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30 Minutes of Frank Miller's The Spirit Reviewed

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  • With the economy this bad I guess movies that show crime are going to be more profitable then usual.
  • by Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @09:54AM (#25988109) Homepage
    I've seen the trailers, and if Miller does everything right, The Spirit could be an awesome work of film noir. Or it might suck harder than the new Guns 'n Roses album.
  • I've seen the trailer for The Spirit a few times and it looks like a knock off of The Shadow. I did a bit of looking around and couldn't find much in the way of comparisons but I was just curious, from someone who knows, is that an accurate thought? The costuming and 'tone' of the trailer makes me think of The Shadow, but not knowing much about The Spirit, I could be way off.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kalirion (728907)

      Don't forget The Phantom. These are all based on old comic book heroes, which seem to follow a certain pattern. I wouldn't be surprised if there were also The Shade, The Ghost, The Poltergeist, etc....

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As a comic geek, I've read my fair share of Miller Stories and Eisner stories (Will Eisner's the creator of The Spirit, for anyone who might not know). I like both types, but form what I can see of the movie, it's not going to be Eisner's Spirit that we see.

      I have no idea whether or not the movie is going to be any good, but it certainly will not have the wit and light-heartedness of it's source material. Eisner's Spirit was a goofily flawed hero who spent as much time trying to figure things out and gett

      • Eisner's Spirit always seemed happy.

        I dunno'. He didn't seem all that happy when P'Gell was working him over with a brick.

        But then Denny did keep coming back for more, so who knows, maybe he was happy. :)

      • by OakDragon (885217)

        ...form what I can see of the movie, it's not going to be Eisner's Spirit that we see.

        And don't expect to see Ebony White [photobucket.com] - at least without some kind of make-over.

    • by kcitren (72383)
      It is a knockoff, kinda. Both the Shadow and the Spirit were late 30's comic books. Shadow came out a year or two before the Spirit.
  • by genner (694963) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @10:06AM (#25988203)
    This will be bad. I mean really horribly bad. I mean crawl under the covers and watch the Star Wars Christmas Special bad. You may have thought the Matrix sequels were bad but that's peanuts to this.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Todd Fisher (680265)
      Why do you hate Life Day?
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by ProppaT (557551)

      Of course it will be terrible. Have you seen the other Frank Miller films? And the thing is, this one doesn't even look like it might have promise.

      • Hell, I'll take something Frank Miller writes over anything that Stan Lee has had anything to do with...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ProppaT (557551)

          I don't have any problem with Frank Miller's writing...he did some of my favorite comic book writing of all time when he worked on the Daredevil...I just have issues with the crappy movies. It reminds me of how MTV ruined The Maxx when they decided to animate it.

          • I really like them, they seem to capture the source material way better than other comic to film transfers. Just look to the works of Alan Moore for proof of how bad they can get.
          • You should have a problem with Frank Miller's writing. He did great work 15-20 years ago. His more recent work (past 5 years or so) has been utterly atrocious. Seriously, have you read All Star Batman and Robin?
            • by TRex1993 (1135915)

              Seriously, have you read All Star Batman and Robin?

              Or compared The Dark Knight Returns to the Dark Knight Strikes Back? What a let-down...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ethicalBob (1023525)
        Hmm.. Methinks thou complains too much...

        Miller has only been credited as a Director on the Sin City projects, and now The Spirit.

        Sin City was great, and a good enough adaptation of his work that he co-produced, DID take a director's credit and is now going on to make a sequel with Rodriguez.

        So whose opinion is more valuable here: Miller's, who has created a huge body or amazing work, or the boxer-short clad /. troll?

        hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....
    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @11:39AM (#25989269)

      I remember reading a Spirit graphic novel called Life on Another Planet many years ago, but I certainly dont remember lots of sexy ladies and hammy dialogue. Is anything in this movie actually a Spirit story or done in the style of Will Eisner? The Spirit stuff I remember is introspective and smart, not the flashy-trashy stuff Miller now specializes in. For a minute I thought this trailer was for a sequel to his Sin City movie.

      • by PCM2 (4486)

        I remember reading a Spirit graphic novel called Life on Another Planet many years ago

        That was by Spirit creator Will Eisner, but it did not feature the Spirit characters.

        but I certainly dont remember lots of sexy ladies and hammy dialogue.

        The Spirit comics have some measure of both, but it's handled with infinitely more style and subtlety than could be ever be distilled from the morbidly stunted gray matter of Frank Miller. For a guy who claims to be one of Eisner's best buddies, he seems determined to shit all over everything the man stood for.

