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The Spirit........First review. Worst than Battlefield Earth??
ttyler at 2:58AM, Dec. 15, 2008
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I just read this on Aint it cool news, and I laughed so hard, I had to share it. Great stuff. (WARNING…..THERE'S SOME CUSSING THROUGHOUT THIS, SO IF YOU ARE OFFENDED, DON'T READ. )

"Gentlemen. It’s been ages since I sent something in. It’s not that I haven’t seen worthwhile films, mind you. I have. But life gets crazy, schedules get crammed, and suddenly the idea of sitting down to write a few hundred (thousand?) words about WHY something moved me in a particular way gets pushed down the To-Do List until someone else has written a perfectly serviceable piece which for the most part echoes my own thoughts.

However, today is different. Today is special, if you will. But first, some background.

I wrote years ago after having seen “Love Liza” at Sundance. I think I called Hoffman’s performance something special, which for the 12 people who’ve seen it since, is usually agreed. I also wrote a few years back after having seen an early screening of “Love Actually,” which continues to be yet another example of just why Richard Curtis is a special talent whose films get pulled off the shelf and revisited often. Sappy? Yep. But perfectly harvested sap is delicious.

This year, my list of Bests include (in no particular order, except for the first) Wall*E, Slumdog Millionaire, The Dark Knight, In Bruges, Burn After Reading, Kung-Fu Panda, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Iron Man. I have yet to see the heavyweights (Button, Reader, Milk, Frost/Nixon, etc.), but expect at least a few of them to be worthy of slots. We’ll see.

Okay, so that’s a taste of my taste. Just so you know where I’m coming from.

For years now, I’ve owned a copy of “Battlefield Earth.” I’m not sure I need to explain to this crowd why, but for the newbs, I’ll go ahead and give it a shot. Both as someone who wants to make movies and one who just plain loves movies, I own movies that inform my ideas of what film could and should be. Films that share my sensibility, my ideas of romance, action, comedy, etc. Films that give that same gut reaction the 10th time you watch that they did the 1st. And then, there’s “Battlefield Earth,” which I own as the example of the opposite of everything I hold true. Its incredibly bad performances (Forest Whitaker, for God’s sake…you have an OSCAR!), its insane script (which, I know, was an adaptation, so it gets SOME slack, but still: 1,000 years in the future, the Constitution is still there…untouched…still legible, along with all the books in the Library of Congress…they haven’t turned to dust. Hmm. The Harrier jets still work. ONE THOUSAND YEARS in the future), the fact that it made Barry Pepper (who I consider a fine actor) look like an idiot…GUH! SO BAD.

Sorry…I’ll try and contain myself. But those aren’t the only reasons I own it. I own it because, as a whole, the movie is the worst thing I’ve ever seen. It made me literally laugh out loud in the theater. AT IT, not with it. With other people, yes, but collectively we laughed (and pointed, in some cases) at the movie unspooling before us. We came together in that dark place over how bad this thing was that we were watching, and then actually hung out outside the theater (keep in mind, these are people I had never met before walking into that theater) to rehash exactly what it was that we saw. That’s a powerful kind of bad.

And now I’ve seen something that has taken the top prize from “Battlefield Earth.” I mean, I honestly thought that would never happen. And it’s not like there aren’t MANY shitty movies made every year, and it’s not like I don’t SEE many of those. In fact, friends of mine and I have recently started a “Bad Movie Night,” where we have an opening act, a main feature, and a dessert: all of incredibly bad film & TV (the last one we did featured a vampire theme, so we started with “Knight Beat” (only available on VHS, but highly recommended), we feasted on the horror that is “Lost Boys 2: The Tribe”, and then for dessert, watched the (very) little-seen, “Paul Lynde’s Halloween Special” (holy crap! Amazing!). They’re our very own “MST3K” nights.

Yet, despite all of the “badness,” I’ve never had that potent sense of “this is bad on a level worthy of B.E.” before last night.

