The Spirit slated

Early reviews on Frank Miller's first directorial effort are less than positive...

But will they come now...?

Reviews for Frank Miller’s The Spirit are beginning to hit the web, and can give the first-time director little courage.

Variety reports:

“Pushing well past the point of self-parody, Miller has done Will Eisner’s pioneering comicstrip no favors by drenching it in the same self-consciously neo-noir monochrome put to much more compelling use in “Sin City.” Graphic-novel geeks will be enticed by the promise of sleek babes and equally eye-popping f/x, but general audiences will probably pass on this visually arresting but wholly disposable Miller-lite exercise

…it’s not clear exactly who the pic’s intended audience is. Devotees of Eisner’s original creation, who first popped up in Sunday newspapers around 1940, won’t warm to this ultra-stylized update, and fans of “Sin City” (which Miller adapted from his own comicbook series and co-helmed with Robert Rodriguez) will find it pretty weak sauce — a soft-boiled PG-13 trifle to whet their appetites for “Sin City 2″ in 2010.”

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The Hollywood Reporter has little comfort to add:

“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.”

Over at aintitcool, Fatboy Roberts has some rather more pithy invective to aim at the movie:

“This is not a movie that is so bad it’s good. This is a movie that veers towards that threshold, but is such a failure it can’t even achieve that level of incompetence. It’s a limp dick being flogged for 90 minutes and having nothing but a rash to show for it. There isn’t a single 10 minute stretch of this movie that displays any sort of tonal coherence. Not a single performance seems to be in tune with any other performance, and those performances are sometimes out of step with themselves depending on which takes Miller is crazy gluing together. It’s ugly, it’s annoying, and it’s embarrassing.”

Miller’s previous directorial debut was Sin City (2005), where he co-helmed with segment directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino.

The Spirit press conference

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Comics being made into movies


19 December 2008