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The Spirit - Blu-ray Review

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To appreciate Frank Miller as a feature film director one must first appreciate Frank Miller as a comic book artist. His artistic contributions in the comic community are wide-spread and certainly the public who enjoys this new wave of serious-minded comic book action movies (from The Dark Knight to Spider-Man) owes him much respect; he's the mad genius that brought these emotional arcs into the comic book realm and without them there would be little humanity to connect our much celebrated heroes with. That being said, every genius has an inspiration and, for Frank Miller, that inspiration was the cinematography in the inked panels of Will Eisner's The Spirit.

Understand this about The Spirit: it is not a sequel nor does it have anything to do with Robert Rodriguez's Sin City. Yes, that is correct; Central City is not THE Sin City despite how it was advertised by the studio back around Christmas of 2008. While there are some yes, some similarities in the artistry of these two films, once you sit down and actually watch The Spirit, you will notice the differences both in its vision and its tone as The Spirit is a more finished or complete - film than Sin City. The much-booed-and-hissed and kicked-around film of Frank Miller's directing debut actually pushes the visual envelope once sent to the audience by Sin City even further; its golden hue of memories in the flashback scene - is richly inviting and provides a stark contrasts to the muted black and white of the The Spirit's noirishly-bold and violent world. Technically, the film embraces a green-screened world and doesn't look back for any sense of a reality check and the actors inspired by the isolation inherit in their craft revel in acting against nothing; it's all in the imagination and if you are without an imagination, both as an actor and an audience member, then this film is certainly not for you. You won't like this film if you don't enjoy a bit of comic chaos, the verticality and hard lines of cityscapes, or shapely women.

The SpiritActor Gabriel Macht is The Spirit, an entity that was once a cop named Denny Colt who is back from the dead and is now beckoned to by a female spectre of death (a beautiful Jaimie King). Colt works alongside the police to protect the city as The Spirit from the evil that is The Octopus (Samuel Jackson) and his never-ending gang of mentally challenged henchmen (Lois Lonbardi). Working with The Octopus is Silken Floss (Scarlett Johansson) a scientist who has her own brand of particular poison. The Spirit is somewhat of a ladies man being dead and all and quickly falls in love with every woman he meets... including Sand Saref (Eva Mendes), Ellen Dolan (Sarah Paulson), Morgenstern (Stana Katic) and Plaster of Paris (Paz Vega) although he says he is just being nice. Macht as The Spirit - keeps the film's free-wheeling and energy-laden momentum high throughout the film, providing the humor of the lead character and nourish narration that haunts the film.

The producers according to the blu-ray special features - call the film รข"Contemporary Noir" meaning that it is a mix of film noir elements, but with a modern twist. There are cell phones but the costumes and backgrounds are very much in the world of the 1930's. The blu-ray features also give a more complete picture of Miller and his world which helps the Miller novice build a foundation for what he is all about visually. The blu-ray also features a commentary track that is full of interesting tidbits and chaotic fun.

For film noir fans, the film is indeed a treat; not only does Miller capture the light-hearted tone of the serial films that Eisner was aiming for (something even the dynamic duo of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg couldn't maintain with Indy IV), but he also provides the audience with a film that has moments of pure artistry for the silver screen. What it adds up to, is that Frank Miller's The Spirit is a stylized marvel and a hell of a lot of cinematic fun.

Component Grades
4 stars
4 stars
DVD Experience
4 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Screen Formats: 2.35:1

Subtitles: English; Spanish; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; audio commentary; making-of featurette.


* Commentary
o Feature-length commentary track with Director Frank Miller and Producer Deborah Del Prete.
* Featurettes
o Green World (1080p, 22:53)
o Miller on Miller (1080p, 15:57)
o History Repeats (1080p, 15:27)
o Alternate Storyboard Ending With Voiceover by Gabriel Macht and Samuel L. Jackson (1080p, 2:37)
* Previews - the film's original theatrical trailer (1080p, 2:28); additional 1080p trailers for Crank 2, T2: Skynet Edition, Transporter 3, Bangkok Dangerous, and Hulk Vs.
* Disc contains a digital copy of the film

Number of Discs: 2 (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy and BD Live)


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