“The Spirit,” as written and directed (hahahahahaha) by Frank Miller, is that movie. I can’t go into specifics of HOW, exactly, I saw the film (I use that term loosely here), as there are privacy issues at stake, but it’s not even all that important. What is important is that the two of us who stayed awake (one of us has a “real” job…he’s already an outsider, no reason to ridicule him further) for the film in its entirety could talk about nothing else for the remainder of the night. After 2 hours of ruminating, pondering what had just happened, we came up with this description of what the viewing experience was like: “I feel like I just watched a movie in a foreign language, where you speak JUST enough of the language to realize that the main character just said he had sex with your mother and then wrote a movie about it…a movie that you can’t fully understand except for the nagging feeling that that’s your mother up there getting reamed.”

Or, as said about a half hour later by my buddy, in all seriousness, “I think I now know what it feels like to be raped.” (The sense of betrayal, the sense of loss, the sense that somehow it was his fault.)

Where to begin? (…says the guy 944 words into this already)

Let’s start with the acting. Oh lord. I didn’t know who Gabriel Macht was before this film, and I don’t really care to know him after. But according to IMDB at least, it looks like his agent’s pulled an “Ari” and gotten him a bunch of work based off this lead role before anyone saw it. Good for his agent. Because when people see this steaming pile of shit, where Macht is on screen the vast majority of the time, he’s going to take the biggest hit. To be fair, I’m not sure it’s ENTIRELY his fault (see “Actors: Self-Direction”), but Christy Christ, son. Going to the gym a lot does not mean you’re prepared for a role. If your director doesn’t give you any help, for god’s sake, HIRE AN ACTING COACH. I mean, do you realize that the nature of film is for people to SEE it? People are going to see this movie (granted, not many), and when they meet you on the street (assuming you’re wearing a stick-um mask, as he sports it during the entire movie…maybe that was his idea, to protect his face), they’re not going to be able to say anything other than, “Oh, hey. You were in the Spirit…(starting to laugh)…no, no, it’s not anything you did…(laughing harder)…no, I was just thinking of something else…(bent over now with laughter, then slowly recovering themselves)…But seriously, you were awful.” This scene will be played out all over town, all over the country. Probably not all over the world, though, as it’ll tank well before it gets real distribution. (Then again, this movie may actually MAKE more sense if you don’t speak English, so maybe your star has finally come after all, Gabe.)

To be honest, Old Gabe doesn’t even come off that bad…at least not compared to Sam Jackson. I mean, seriously, what the fuck? Sam: what the fuck, man? I’m not going to rehash your old glories here: you know them better than I do (hell, you’ve been reliving them on screen for the last decade). But come ON. I would have said you’re better than this…but you’re really not, are you? How big is your coke habit? Who do you owe money to? WHAT THE FUCK????

Dude…didn’t you suspect something was amiss when they asked you to bring all your own costumes from home?

(Costumer Designer: Hi Mr. Jackson, it’s Susie over at Lionsgate. Listen, we’re wondering if you have anything you’d be willing to bring in for the shoot tomorrow. Do you have any old costumes from movies you’ve done in the past? Mr. Miller wants to blow the whole budget on “the look,” as he calls it.

Sam Jackson: Well…let. Me. See, little lady. I do still have my mutton chops from when I played Vincent in Pulp Fiction. Will that work?
C.D: Perfect. What else you got?
S.J.: I’ve got some old mothafuckin’ samurai robes from a chewing gum commercial I did in mothafuckin’ Japan. Don’t MAKE me smell yo’ bad breath! That was the tag line.
C.D.: Fantastic. Anything else?
S.J.: Well, I really wanted to be in Valkyrie, so I bought an authentic Nazi uniform. A hat and everything. But that SONOFABITCH Toooom Cruuuuise said there WERE no Black Nazis. I said, “There weren’t no mothafuckin’ black Jedis either, bitch, but that didn’t stop George Lucas from putting me in there.” Oh, that reminds me, I have my purple light saber. Will that help?
C.D.: Yes to the Nazi uniform, hold off on the light saber. Aww, hell, bring it all! I don’t know how, but we’ll shoehorn all this stuff into something. Thanks!
S.J.: Hey, I’ve also got a huge plaster-of-paris Iron Eagle Nazi emblem. You know, just in case.
C.D.: Yeah, that’d be the props department. I’ll have Skipper give you a call.)