        For a good comparison of the approaches of the two men, look for the book Eisner/Miller, published by Dark Horse

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday December 04, 2008 @10:07AM (#25988211)
    I just pray it's even half as good as the film adaptation of The Phantom [wikipedia.org].
    • My impression was The Phantom was abysmal, worse than The Shadow. From the stills and the trailer The Spirit is -not- Will Eisner's character. Instead we be shown a new character created by Miller who looks like The Spirit and may have some superficial similarities with Eisner's character. They have used the name and the look of the character and nothing else.
      • by jdgeorge (18767)

        "The weed of evil bears bitter fruit." - The Shadow.

        I thoroughly enjoyed The Shadow. I don't know if it was Penelope Ann Miller, Tim Curry, Ian McKellan, or Penelope Ann Miller, but I really thought it was pretty cool. Oh, and there were some pretty nice (for the time) special effects. And Alec Baldwin did a pretty good job, too. The story was coherent, sufficiently ridiculous, funny, stylized, and felt on the mark for the "spirit" of The Shadow radio show.

        The Phantom, on the other hand, had Billy Zane in a

  • by olddotter (638430) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @10:22AM (#25988359) Homepage
    I think I liked it because it was stylized and was really like a comic book brought to life. Not sure if I will like this movie as well, but I will definitely watch it to find out.
    • I think I liked it because it was stylized and was really like a comic book brought to life. Not sure if I will like this movie as well, but I will definitely watch it to find out.

      And the nudity. Wait, did I just say that out loud?

  • question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday December 04, 2008 @10:27AM (#25988413) Homepage
    Am I the only one who finds Miller really overrated?
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by oahazmatt (868057)

      Am I the only one who finds Miller really overrated?

      No. But then I've read DK2 [wikipedia.org].

    • Re:question (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jfengel (409917) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:30PM (#25990065) Homepage Journal

      No. I find his work visually attractive but stultifyingly misogynistic. I hate the way it glorifies violence. I'm familiar with it mostly from films rather than the books, but the films seem to hew very closely to the books.

      Sin City is the only film I've walked out of in disgust. 300 was beautiful but best viewed with the sound off because the dialogue was incredibly stupid.

      • by solios (53048)

        Me, I enjoy his linework and composition*.... I just really, REALLY wish he'd come out of the damned closet with his blatant bondage fetish.

        I'm down with excessive violence... what I'm tired of is the boring-ass no-purpose "pornography of violence" that's fills out the runtime of a film more than it fleshes out the story.**

        * There are comics I read for Story (Appleseed, The Invisibles, Transmetropolitan, Watchmen, etc) and then there are comics I buy strictly for the visuals (some of Miller's stuff, Battle

      • Nailed it in one. "Stultifyingly misogynistic" is a perfect summary of Frank Miller. I read the Sin City comics, to see if the movie was worth watching. The main character was a Punisher retread, and the only people he interacted with, besides men he killed, were women dressed as whores with excessively large breasts. There was never a panel depicting any other person, despite the fact that there were numerous nominally city settings. They were the emptiest cities I've ever seen. Non-whorish women and

  • by internerdj (1319281) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @10:38AM (#25988549)
    I can't wait for the other 2.5 installments of this review...
  • I mean, I know the economy is hard on everyone right now, but you'd think he'd have waited until he could see the entire movie.

    Quick, let's raise a collection so he can review the entire thing!

  • by hrieke (126185)

    Is a great writer and artist.
    He totally sucks when it comes to making movies, IMHO.
    I think he's too in-love with CGI to be effective in his movies- what he does well on the page of a comic book doesn't translate to the big silver screen.

    • by mmkkbb (816035)

      How are people judging him on his skill as a director, when he's only ever directed one other film which was co-directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino?

      • by Shinmizu (725298)
        Oh, if only people had had the foresight to judge Uwe Boll on his skills as a director after only his first film and stop him before he amassed a great dark power that made his continued direction unstoppable!
  • by Smuttley (126014)

    Hmm, film is released in less than a month and journos are shown a sneak peak of 30 minutes worth of clips?

    That sounds like the studio has seen it, it's not good, and they are shitting themselves. Best thing to do is get the hype machine rolling with some choice clips to the press.

    Hell I could pick 30 minutes of clips from 300 to make it look like a promising film but when you watch the whole film it's pretty boring. My guess is this is going to be the same deal.

