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THE SPIRIT (2-Disc Special Edition)
DVD Review by David Blackwell
DETAILS:   108 minutes, two featurettes, alternate storyboard ending, theatrical trailer, audio commentary
VIDEO:   2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO:   English 5.1 Dlby Digital EX
Subtitles:  English, Spanish
STUDIO:  Lionsgate/ Odd Lot Entertainment
Theatrical RELEASE DATE:  12-25-2009
DVD RELEASE DATE:   4-14-2009

Frank Miller has had an impact on comics and film. Some of his most notable comics have been turned into films (300, SIN CITY, and DAREDEVIL (which drew from the issues he did on the comic) and even BATMAN: YEAR ONE had an influence on BATMAN BEGINS. Now Frank Miller does his solo directing debut (he previously co-directed SIN CITY with Robert Rodriguez) adapting the comic of one of his mentors, Will Eisner (who laid the groundwork for how stories could be told in comics). THE SPIRIT started as a Sunday comic insert in newspapers during the 1940s and 50s. Frank Miller almost turned down the chance to do the movie and then he changed his mind when he couldn't think of anyone who could do justice to the character.

THE SPIRIT follows the battle between crime fighter The Spirit (Macht) and the criminal mastermind The Octopus (Jackson).  They both can't be killed.   The Spirit loves every woman he loves while the doctor who fixes him up is hopelessly in love with him.   Also the Spirit crosses paths with an old flame, Sand Saref (Eva Mendes) who is out to get the Golden Fleece while The Octopus wants the mythical Blood of Hercules that will make him forever immortal.   The visual style and the David Newman score (which sounds like a Danny Elfman score for the Batman films) are the strongest things that THE SPIRIT has going for it.  I do think the dumb henchmen clones are pushing it too much while I wish we got more into the heart of The Spirit's character besides his past with Sand Saref and how he became The Spirit.  

Frank Miller is able to create a live action version of his comic book style he perfected with the SIN CITY comics. He blends humor with film noir for THE SPIRIT (think Looney Tunes done as a film noir and you get half of the idea).  It does seem a little too oddball at times and not as good as some of the comics that Miller has written and drawn.  Still THE SPIRIT is fun entertainment.

GREEN WORLD takes a 22 minute behind-the-scenes look at how the film was made from the green screen look (and actors loving it), Frank Miller storyboarding the whole film by drawing it), and the special effects people visualizing the backgrounds and look Frank had in mind.
MILLER ON MILLER has Frank Miller talk about his early life and his career (Daredevil, Ronin, The Dark Knight, Sing City, and talking about other comic book artists (Will Eisner, Jack Kirby,  and Jim Steranko in addition to Marvel Comics characters too).
The theatrical trailer is included along with trailers for other Lionsgate films (Crank 2, Transporter 3).   The storyboard alternate ending is more gruesome than the ending in the film.   Rounding out the extras is the feature audio commentary by writer/ director Frank Miller, and Producer Deborah Del Prete in addition to the digital copy (which is on disc two).
FINAL ANALYSIS:   THE SPIRIT is fun.  The two featurettes are an excellent addition to the DVD.
this DVD review is (c)4-16-2009 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com