Saturday, June 13, 2009
Live Blogging Frank Miller's The Spirit on DVD
I'm usually crazy, but today is worse than usual. Woken up early by my wife who could not start her car. I get up and the car starts almost the second I turn the key. Wife goes to work, but I can't go back to sleep. Even worse, my mind feels like it is split in two pieces. One half stuck in the real world and the other in the land of Morpheus. I can't focus on my work. What am I going to do? I am going to watch Frank Miller's The Spirit. And blog about each major scene. Just in case you are bored with my whining, I'll add some juicy Eva Mendes pictures to keep you awake, too.
Notice that I don't call it Will Eisner's The Spirit, like it says on this poster. I already know that would be an insult to Will Eisner. I started reading the Spirit in the 1970s and loved Eisner's unique vision. No, this movie is not his Spirit, it's Frank Miller's.
The opening scenes give me a ray of hope. The Spirit's home in Wildwood Cemetery, from that oval window to the sign on the gate in front, looks just like Will Eisner's drawings. I admire the photography, where the many elements are in black and white with color splashes here and there. I first read the Spirit in the Warren black and white magazines.
Lorelei, the Angel of Death? Never in the Spirit comics that I remeber. But I can't keep saying that during the whole movie.
The Spirit moves around the city just like Daredevil during Miller's time--by running on electrical wires and on rooftops, jumping down from five stories like it is nothing. FM's Spirit seems like a mash up between Batman (with narration like my-city-bleeds), Daredevil (movement), Wolverine (with his healing ability), and Archie Andrews with his gee whiz attitude. With Eisner's version, I always pictured the Spirit as more of an ultra hip 50s dude, like Cary Grant.
I knew Frank Miller had a huge ego from reading various interviews. I knew Frank Miller was self-indulgent from All Star Batman and Robin. But I never thought he would actually act in this movie! He's Liebowitz the cop. Man, that vein on Frank Miller's forehead really bulges.
Eva Mendes come out of the water, photographed like she's a Revlon commercial. She looks perfect after she emerges. Nice cleavage and butt baring wet suit. Sand Saref? No, always pictured a young Kathleen Turner type.
Sand can apparently breath underwater and also retain her makeup. Mendes was obviously never in the water. On the extras, she admits that she cannot swim at all and was terrified when she read the script. No problem, Miller made It entirely green screen, like the entire movie.
The Octopus' entrance is just like the comics--all you see is the gloves. I'll never understand Miller's decision to show the Octopus' face or to cast Samuel Jackson in the role. Wouldn't it have been better to have the Octopus turn up at odd moments, killing jokers and chasing the Spirit from the shadows?
Scarlett Johansson shows up as Silken Floss. Horrible acting, terrible dialog. Johansson seems wooden in almost every film I've ever seen. Only Woody Allen makes her bearable.
Louis Lombardi plays the Three Stooges in this movie. I actually think he's funny. I liked his guest appearances on Entourage.
Now the Spirit and Octopus are battering each other with toilets and giant wrenches. They are both completely indestructible. Apparently Miller thinks this is just completely hysterical. We're not watching a movie, we're seeing Miller jerk off!
The best casting in the whole movie is Sarah Paulson as Ellen Dolan. Just perfect, I've liked her ever since Jack and Jill. Damn, why was Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip cancelled?
Eva Mendes is back, threatening some dude with her butt. I have a pattern whenever I see Ms. Mendes. I look at her mole. Then her butt if she's turned around. Back to the mole. If she's facing forward, her thighs and boobs. Then back to her mole. That mole is the black hole of Eva Mendes. It has a gravitational field.
Stana Katic is Morgenstern the beat cop, talking about "Elektra" complexes. Cute, Miller, cute. I've seen Katic before on ABC's Castle series. She's attractive in a more natural way than Mendes, but her acting here is over the top--like everyone else.
Mendes is back in a formal gown and bends over for a nice ass shot. Miller made this movie just to hang around all these hot babes. Bastard.
