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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Frank Miller's "The Spirit" failwatch

   
Author Topic: Frank Miller's "The Spirit" failwatch
Samprimary
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Post relevant quotes from reviews of this movie as they appear. They should start dripping in today.
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pooka
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The preview for this movie looked really, really weird, and not necessarily appealing. It's like they couldn't decide what kind of movie they were pitching.
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Samprimary
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A crosspost:

quote:
Some guy said with Watchmen, no matter how good a film it is, you can tell so far that there is a respect for the original work there, and that from watching the trailer, at least you can tell they opened a copy and looked at the pretty pictures. but with the Spirit trailer, if he did not know any better he would not believe Frank Miller has ever read The Spirit.

None of his interviews do anything to reassure me either.

quote:
A final clip was shown, the first scene Miller pre-visualized and Miller said, "I took some liberties with the source material. I wanted to show how tough he is." The clip showed The Spirit and The Octopus beating each other endlessly with cinder blocks, punches, rebar and finally a toilet, which caused Jackson's character to crack up laughing and say, "Come on -- toilets are always funny!"
Ha ha ha! Whrssssszzzzzzzzz! That is onomatopoeia for will eisner making supersonic oscillations in his grave! Whrssssszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!! I sure do bet fans of the source work are going to love this movie!
No seriously everyone who has read The Spirit is absolutely positive that the movie is going to be a butchering of the source work and the trailers have been bad enough to have most people assured that the thing will be an absurd, overdramatic 'Frank Millerization' (drape the whole thing in CGI overlay and whores) to the point of self-parody.
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MightyCow
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From the previews I've seen, it looks like the "Snakes on a Plane" version of Sin City.
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Puffy Treat
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Frank Miller went on and on at the SDCC '06 Spirit panel about two things:

1. Doing a faithful adaptation of Will Eisner's The Spirit would actually be unfaithful, because only by being unfaithful can one be original. Therefore, his version is actually faithful!

2. The Spirit so totally had all sorts of sex with all of Eisner's femme fatales. He just -knows- it!

Of course, now he's planning to "Millerize" Buck Rogers. [Angst]

Um, yeah. Go back to doing a spit take on Batman and Robin, okay Frank?

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Nighthawk
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quote:
Originally posted by MightyCow:
From the previews I've seen, it looks like the "Snakes on a Plane" version of Sin City.

Guh... er... I'm sorry, I can't put those things together no matter how I try.

It must be *that* bad!

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Speed
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Is anyone here old enough to remember a time when Samuel L. Jackson's name in the credits made a movie seem cool?

Those were the days, eh?

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Nighthawk
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Well it's still cool, but in a campy sort of way.

I wonder if he'll die in this movie? [Wink]

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Puffy Treat
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It begins...
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Sterling
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quote:
Originally posted by Puffy Treat:
Of course, now he's planning to "Millerize" Buck Rogers. [Angst]

Um, yeah. Go back to doing a spit take on Batman and Robin, okay Frank?

I confess I don't have any huge sentimental attachments to Buck Rogers such that I fear for it being somehow defiled.

Eisner's work- from what I've seen of it- deserves a little more respect.

(Of course, my main experience of "Buck" was the eighties show, which in retrospect looks campier than all heck... So a "Millerasation" of that doesn't instill me with angst. If I were more familiar with its roots in the twenties and thirties, I might feel otherwise.)

[ December 20, 2008, 08:47 PM: Message edited by: Sterling ]

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Samprimary
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Jeremiah Kipp!
quote:
What's being pitched at the film's mostly-teenage fanbase is writer-director Frank Miller's adoration of women as sultry monuments of desire, mean streak nihilism, big guns, and portentous show-and-tell dialogue: "The city screams," whispers the Spirit, and then we hear a literal scream—just one of many examples of spoon-feeding that happen constantly throughout the film.
Kirk Honeycutt!
quote:
"The Spirit," graphic artist Frank Miller's first solo effort as a director after sharing credit with Robert Rodriguez on 2005's adaptation of his own "Sin City," has a single redeeming feature. It illustrates the limitations of the comic-book aesthetic on the big screen.

If we didn't realize this before, it's now clear: Movies must obey the immutable laws of cinema and cannot unfold like so many moving panels. For all its bold digital drawings, a comic-book movie must observe the narrative rhythms, scene construction, character development and dialogue delivery that cinema has honed for more than a century.

"Spirit" does none of this, and it is truly a mess.