    Shame, because I loved Sin City :(

    • by D Ninja (825055)

      Hell I could pick 30 minutes of clips from 300 to make it look like a promising film but when you watch the whole film it's pretty boring. My guess is this is going to be the same deal.

      Did you watch the same 300 that I did?

      Granted, it wasn't factually accurate (I *really* wish that had told the true story of the traitor...way cooler than what they showed) and it definitely had a bit of fantasy to it, but I'm not sure I'd call 300 "boring."

      • by Fallingcow (213461) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:22PM (#25989947) Homepage

        In fact, I'd call it one of the truest representations of the ancient Greek epic storytelling style to ever see the big screen. Since I'm guessing that was the whole point, I'm gonna go ahead and call the movie really damn good, not just as an action movie, but as an expression of art.

        Disagree? Go look at the fight scenes in the Iliad and watch the movie again with that in mind. The somewhat fantastic animals, the way the heroes were larger-than-life, the fights over a fallen comrade, the caricatured enemy--it is exactly the way you'd expect a somewhat-talented ancient Greek storyteller to handle the tale.

        Is it Homer? No. The story itself isn't as good. Is it a story about ancient Greece, told with impressive fidelity to the style of dramatic art popular in that time period? Hell yes. If that was the film makers' goal, then I'd say they nailed it.

        I'd love to see The Iliad done in a similar style, gods and all. It'd be glorious. The Odyssey's another matter, but then it always read more like a modern novel to me, anyway.

        • Are you confusing 300 with The Illiad? Those are two different stories. One is fictional (well, maybe based on an actual event), the other is based on an acknowledged historical event. If you want to see a close approximation of what happened during the battle of Thermolply(spelling is wrong) pick up a copy of Larry Gonick's "History of the Universe". That is MUCH better than anything in 300. 300 is pure crap as far as historical accuracy.
          • I'm not confusing anything. Re-read my post. I'm pretty sure the point of 300 wasn't historical accuracy, but to show a story of a real event being told with the embellishments and other characteristics of ancient Greek storytelling. If that was indeed the goal of the film makers, then they did a damn good job IMO.

            The fantastic elements and caricatures of the enemy are a fit for this sort of folk-history storytelling, and my reason for bringing up the Iliad is that the battle scenes in 300 are composed o

        • by Chris Burke (6130)

          In fact, I'd call it one of the truest representations of the ancient Greek epic storytelling style to ever see the big screen. Since I'm guessing that was the whole point, I'm gonna go ahead and call the movie really damn good, not just as an action movie, but as an expression of art.

          Disagree? Go look at the fight scenes in the Iliad and watch the movie again with that in mind. The somewhat fantastic animals, the way the heroes were larger-than-life, the fights over a fallen comrade, the caricatured enemy-

          • I think it was Chekov (not the Star Trek guy!) who said something akin to "if you call attention to a pistol hanging on the wall in Act I, then you had better fire it before the end of Act III".

            I think the only people who actully like Frank Miller's writing are people who read comic books more than any other kind of book.

            I am not trying to start a flame war. I have been an avid reader/collector of comics for decades. I used to have a complete set of Spider-man, Daredevil, the Journey Into Mystery issues

        • The somewhat fantastic animals, the way the heroes were larger-than-life, the fights over a fallen comrade, the caricatured enemy--it is exactly the way you'd expect a somewhat-talented ancient Greek storyteller to handle the tale.

          Actually, the last three cliches are exactly the way I'd expect any mediocre storyteller to handle the tale.

          "Somewhat fantastic animals" are not especially characteristic of ancient Greece either.

          • The somewhat fantastic animals, the way the heroes were larger-than-life, the fights over a fallen comrade, the caricatured enemy--it is exactly the way you'd expect a somewhat-talented ancient Greek storyteller to handle the tale.

            ...

            "Somewhat fantastic animals" are not especially characteristic of ancient Greece either.

            Typical of ancient Greek storytelling however, which I think was the point. Minotaurs, chimera, hydra, harpy, hippogriff and so on.

        • by bogjobber (880402)

          In fact, I'd call it one of the truest representations of the ancient Greek epic storytelling style to ever see the big screen.

          Maybe you're correct, because the style was the only reason to go see it, as it had absolutely no substance. Glorifying a fascist, militaristic society. Intentionally misleading thing suchs as calling Athenians "boy lovers". All of the characters were unlikeable (even Leonidas), the story was laughably disconnected with the real one (I guess that was the point though?) and the

          • Haha, all true, though some of it does make sense. The glorification of a fascist society and the inaccurate insults toward other cultures can be chalked up to the narrator's views, which are steeped in Spartan ignorance and militarism.

