by Del Harvey
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The Spirit is noted comic book author and now director Frank Miller’s homage to the classic 1940’s comic strip character created by the great Wil Eisner. A stylish psychotropic noir that lurks somewhere between Sin City (also a Miller project) and Roger Rabbit, The Spirit, in its high-def form, is a very striking motion picture. The high contrast visuals provide splashes of vivid color in this very other-worldly environment with outlandish characters and minimalist sets.
The story centers upon our titular character, a cop who returns from the dead and protects his city under the guise of The Spirit, a masked vigilante who seems to have supernatural powers. As the leading man, Gabriel Macht does a great job of portraying this fantasy character to the hilt. And, lucky Gabriel, he gets to interact with an impressive array of femme fatales, sensual sidekicks, and pouting goody two-shoes types portrayed by a supporting cast which includes Eva Mendes, Stana Katic, Jaime King, Sarah Paulson, Scarlett Johansson, and Paz Vega. And his nemesis is the evil Octopus, portrayed by perennial Tarantino favorite Sanuel L. Jackson.
Is it good? It is, if you like action and cartoons. I think the approach to take with this film is to think of it as Sin City taken to its comic strip extreme, and if you can do that, then you will enjoy this film. It is definitely an experiment in style, and I think that may have had something to do with how well it was received upon original theatrical release.
The Blu-Ray version is top quality. The 7.1 DTS audio is outstanding - it looks and sounds great, as do the high-def supplemental featurettes. The Spirit Blu-ray Disc and 2-disc Special Edition DVD contain thrilling bonus materials including multiple featurettes, an alternate storyboard ending with cast voiceovers and feature film audio commentary by the screenwriter/director and producer. They both also feature a standard definition digital copy of the film. The Blu-ray Disc will contain an additional featurette not found on the DVD. The Spirit Blu-ray also marks the debut of the first LIONSGATE LIVE™ enabled title for the studio. LIONSGATE LIVE™ is a unique BD Live based menu system that delivers updateable exclusive content such as commentaries, games, ringtones, wallpapers, trailers and much more via a series of on-screen notifications and widgets. In addition, LIONSGATE LIVE™ will continually notify users to any new features across all Lionsgate BD Live titles. LIONSGATE LIVE™ will be available on select theatrical titles throughout 2009. The Blu-ray Disc also features Molog, which allows users to insert and animate shapes, text, audio and other graphics right into the film as well as post “blogs” about the film to share with other registered MOLOG™ users. The standard one-disc DVD of The Spirit will include a Widescreen and Full Screen version of the film and the theatrical trailer.
The Blu-Ray edition includes the following special features:
Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.
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