Jondough!
quote:
For years now, I’ve owned a copy of “Battlefield Earth.” I’m not sure I need to explain to this crowd why, but for the newbs, I’ll go ahead and give it a shot. Both as someone who wants to make movies and one who just plain loves movies, I own movies that inform my ideas of what film could and should be. Films that share my sensibility, my ideas of romance, action, comedy, etc. Films that give that same gut reaction the 10th time you watch that they did the 1st. And then, there’s “Battlefield Earth,” which I own as the example of the opposite of everything I hold true. ...

And now I’ve seen something that has taken the top prize from “Battlefield Earth.”

Justin Chang!
quote:
If this summer's "The Dark Knight" raised the bar for seriousness, ambition and dramatic realism in the comicbook-based superhero genre, "The Spirit" reps its antithesis: Relentlessly cartoonish and campy, it's a work of pure digital artifice, feverishly committed to its own beautiful, hollow universe to the exclusion of any real narrative interest or engagement with its characters.
Ron Henriques!
quote:
I won't bore you with too many details or jokes because my job is to inform you on the quality of a feature, not do stand-up comedy. 'The Spirit' is a film that no matter how bad it looked or how bad I heard it was I still went into with an open mind. I wound up getting my mind blown and not in the fashion I like. This film is a complete mess from frame one and not even worth the film it was recorded on which should be burned immediately to save the participants from further embarrassment.

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Puffy Treat
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It illustrates the limitations of the comic-book aesthetic on the big screen.

If we didn't realize this before, it's now clear: Movies must obey the immutable laws of cinema and cannot unfold like so many moving panels. For all its bold digital drawings, a comic-book movie must observe the narrative rhythms, scene construction, character development and dialogue delivery that cinema has honed for more than a century.


Already, Miller has alienated potential new readers from the comic book medium, by creating the false impression that -this- film is what the actual Spirit comics were like. [Frown]

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Lyrhawn
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If "The Spirit" is like SOAP, I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Snakes on a Plane is perhaps the most awesomely bad movie EVER.

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Nighthawk
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quote:
For years now, I’ve owned a copy of "Battlefield Earth"...
Well I didn't need to read that any further.
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AvidReader
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Actually, his explanation why is pretty brilliant. Let's face it, we learn from failure.
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Puffy Treat
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
If "The Spirit" is like SOAP, I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Snakes on a Plane is perhaps the most awesomely bad movie EVER.

You obviously have not seen Skinwalkers yet. Did SoaP have a Gun-Toting Werewolf Granny?

I think NOT! [Big Grin]

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Corwin
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quote:
Originally posted by Puffy Treat:
You obviously have not seen Skinwalkers yet. Did SoaP have a Gun-Toting Werewolf Granny?

I think NOT! [Big Grin]

I am soooo gonna watch Skinwalkers! [Big Grin]
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Nighthawk:
quote:
For years now, I’ve owned a copy of "Battlefield Earth"...
Well I didn't need to read that any further.
Hey, I own a copy of Gigli. And I even like it.

And while Battlefield Earth may have been a horrible movie (I don't know; I only saw the first 10 minutes), the book was great fun. I've probably read it 4 times.

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Nighthawk
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quote:
Hey, I own a copy of Gigli. And I even like it.
Alas! I shun thee!
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Shmuel
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The full review of The Spirit isn't yet up, but Ebert's kindly provided a one-sentence teaser in the comments to a blog entry with a bunch of his favorite sentences from reviews, most of which gleefully shred something he was forced to endure...
quote:
The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson) heroically overacts, devouring the scenery as if following instructions from Gladstone, the British prime minister who attributed his success to chewing each bite 32 times.
Gigli was a fatally flawed movie, but it had a few good bits, and it's not even close to being among the Worst Films Ever. (It was very badly marketed, though.)
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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:

And while Battlefield Earth may have been a horrible movie (I don't know; I only saw the first 10 minutes), the book was great fun. I've probably read it 4 times.

Really? I often cite it as the most irredeemably horrible SF novel I've ever read. Different strokes, I guess.
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Puffy Treat
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quote:
Originally posted by Corwin:
I am soooo gonna watch Skinwalkers! [Big Grin]

My original post about "SkinWalkers", for the morbidly curious.
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Samprimary
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Finally we have the seminal Roger Ebert review.

quote:
"The Spirit" is mannered to the point of madness. There is not a trace of human emotion in it. To call the characters cardboard is to insult a useful packing material. The movie is all style -- style without substance, style whirling in a senseless void. The film's hero is an ex-cop reincarnated as an immortal enforcer; for all the personality he exhibits, we would welcome Elmer Fudd.

