Monday, December 15, 2008

Early Buzz On "Spirit" -- Worse Than Battlefield Earth?

Aint It Cool News correspondent Jondough has viewed Frank Miller's "The Spirit" movie and writes:

" I’ve seen something that has taken the top prize from “Battlefield Earth.” I mean, I honestly thought that would never happen."

and, to Frank Miller:

"You clearly don’t have any idea what you’re doing. Someone, ANYONE, over at Lionsgate should have known this. Fuck, it’s their JOB to know this. But they didn’t. They somehow bought the idea that you “co-directed” (hah) Sin City, which even if it WERE true, doesn’t mean you directed the movie... Seriously, how on Earth could they know that your idea of direction is to place the camera on a tripod and have your two actors walk back and forth for five minutes in front of a dimwit committing seppuku?"

Read reader comments at Aint It Cool and Rotten Tomatoes...

As for me, I would have to see the film. But from the trailers, "The Spirit" seems far more an homage to Miller's style of film-making than to Will Eisner.


  1. Well frank is indeed a hack as shown by his work on All Star Batman and Robin. Any talent he once had has vanished in direct and inverse proportion to the rise of his ego.

    And maybe now Hollywood and DC will get that same message we've all seen for a while...

  2. I am really quite looking forward to this film. Do I think it will be a true homage to Will Eisner. Don't know and really don't care. I have read very little of Mr Eisner's, I read the new ones done by DC and they were very entertaining and funny, The Trailer had shown me a film with a lot of sexy looking women and a tough guy with a sense of humour as well as Samuel L. Jackson as the bad guy. I don't know if this will be a true incarnation of Will Eisner's "The Spirit" and I don't care. The trailers have advertised it as "Frank Millar's" The spirit and I think I will be bloody well entertained by it. Unless it is crap. then I will be saddened

  3. Anonymous4:44 PM

    I think I'll just quote the good people of in regards to modern Frank Miller. "Whoreswhoreswhoreswhoreswhores."

    Well, looks like I'll be waiting to rent this one.

  4. That's my biggest problem with the trailer. I want to see a Will Eisner movie, not a Frank Miller one. Although a lot of shows (Heroes and Fringe come to mind) have stolen his habit of having floating titles or having the title of the story hidden in the background.

    Also, that "my city screams" bit was done to death in his Daredevil stories and it hasn't aged well. It's like he learned how to write from reading Spillane and never bothered to read anything else.

  5. Y'know, I've been trying to figure that out, myself.

    Why is it that all the trailers and posters looked like they were for Sin City and not The Spirit?

    I attributed it to my lack of knowledge of the source material. Honestly, I haven't read any Spirit stories, so I couldn't say how often Eisner used monochromatic coloration techniques or lurid pulp depictions of sex or violence. However, the few things I've seen of Eisner and his work (primarily single page reprints in books about the medium, and interviews for documentaries) didn't really remind me of the things I saw for this movie.

    Honestly, I can't say I was looking forward to it.

    As far as the movie goes, I only have one thing to say.

    Robocop 3.

  6. You know, Miller talks about how he was close friends with Eisner and how this movie is bringing "Will's creation to life," but talking to a few industry folks I know, I understand that, while they were friends, Eisner and Miller would ARGUE over how the Spirit should be done, which in my book makes Miller even a bigger tool than he recent comics work suggests he is. This is "Will Eisner's Spirit FINALLY told the right way, by Frank Miller." It's an exercise in the pomposity of Miller and the belief in his own hype, as well as a direct hit on all of the unknowing viewers who'll have no exposure to the Spirit prior to this.

    And as for Miller "co-directing" Sin City...heh. If I write a comic that a trained filmmaker likes and decides to shoot as a film and he's gracious enough to allow me to have input into the style, tone, and visual impact of the film, that does NOT qualify me to direct a movie. And it CERTAINLY doesn't give me any right to finally do a "correct" take on the Umbrella Academy or Invincible or whatever.

  7. I read the review at AICN. It took nearly 1,000 words for the guy to even start? Yeah, that's a guy I'd trust.

  8. Who didn't see this coming from a mile away. I've read both Eisner's "The Spirit" and the Cooke version. Neither of which bear any resemblance to what we see in the trailers for this mess.

    My son and I usually catch the premieres of all comic-based movies. We're sitting this one out.

  9. Read this review, and my first thought was that the reviewer might not have even SEEN the movie yet. No details, no specific criticism, just snark and self-insertion. Heck, your comment on it not having much to do with Will Eisner was far more insightful that that diatribe.

