The Spirit – Movie Review

We saw this last night and I actually really liked it. I’ve heard in passing that there are some bad reviews floating around, although I haven’t actually bothered to read any of them – I generally don’t find them very applicable to my own tastes. I can totally imagine that it wouldn’t be as fun for most general audience viewers, since the reasons I liked it are probably not very commonly appreciated by most movie-goers.

The first of the two main things I thought worth mentioning here is the humor. I was cracking up several times as they poked fun at some of the elements often found in these types of stories, making caricatures out of some of the common characterizations and plot points.

The second (and more important) aspect for me is the Sin City-esque digitally enhanced cinematography that (successfully, IMHO) attempts to capture some of the better aspects of the original medium (comic books). The tweaked, toned-down, or even ommited backgrounds, details, and colors can often allow for an artistic focus that doesn’t come through in “normal” film-making. The framing of the motion parts of scenes around a particular still (or almost still) shot or pose also supports this “focusing”, calling back to the panel layouts in the books. I wish that more comic-based movies would employ these techniques; I feel that they enhance the experience substantially by melding the good visual story-telling techniques that are part of what make the source material so enjoyable.

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