Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The Top Ten Things I learned from The Spirit
The latest flick to catch up on for me this past weekend,courtesy of Netflix,was The Spirit. Based on the classic Will Eisner comic book and directed by graphic novel auteur Frank Miller,the hero of the piece is Denny Colt(Gabriel Macht),a policeman brought back from the dead who now uses his strangely acquired powers of fast healing and resilience to fight crime.
The Spirit's major target is The Octopus(Samuel L. Jackson),who when he's not checking the profits on his massive drug cartel or creating cloned henchmen,is plotting to become immortal by stealing an ancient artifact and using it's contents to make himself a god. Aided by Silken Floss(Scarlett Johansson),The Octopus is determined to destroy The Spirit and vice versa.
As exciting and promising as this match up is,the end results are rather a mixed bag. For one thing, Macht is rather bland as a leading man and while a decent actor,he doesn't have the personal charisma to hold his own against a powerhouse like Jackson(who camps things up at the drop of a hat here).
While I get the need to have a non celeb in the role,a stronger cast choice might have made all the difference. The ultimate let down of the film can't be totally placed on Macht's shoulders;the sinker is the mix and the match of the story telling style.
Based on the early trailers for the film,you might reasonably be inclined to expect a visually enhancing,gritty noir romp that Miller is best known for.
While the look of the film is outstanding,the tone is a blend of the occasionally corny humor from the original comics and slightly modernized but heavily period piece influenced plotting of Miller. The uneven tones don't quite gel together,making certain scenes meant to be darkly humorous off putting and characterizations becoming flatter than cardboard.
The strongest part of the film is the flashback to the childhood romance of The Spirit and Sand Saref(the grown up version well played by Eva Mendes)and if the movie had been able to maintain some of the sincere tone,things could have turned out better.
While I don't regret seeing this movie,it's doubtful that I would be willing to watch it again. The Spirit makes for a good rental but don't give up hope for Frank Miller as a director just yet,folks. As the Octopus would say,you need to break some eggs and a few heads before you make an omelet that won't get a glob on your face(I know that sounds weird,but it makes sense if you see the movie,sort of).
Anyway,here are the Top Ten things that you can learn from The Spirit:
10) Sometimes it's best to just shut up and bleed.
9) Two out of three goons agree that Silken Floss is the most beautiful woman ever.
8)Idiotic henchmen are not worth talking to for very long.
7) You can tell if diamonds are real or not by the way they catch the light.
6) There's strange women and then there's Plaister of Paris.
5) An Elektra complex is like an Oedipal complex,only for girls.
4) The Angel of Death won't be denied forever.
3) Bad guys may have guns and knives,but that's no match for having the city as your weapon of choice:
2) Working for an archvillian is a great way to pay for your Ph.D:
1) The love of your life may wear that token of affection you gave her long ago every now and then,but that doesn't mean she's your girl:
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