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Samprimary
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AV Club's Rabin!

quote:
The hard-boiled visual style of Sin City,with its comic book compositions, noirish black-and-white, and impressionistic splashes of color, now feels shopworn. Running gags limp and scenes drag on endlessly with little sense of rhythm, shape, or momentum. Miller’s screenplay oscillates sleepily between leaden camp, stumbling slapstick, and pulpy pseudo-poetry and Macht leaves a fatal charisma void in the lead role. Not even the presence of Jackson in a Nazi uniform late in the film can give this regrettable boondoggle a pulse. In comics, it took Miller decades to devolve into embarrassing self-parody. In film, he’s made that leap over the course of a single disastrous film.
quote:
The Spirit feels like the follow-up to Batman & Robin no one wanted. Main bad guy Samuel L. Jackson even spends much of the film indulging in egg-themed wordplay that almost inspires nostalgia for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s avalanche of ice puns in the unloved third Batman sequel.
San Francisco Chronicle!

quote:
There will be relationships that end because of this film, which ties with "Wild Wild West" as the worst first-date movie of all time. Even in these lean economic times, I would guess that somewhere between 25 and 35 percent of each audience will walk out before the movie is over. Throwing your $10.25 down a storm drain is a better idea; at least that way you won't feel the added self-loathing of wasting more than an hour and a half of your life watching Eva Mendes in the worst acting job of her career.
Mike Russel!

quote:
"The Spirit" is a loony, embarrassing mess that takes the late Will Eisner's classic comics creation and beats it senseless with a giant toilet bowl (literally, at one point).
quote:

The movie is a septic tank of vapid noir posturing, bad narration, bizarre pacing, cartoonishly hot femme fatales and ineptly staged slapstick -- in which The Spirit (Gabriel Macht) squares off against an ex-girlfriend turned jewel thief (Eva Mendes) and an eye-shadow- and Nazi-uniform-wearing villain named The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson) over some supernatural treasure.
There's not enough newsprint to document the endless, cover-your-face, can-I-get-a-refund foolishness that ensues. Miller gives George Lucas a run for his money in making Jackson and the rest of the cast (including Scarlett Johansson) look like dinner-theater thespians floundering in a world of green-screened art direction.
Try not to think about the fact that future Pixar directors Brad Bird and John Lasseter nearly made their own "Spirit" feature in the '80s, because that will only depress you. Eisner is probably spinning in his grave with enough force to burrow to the Earth's core.

hey wait that was my joke. Uh anyway


Elizabeth Weitzman!


quote:
Miller clearly wanted to make an impression, and that he does. Maybe it's better to be remembered for one of the worst movies of the year than forgotten for a mediocre one.
Michael Phillips!


quote:
We have our winning entry in the "worst scene in 2008 cinema" sweepstakes. It arrives halfway through the achingly poor screen version of "The Spirit," based on the comic book series begun in 1940 by artist and writer Will Eisner. In a Nazi vaudeville interlude, Samuel L. Jackson, dressed like Col. Klink with a monocle, shares the screen with Scarlett Johansson, dolled up as if rehearsals for a remake of "Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS" were starting any minute. They gas on about their plans for immortality, and Hercules' mystical blood, and various failed experiments while their prisoner, the masked, supernaturally hardy crime-fighter known as The Spirit, played by Gabriel Macht, sits there muttering how bored he is with their act. And how.



Steven Rea!

quote:
Hard-boiled and half-baked, The Spirit mashes vintage comic strips with new-fangled CGI, sucking the very life out of a mid-century pop icon in the process.
Frank Miller, who began his career as an artist for Marvel (Daredevil was one of his early assignments), now seems bent on transposing the multi-panel, word-balloon format of comic books to live-action film in the most soul-crushing ways.


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Puffy Treat
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Aargh. More people poisoned again Eisner's classic comics because of Miller's butcher job.
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BlackBlade
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Maybe it will be one of those, "It's so bad it's good movies." That seems to be the only shred of hope the movie has left.
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Puffy Treat
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Eric Snider!

quote:
Watching "The Spirit," it's hard to tell whether writer/director Frank Miller intended it as an homage to Will Eisner's classic comic book character, or whether Miller hated it and wanted to sully its reputation. You could make a strong case for either theory.

Miller, a comic book writer and artist himself, who created "Sin City" and co-directed the film version of it, has made a mess of "The Spirit." In his hands, the film -- his solo directorial debut -- is a befuddling wreck of disparate tones and styles, with broad slapstick one minute, arch-ironic dialogue the next, and supposedly thrilling action scenes after that. Worse, these (and other) elements are often crammed uncomfortably into the same scene, leading the viewer to wonder whether he is meant to be laughing at or with the film -- or, for that matter, whether he is supposed to be laughing at all.


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KarlEd
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Well, having seen it last night and not knowing much about it except having seen the teaser trailer a while back, I can say it's fully as bad as the critics above have painted it. blech!
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