            The lack of likable characters is actually pretty common in ancient Greek writing, too. Just about every important character in The Iliad was a dick, with the possible exception of Hector. The plays of the great tragedians are full of assholes and morons, too.

            As for the co

        • by godglike (643670)

          Having actually read The Iliad recently, 300 is better. Both movie and book.

          A movie of The Iliad would be eye-gougingly repetitive.

          • Yeah, you'd actually have to cut out some of the fighting to get it down to 300's action/story ratio, which some people already said was too high :)

      • One man's meat is another man's poison.

        I too found 300 to be boring.

        Much of that is probably due to my love for history. I found it terrible that they left out the influence of the Thespians and Thebans and possibly others who were present and all of whom outnumbered the Spartans.

        In much the same way I am not as excited as I should be about the upcoming Valkyrie. Count von Stauffenberg was missing an arm as well as an eye. I can see Tom Cruise running and leaping about Deutschland like some modern day

        • Well, I watched the movie then rea the comics. I found the movie refreshing - yes, it glorifies violence, and more, it displays violence as a form of art. If you don't like that - you're not going to enjoy the movie.

          Of course, don't go for any historical accuracy. There is none. But it makes sense in the context of the movie. It is being told from the eyes - well, one eye really ;) - of a spartan soldier. It is obvious he would raise the Spartan feats and those of his king to a demigod standard, and portr

          • violence as a form of art

            I've been eating that stuff up ever since 1972 when Five Fingers of Death was shown at the California theatre in Berkeley, California. The next year Enter The Dragon was released and the entire country was eating that stuff up.

            Yes, I like "violence as a form of art"; however, I insist that it be done well. Gratuitous violence is just...gratuitious violence. The art of creating art implies that the reader/viewer is connected emotionally with at least one of the characters. With

            • I respectfully disagree. I was emotionally connected to the story itself - the story of 300 men fighting to death a war they knew they couldn't win. And while the characters were undoubtedly shallow, I found they somewhat believable.
      • by Abreu (173023)

        I have been told that you need to be gay to fully appreciate 300 [ducks!]

        • by OakDragon (885217)

          I have been told that you need to be gay to fully appreciate 300

          I was in quite the lighthearted mood when I saw it!

  • After raping the Spartans, now he's going after the story of ol' Oedipus?

    Creepy tagline. If they want to get all incestuous, they could at least crib from my old sig:

    They say that cat Oedipus is one bad mother--
    Shut your mouth!
    But I'm just talkin' 'bout Oedipus!
    Then we can dig it!

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Fallingcow (213461)

      Oh, shit, you're the one who had that sig? One of my favorites!

      I've been meaning to ask you whether your current one is original, and if not, where you found it. I've Googled, but to no avail.

  • Not a review (Score:5, Insightful)

    by liquiddark (719647) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:18PM (#25989885)
    There is a difference between a review and a recap of the action. This "review" contains no actual critical discussion. All that the guy has done is recap what he saw. I'm sure it's interesting if you're looking for spoilers, but it's pretty much as unhelpful as you can get in determining the quality of the pic and whether or not it's worth seeing.
  • From what I have read and seen, it looks like Frank Miller is turning the work of Will Eisner into Sin City. Couldn't he just have done a straight adaptation?

    I mean, there's a reason the award they give for excellence in comics is called the "Eisner Awards."
    • Tru dat. I loved Sin City, and I loved the Spirit--but they're entirely different genres. Anybody familiar with Eisner's Spirit knows that it wasn't some ultra-violent film noir kind of thing. It started off as being vaguely super-hero-ish, but over time, The Spirit became almost a supporting character. The stories were sort of little slice-of-life kinds of things, some humorous, some dramatic, some off-the-wall. However, they were not grim "My city screams" sorts of things. I'll end up seeing the mov
  • ...from Miller, explaining why he spent years refusing deals for filming Sin City, claming he was afraid that the director wouldn't be faithful to the comic book's spirit (pun not intended), and now is perfectly confortable in imposing his own view of The Spirit over Eisner's.

    I'm not questioning here if the movie will be good or not. I'm just wondering if he ever tried to explain why he's not being completely hypocritical.

    • by solios (53048)

      Dude. Reality check. Frank Miller is alive. The living need money, and movies pay a lot better than comics.

      And Will Eisner is dead. As I'm sure Bryan Herbert would tell you, it doesn't matter what the dead may have wanted done with their work. The only thing that matters is the money to be made from their creative corpse.

