Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Movie Review - The Spirit


So, let me forward this review by saying, that while I read comics as a child, I really read the “girlie” comics, like Archie, Richie Rich, Casper and Wendy (my knowledge of which recently won me a trivia contest!) and others of that ilk. My brothers, of course, read all the super hero comics and sometimes I would share them, but in no way was a big follower. However, today, I am a huge fan of comic book movies and I go out of my way to see them.

So, when I saw the video of The Spirit was available, I was very interested, despite never having even heard of the comic book series written in the 1940’s by Will Eisner. I should also say that I have not seen Sin City which was another of Frank Miller’s films in this genre, so I went into the movie with a pretty blank slate as to expectations.

Title: The Spirit
Directed by: Frank Miller
Starring: Gabriel Macht
Video Release date: April 14, 2009

This movie is beautifully filmed and it is obvious that it is Frank Miller’s work. It was highly stylized to reflect the 1940’s comic book feel. The special effects were amazing as it seamlessly moved from animation to reality and back. Miller was first able to make the audience feel the comic book and then slowly brought the characters to life and off the pages. If you really enjoy that style, and I normally do, then I recommend seeing the film, just for those reasons.

However, the silliness factor of the action and overacting by Samuel L. Jackson distracted me too much to enjoy this film beyond the cinematography. I have read reviews by fans of the comic book series and most of them couldn’t make it past 30 minutes of the film. The storyline was plausible, but the action was reminiscent of the old Batman and Robin television series. I understand and enjoy good “campy”, but this movie took it just a little overboard.

So, can I recommend this film to you? Yes and no. Watch it for the cinematography and the beautiful costumes. Be prepared for very campy action and over dramatic acting. I did watch the entire piece and didn’t feel like my time was wasted; it is just not something I would ever watch again.

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