December 29, 2008
Nano Film Review #22 -- The Spirit
All I've read of The Spirit comics are "best of" comic stories that show Will Eisner experimenting with the medium, using the pen and the page in new and unique ways to tell stories. And the stories I've read are genius. Masterpieces. A "The Spirit" movie should experiment with the cinematic canvas, and we live in a day and age where that's possible. Look at the poster and you see they way they tried to mimic Eisner's use of words and artwork to create a mood. A "The Spirit" movie should be funky dissolves and wipes and camera tracking using smoke and snow and shadow and light, so the screen and camera aren't just the tools of storytelling but become part of the story itself! With a skilled director at the helm, this could have been. Oh, there were funky dissolves and wipes and camera tracking . . . but they just didn't work.
So, instead of an homage to the spirit of Will Eisner's "The Spirit", what we end up with is an homage to Frank Miller.
All I could see in my mind while watching that movie was what could have been. All I could see on the screen was what was: a movie that tried to be many different things in one (an homage to Eisner, a parody of superheroes, a noir film, a comedy) and failed at all of them.
There were twenty people in the theater. Four got up and left in the middle of the movie. Behind me, a woman kept sighing and saying, "What?" When the film was over, I heard someone say, "That was terrible."
Me? I was just disappointed about what could have been . . .