Friday, 2 January 2009

Gods Bless Eva Mendes...

I just got back from seeing 'The Spirit'.


There was a matinee show at my local cinema, and I sat in an audience of about fifty people of ages ranging from 12 to about 70.

It was interesting to note that the first people to walk out were three teenagers, followed shortly afterwards (and independently) by two senior citizens. Five more people left before the end, but one returned, so given an audience of fifty that meant that eighteen per cent of the audience hated it enough to go out early into the cold.

I remained, if only out of morbid curiousity, and was never so happy to see a movie's end credits in my life. By the end of the film, I was actually able to predict the dialogue before it was spoken (and I'm good, but not that good).

But surely there were some high points? I hear you ask, your pre-booked tickets awaiting collection.

Well, yes there were, but sadly not enough. Scarlett Johansson and Eva Mendes were excellent as Silken Floss and Sand Saref, Ms. Mendes every bit the femme fatale of Will Eisner's vision, and who stole every scene in which she appeared.

Dan Lauria was his usual solid self as Commissioner Dolan; Louis Lombardi as the cloned henchmen added some good comic touches.

Samuel L. Jackson was, well, Samuel L. Jackson, only in funny clothes. Stana Katic, Paz Vega and Jaime King, though pleasing to the eye, were superfluous characters who didn't advance the plot in any meaningful way.

And then there's Gabriel Macht. Hero-shaped, he fit the role of The Spirit as well as could be expected.

If anything, the cast were let down by the material. I have the greatest respect and admiration for Frank Miller as a graphic novelist and artist, a medium to which I hope he'll return, but this story did credit to nobody. Where it should have been a darkly-comic noir, it opted instead for an almost camp tone, with occasional bouts of introspective flashback.

And I never knew The Spirit kept cats (a metaphor, perhaps?)...

All in all, it's not a movie I'll be seeing again, nor adding to my DVD collection.

I leave the rest to your judgement.

6 comments:

PJ said...

I had been thinking of seeing this movie tomorrow, but maybe I'll wait for the DVD...

Captain Incredible said...

Then my work here is done...

:)

Lee said...

I have not heard one positive thing about this film until reading your thoughts, kudos for finding something... anything to say nice about this film :)

I think I might go see my cousin Larry over this one if only to feel like I haven't been cheated.

In fairness too I'm not a huge fan of the comic book either so it doesn't even have that going for it!!

Captain Incredible said...

They've started running promos on TV here in Ireland and the UK.

Apparently critics are calling it "The movie of the year" (they don't say which year) and "Heart-stopping entertainment" (I suppose that could be true) among other things.

I started reading DC's new Spirit comic seeing as Darwyn Cooke was involved, and it gave me a better appreciation of the Eisner original - but this doesn't do justice to either...

Lee said...

I've been intrigued when I see the issues in the comic book store and I think to myself that's probably really good.

But then I weigh it up in that I like the idea probably more than the execution.

I think then that the Spirit is like The Phantom and the Shadow, I love the idea of them but find it hard to sit and read them.

Captain Incredible said...

Curious, but I kind of agree - the character is something of a legend and the image you build up in your mind never lives up to the reality.

I enjoyed reading The Phantom in the newspaper when I was a kid but comicbooks never really broke through until I was in my early twenties, and then I kind of stuck with Batman and Green Lantern.

But when the movies of The Phantom and The Shadow came along, I was pleasantly surprised - okay, The Shadow was a little, well, camp, but overall neither of them were too bad.

But I had such high hopes for The Spirit. The thing is, the comicbook is really good, both the original and the reincarnation. It's just Miller that lets it all down...

Damn.