist Tommy is a teenager living in an orphanage with his sister. She is unconscious and on life support, as she badly needs a new heart. Because they lack credits her body will soon be used for parts, so Tommy has to find her a new ticker quickly. He comes into contact with an organ steeling prostitute called Halfpipe, who willingly succumbs to many external male organs before she steals their internal ones. Together with the larger than life survivor Mulciber she and Tommy are forced into the borderlands by a half nude transvestite crime boss to find a rare relic. There they encounter a Cerberus like watch dog and cannibal zombie virgins… Did I already mention this film was bizarre?
On paper (wow, that sounds a bit old fashioned) the above might seem odd already, but seeing is believing. The lack of animation is quickly forgotten because of the speed in which the story is told, top notch narration by actors like Lance Henriksen and some smartly written dialogue. The soundtrack by Alec Empire and Nic Endo is forceful, just the type of music a film like this needs to make it more energetic. The drawings differ from being simple sketches to more detailed and colourful images, but they are always in the same gritty style. Pizzolo put all these elements together and although the results are not much like regular animation the film really feels animated. It probably will not entertain a regular crowd of people though, but don’t let that hold you back. It deserves a try at least and chances are you will sit through the whole film without a pain. Well… perhaps that is not the best choice of words but you probably catch my drift.