Cybersurfing: Spirit Premiere and Review

Gabriel Macht

Gabriel Macht

Daily Variety offers an account of the premiere of THE SPIRIT at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on Friday, followed by a party afterward at the Roosevelt Hotel. Describing writer-director Frank Miller’s adaptation of Will Eisner’s comic book hero, Lionsgate exec Michael Paseornek proclaims that the film is “shot the way you read a comic book with all the impact and power.” Actor Samuel L. Jackson adds that Miller encouraged him to go over the top:

Speaking for the thesps, Samuel L. Jackson said his main goal while filming was to make Miller laugh. “He told me I could play it as large as I wanted,” Jackson said. “After that I was going for Vincent Price as Dr. Phibes.”

There will not be much laughter from Miller if he reads Hollywood Reporter’s review of the THE SPIRIT, which proclaims, “The Frank Miller Experience goes terribly awry.”

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. Fans of “Sin City” and “300″ will populate theaters for the film’s opening, but boxoffice will fall quickly. The film’s campiness might then pull in a different sort of aficionados — those who celebrate films such as “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” for their silly acting and overripe dialogue. 

About the Author

Steve Biodrowski

Cinefantastique's Los Angeles Correspondent from 1987 to 1993 and West Coast Editor from 1993 to 1999. Currently the webmaster of Cinefantastique Online, I also run a website called Hollywood Gothique that covers Halloween Horror and Sci-Fi Cinema Events in the Los Angeles area.

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