Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Spirit

Here's one friendly advice: avoid this film - unless you like action scenes - and watch Sin City instead. While Frank Miller wanted us to enjoy this The Spirit, he, in this case, seems to be taking viewers for idiots. In fact, although the movie pretends that it has a story, it will make you laugh mostly because of its uninteresting characters. Too bad that it isn't as good as the trailer would like to make you believe given that the movie is shot mostly on green screen!

Based on a comic book strip by Will Eisner, the story is about Denny Colt, a dead police officer who was "resurrected". Now known as "the Spirit" with his eye-mask and his red tie, he "spies" for the policemen so that Central City can be a cleaner city. However, he has one desire/obsession, that is to kill The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), a criminal who wants to get hold of a vase containing Heracles' blood, which gives immortality to anyone who drinks it.

Make no mistake, this is the kind of movie that you should avoid even though the film uses more or less the same filming techniques than Sin City. In fact, there's certainly a premise that the movie exploits, that is the Spirit's desire to kill The Octopus. However, each of the main characters seem to be a mere ornament. This means that they're extremely stereotyped and one-dimensional. Moreover, their presence is only a way for Miller to have fun shooting action scenes and making an eye-candy film through its impressive gallery of beautiful actresses (Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes, Sarah Paulson and Stana Katic).

Obviously, although The Spirit is visually stunning without being as gritty as Sin City, it just has an extremely weak dramatic value. For instance, the character of Plaster of Paris (Paz Vega) appears shortly without being of much use to the story. Given the lack of dramatic interest that the movie generates, we can say that for most actors, their performance (i.e. their character's attitude) oddly seems to remain the same during all the film. The only actor who tries to stand out from the rest of the cast is Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction), but his character (who almost changes costumes as much as Canadian singer Nathalie Choquette does in her shows), doesn't remind you of what you probably saw in Pulp Fiction.

With that said, the problem with The Spirit, is the fact that the cast - despite its obvious enthusiasm at work - doesn't have characters who have nuances in their psyche. As if it wasn't enough, when there's no action scenes, the film gets so dull! With that said, despite being entertaining thanks to its action scenes, The Spirit's story is simply pathetic. Add to that the long periods, disconnected scenes and mindless dialogues. If you want to make a "nice investment", just avoid this film unless you like stories involving a good guy running after a bad guy without many elaborated reasons.

Rating: 2/5

The Spirit
USA (2008)
Length: 103 minutes
Genre: Action drama
Screenplay: Frank Miller
Director: Frank Miller
Starring: Gabriel Macht, Eva Mendes, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Sarah Paulson and Stana Katic

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