    • I'm not questioning here if the movie will be good or not. I'm just wondering if he ever tried to explain why he's not being completely hypocritical.

      His blog: http://www.mycityscreams.com/index2.html?swf=blog [mycityscreams.com]

      Much has been the fuss in the comicsâ(TM) blogosphere about my SPIRIT movie - much justified, much hoped for, and much to my delight, that there has been a fuss at all. Some comics readers are terrified that THE SPIRIT will be a retread of my SIN CITY. Others quarrel over the change of the SPIRITâ(TM)S traditional blue hat, mask, and jacket, to black. These are understandable concerns for any lover of Will Eisnerâ(TM)s masterpiece. I take this opportunity to address these concerns. With glee, I take this opportunity.

      THE SPIRIT is, with every effort I give it, not a rusty, dusty old monument to the work of my beloved Mentor, so much as it is an extension of what I know to have been Eisnerâ(TM)s central intent: to create something new, witty, and exploratory. Thatâ(TM)s what he did. Thatâ(TM)s what Iâ(TM)m doing.

      It only resembles SIN CITY in that I am its director, and, well, yes, I have my ways and my proclivities. Luckily, I was able to discern three important proclivities I share with the Master. We both love good stories. We both love New York City. And we both love beautiful women.

      (Please forgive my constant present-tense references to my dear friend. His creative force, and his force of personality, remains so strong in my mind that I canâ(TM)t often think of Will Eisner as a man who has left us.)

      Now, about that blue suit.

      Comic books have long traditions based on the limitations of pre-digital printing. Among these are traditions from the old newsprint-run-through-letterpress approach (yes, comics have been?and still doâ"follow tradition that dates all the way back to Gutenberg!). Bad printing on pulp paper is why it was necessary for every superhero to have his emblem printed on his chest, and that everything thatâ(TM)s black be printed in blue. Hence Supermanâ(TM)s preposterous blue hair. And the Spiritâ(TM)s blue hat, mask, and suit.

      In tests?and we did several?the blue made the Spirit look like an unfortunate guest at a Halloween party. Going to black brings back his essential mystery, his Zorro-like sexiness. It also makes that red tie of his look very, very cool. So I made the call, with all respect to Eisnerâ(TM)s creation, and most importantly, to what I perceived as his underlying intention. It was an easy call for me to make. The Spirit dresses in black, and looks much the better for it. As I said, my desire was never to slavishly follow the rules of â(TM)40s printing into campy oblivion, but to reintroduce Eisnerâ(TM)s creation, via modern technology, to our brave new world.

      And THE SPIRIT as some sort of SIN CITY REDUX? No, SIN CITY, that oneâ(TM)s my own baby, folks, and it looks the way it does for its own reasons. THE SPIRIT is, and will always be, Eisnerâ(TM)s SPIRIT. Anybody watching me on the set could attest that I very frequently drew a storyboard for a given shot first as I saw it, then as Will might?ve seen in?and, in every case, went with what I saw as Willâ(TM)s version.

      To drive the point home, THE SPIRIT, despite any accidental impression left by that kickass teaser-trailer, is a full-color movie. SIN CITY?and I hope to make of it a movie trilogy all its own, come Hell and high water?is, visually, a playhouse for black and white.

      THE SPIRITâ(TM)s been one hell of an adventure, one thatâ(TM)s made me love the world of comics more than ever.

      Iâ(TM)m confident that itâ(TM)s going to be one hell of a good movie.

      FM

  • Frank Miller adapting Will Eisner makes about as much sense as Sam Peckinpah adapting Jeeves and Wooster.

    When Quentin Tarantino made Jackie Brown from Elmore Leonard's Rum Punch, people were all "dazzled" by how brilliant it was, this fusing of two great dialogue masters. Personally, I found that Tarantino's choices, starting with moving the story out of Miami and working right on through the list, did nothing more than systematically eliminate everything that made the book charming and great. In the end,

  • Bleh I hope it's not like Sin City, that movie sucked big time. But from the trailers unfortunately it pretty much looks like a Sin City knockoff.
  • Story tagged "whores"

    http://www.shortpacked.com/d/20060207.html [shortpacked.com]

  • Though he is one the best comic book writers alive today, ( I disown All Star Batman and Robin)I'm not entirely sure of Frank Miller's competence as a director. Sin City was good but I'm pretty sure Robert Rodriguez helped a lot.

From Sharp minds come... pointed heads. -- Bryan Sparrowhawk

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