  10. I've seen the most recent trailer, and "worse than Battlefield Earth" sounds just about right.

  11. If it gets people reading Eisner's originals, I'm still all for it.

  12. I saw the trailer this weekend, and was not impressed. Not to mention the promo posters looked sleazy. I can't describe the difference between sexy and sleazy, but I know it when I see it.

  13. Anonymous8:37 PM

    Hate to say I knew it...but I did.

    Too bad. For Eisner fans and Eisner's legacy in general. Will young, new comic fans really have this as the only thing they can relate Will Eisner with for a few years? Kinda takes the piss out of the same-named award, doesn't it?

  14. Anonymous11:31 PM

    The trailers I've seen look rather...not good. I didn't see Battlefield Earth but when the quote on the back of the DVD actually mentions "good scene transitions" you start thinking that it might suck as hard as the panning indicates.

  15. Anonymous12:07 AM

    I'm sure frank miller is actually a genius whose intellect is so far above ain't it cool news that they don't recognize a deconstructionist interpretation of the genre when they see it.

  16. i'm sure this will be on the same level of the phantom, dick tracy, and the shadow movies of the early 90's.

    bad but enjoyable.

    at least it seems that miller understands that it should be fun and ridiculous.

  17. Daaaaaaaang! I gotta admit, the more I see of this movie, the worse it looks. But to be "Battlefield Earth-Bad." That's like a whole new level.

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  19. Anonymous7:04 AM

    Not that I'd defend Miller's apparent trashing of everything that made The Spirit enjoyable, but that was a horrendous "review" by someone trying too hard to be funny.

  20. Can't really complain about a film I haven't seen, but I admit to being... concerned... that the film looked more like another Sin City than like, well, The Spirit.

    Sure, The Spirit is heavily based on crime fiction, but the film (again, based on the trailer) looked too distinctly Frank Miller. And The Spirit is *not* Frank Miller's.

    For one thing, the Spirit was so much more... colorful.

  21. That ScarJo poster is all sorts of wrong.

  22. Yup... noticed it was "Frank Miller's Spirit" when they previewed it at NYCC this year. I will see it when it comes out, then ignore it and go back to reading the comics. Hopefully, my Theory of Adapted Motion Pictures will encourage people to sample the various comics.

    And if you really want to cry, consider The Spirit animated feature from the early 1980s. Wonder if that test footage exists anywhere?

    (Oh, and I did see Battlefield: Earth (for free) so I'll let you know how bad it is. But really, that's a hard one to beat. Primitive humans finding tech thousands of years in the future, still working, and learning how to use it in days? Righttttt....)

    Some critics will be familiar with the source material. Others won't. So I predict an RT% of... 45%. Fan reaction? 25%

  23. I've only seen bits and pieces of Battlefield Earth -- I'm afraid I'll burst into flame if I watch too much at one sitting. While I don't know that The Spirit can aspire to that level of crapitude, I can tell from the promos that it's trying. Looks like Miller's given the Spirit his special All-Star Batman treatment writing-wise and Sin City'd the art direction, then applied all his directorial experience to make sure the acting is flat and the camerawork uninspired.

  24. Honestly, I will check this one out just for the women, but I was disappointed as soon as I saw the first trailer and realized he was applying a Sin City style to the Spirit. The Spirit is not Sin City and should not be filmed as such.

  25. Sean, that's actually from a Shortpacked! comic.

  26. What's that? "The Spirit" takes place in Sin-tral City, you say?

    Yes, the trailers look like lots of Miller, minimal Eisner. 300 sucked, and this will be at least 600.

  27. Anonymous11:09 PM

    If it gets people reading Eisner's originals, I'm still all for it.

    I've met several people who've refused to read LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN because of the movie. I fear we'll be seeing that all over again.

  28. I'm kind of hoping it's an enormous flop because it'd make me really happy to see Frank Miller fail.

    Yeah I'm a terrible person, so what?

    The worst outcome from my perspective would be if it were as predictably awful as we all know it will be but twenty million people go to see it anyways. Thus paving the way for the next such Miller atrocity.

  29. You know, it's kind of disturbing to see that one strategy of Miller's will probably save "The Spirit" from the financial disaster the script probably warrants: almost every sexy actress in Hollywood put in the film with each one satisfying at least one stereotypical fetish.

    I'm ashamed to admit it, but even I can't help but be curious to see a few minutes of the film for that reason. Darn these hormones! Thought I was supposed to be done with them after college.