The Octopus and Silken Floss are experimenting with a foot that has a head on it? Miller's a drug addict. We have proof now.
The Spirit has tracked down Sand Saref to her hotel room. Mendes drops her clothes and it's time for another backside shot. This time, a naked backside shot!
Whenever Eva Mendes turns around, I stop thinking about that mole and concentrate on her juicy ass. No one talks about Jennifer Lopez's ass anymore. JLo's gotten older, had kids, kind of lost it. Eva Mendes now wears the crown for the best Latina ass. Her ass almost makes this movie worthwhile. If only Miller had exploited this more--the way the camera lingered on Carla Gugino's thong butt in Sin City--I might have been able to give this movie one star.
Now Eva is pretending to be mad at the Spirit and secretly in love with him. Mendes acting techniques consist of wide eyes and a shrill voice. I imagine Kathleen Turner or other seasoned actresses wondering why models have taken over Hollywood. Can we go lower than this? Yes, we can. Next big thing will be MTV Real World actresses in movies, like Jamie Cheung.
Poor Gabriel Macht. He has to say cheesy lines like "I am coming after you, Octopus!" Has Miller killed this guy's career?
The Spirit is doing reverse back flips on fire escapes and going up the side of a building. Defying gravity! A new power! You can see Miller's storyboards for this sequence in the credits.
Just when think it's weird, Paz Vega comes out and starts belly dancing. Who the fuck is she supposed to be? Plaster of Paris.
A Nazi symbol appears.
Samuel Jackson comes out in an SS uniform. I'll have to admit one thing, I have never seen a black Nazi before. Frank Miller just ruined this movie for skinheads.
Scarlett Johansson comes out as a Nazi, too. She's like a little Nazi fuck buddy.
If we hadn't had enough Nazis, Hitler's picture is in the background.
Now they are ruining the Spirit's origin by intertwining him with the Octopus. FM's Spirit was resurrected because of a serum the Octopus was experimenting with. Denny Colt was his guinea pig. The villain created his nemesis. Kind of weak isn't it, borrowing the whole Tim Burton idea where the Joker killed Bruce Wayne's parents and created Batman?
Here's a line that has not aged well: "You were stone cold dead. Not a breath of life in you. Dead as Star Trek."
How do you get Plaster of Paris to stop hacking you into chunks? Speak a little French. How does Octopus get them to shut up? "Stop that Frog talk!"
Eva's back just when I got bored with the Spirit dying again. Nice cleavage. Almost distracts me from the Mole. She's facing off against Silken Floss and Octopus. The Spirit interrupts them with a discussion about Hercules vs Heracles.
Now the Octopus is pulling out the heavy artillery to kill the Spirit. "I'm the Octopus, I've got eight of everything!" Does the Octopus have eight penises too? Dolan shoots Octopus in the head six times. If we haven't made it there yet in FM's masterpiece, now we are beyond the point or disbelief.
Jackson blows up into pieces after the Spirit shoves a grenade in his belly. The Spirit has saved the day. He's on the ground with Eva Mendes on top of him. The stand up, say something stupid, and kiss while the camera pans around them. That's the oldest cliché in cinema! Ellen Dolan sees them. Miller keeps the camera panning as the lovers swoon. Sand bids Denny goodbye. No hint of acting, emotion, or intelligence in Eva Mendes' eyes.
The movie's over and the credits roll. I see artwork. At first I have a glimmer of hope they are Eisner's art being shown as a tribute. Nope, it's Miller's production drawings! Miller's ego-tastic till the very end.
Comics-related name-dropping all over the place: Tuska, Ditko, Iger, Donenfeld (co-founder of DC Comics).
I am so glad that Will Eisner didn't live to see this. Miller claimed to be his friend? Who needs enemies like that? The extras are stabbing me through the heart over and over every time Miller says he is following Eisner's vision. My god. Frank Miller was my hero during the 1980s, now he's become a super-villain. Nuff said.