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Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » The Spirit (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy and BD Live) (2008) » User review

Not Sin City or even 300, by any means

  • Apr 27, 2009
Frank Miller writing and directing and a big time cast -- what's not to like? Pretty much everything, sadly.

I really love the movie Sin City and found The 300 quite enjoyable the first few times I watched it, so I have been waiting for this on Blu Ray for some time.

Let's start with the positives, because sadly there are few of them. We have a generally first class ensemble of actors, all of who have done credible work in their careers. Given the provenance of this movie, who among them didn't tell their agents to do whatever it took to get them in this movie, because it should have been formidable. We have a rehash of the same animation techniques that were so riveting and plot enhancing in Sin City. Sadly that's about it.

Frank Miller does not seem to understand Directing 101 -- the art of putting a point of interest in the frame and keeping it there. He does not seem to be able to communicate what he wants to his good cast.

We learn at the beginning our hero really loves "his city"; and at the end, we learn he really loves his city . . . and he's 'the Spirit' of the city. What that means or why he loves it, I haven't a clue, nor is it apparent why he no longer either loves his former wife and current doctor (how does it work out that she sews him up? does she still think he's dead? does the simple mask keep her from telling?) We never can be sure in this muddle. And what about the childhood sweetheart who abandoned our young hero for the fast life of big time theft and multiple marriages? Does our hero still love her? All we know is he loves his city.

This is a movie which simply can't decide whether it's a stylish film noir drama or camp. The characters are constantly interrupted by having to say or react to lines that are clumsy and exactly opposite the emotion the movie has spent the previous 5 minutes laboriously trying to establish. We have a bad guy who dissolves white persian kittens -- how bad is that? In fact, my dog did like the fact there were some many cats in the movie, and she retained her interest better than the rest of the family. Samuel L. Jackson as a Nazi -- what an incredibly far-fetched and bad idea -- with no satisfactory explanation. "He is what he is."

Lines are bad, and self-contradicting dialog is sprayed like submachine gun fire. There are ideas which must have been an attempt at parody, but one is too confused and distracted to get them, because one is obsessed ferociously tryng to understand who is doing what to whom and why one should care. To give you an idea of the emotional chasms we are trying to navigate here, imagine Adam West as the Batman in the original Godfather, while Smokey and the Bandit run through it.

While the animation and sets were usefully dark and foreboding in Sin City, in this movie they are ludicrous . . . more like "The Spy Who Shagged Me", filmed in black, pitch black, dark black, charcoal gray and white. Sin City was actually much more effective in my opinion as animation.

I'm sure there are worse "big budget" movies in the past, but it's so hard for me to remember one at the moment. My advice is unless you really know the original material (comic books), take a pass on this film. It's a couple of hours of confusion interrupted by boredom.

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Ranked #1114
Ilive in a small town in East Texas, where I'm happily married, work in a intereting job, but still try to find time to indulge passions for cooking and dining, music, the arts, and reading. I mix and … more
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About this movie


Above shadowy, crime-infested streets a masked avenger watches. Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht) was one of Central City’s finest cops until a gangster’s bullet ended his life. Now Fate has brought him back from the beyond as The Spirit, a street-hardened hero who faces off against seductive foes like the voluptuous Sand Saref (Eva Mendes) and the alluring Silken Floss (Scarlett Johansson). Then, of course, there’s his evil archenemy, The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), with a mission to wipe out Spirit’s beloved city as he pursues his own version of immortality in this graphic action-thriller.

Beyond The Spirit on DVD

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Director: Frank Miller
DVD Release Date: April 14, 2009
Runtime: 108 minutes
Studio: Lions Gate
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