Samuel Laura Jackson, you should know better. That’s just all there is to it. Maybe you aren’t BETTER than this, but you should certainly KNOW better than this. This…well, this is a mothafuckin’ horrible movie.

Alright, so those are the two main acting offenders…but before I get off this subject, let me just give you a brief rundown of who else is in this pile. Sarah “Why The Hell Did Studio 60 Get Cancelled” Paulson; Paz “Yes, I’m hot, but I’m fucking Spanish, not French” Vega (playing “Plaster of Paris”…clever, right?); Scarlett “How did anyone ever consider me a good actress? By sheer volume!” Johansson; Jaime “Wait…this isn’t Sin City 2? Shit” King; Dan “Hey, remember The Wonder Years? Yeah, me neither” Lauria; Louis “I play, like, 40 different guys, but only get paid for one? I’m gonna kill my agent. Oh, and Entourage hasn’t been funny in ever” Lombardi; and a special nod to Eva “Yes, I show my ass in this, perverts” Mendes, who gets the default nod for Best Performance in this movie. I know, I know, I’m as surprised as you are, but holy crap everyone else was that bad.

I know this is long, and I apologize, but seriously guys, I haven’t even gotten to the Main Offender (“MO” hereinafter). Before I do, one small prop (and I mean small) to Bill Pope, the cinematographer. The movie does, truly, LOOK spectacular…but SO much of it is nearly indecipherable because of Miller’s intent on using darkness. Stop it. Didn’t you see “Renaissance”? That was ONLY black and white, and I still knew every thing that was going on. This thing’s sort of dim, and it’s a shame, because the work Pope did is pretty awesome. (See that? Even the one huzzah has a huge caveat attached to it…horrible)

Okay, Mr. Miller. Let’s get it on.

(I stand, wearing my v-neck sweater over button-down shirt. Frank is standing at my desk, trying desperately not to look me in the eye. I touch his shoulder, grasping it firmly.) It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. (he starts to gently weep.) It’s not your fault. (ANNNNND scene.)

Seriously, it’s not. You clearly don’t have any idea what you’re doing. Someone, ANYONE, over at Lionsgate should have known this. Fuck, it’s their JOB to know this. But they didn’t. They somehow bought the idea that you “co-directed” (hah) Sin City, which even if it WERE true, doesn’t mean you directed the movie. It means you sat in a seat next to Rodriguez and took notes on what words to say when (we see Frank scribbling furiously into a steno pad, tongue out in concentration. Close up on the notebook: “Action” – say this at the beginning when you want the pretty people to talk. “Cut” – say this when everyone looks at you). How could the suits know that your direction to the actors was, apparently, “You guys’ve done this before, just do what you normally do.” (Look! There’s Sam Jackson doing Sam Jackson. There’s Eva Mendes playing sexy. There’s Eric Balfour doing…what the fuck is he doing in this movie?) Seriously, how on Earth could they know that your idea of direction is to place the camera on a tripod and have your two actors walk back and forth for five minutes in front of a dimwit committing seppuku? They couldn’t, of course, but they should have. You apparently storyboarded the whole film. Did they LOOK (like, with their eyes) at these? Didn’t they notice the length of the scene? Didn’t they notice the lack of dramatic action? Didn’t they know that high school plays directed by a middle school teacher who’s only directing because he hates his life has better staging than this? They SHOULD have.

That’s my point. They should have known better. You should not. I mean, it’s not like you’ve ever, you know, SEEN A FUCKING MOVIE BEFORE. (Not a “fucking movie”, by the way…he may have seen one of those, but I don’t want to assume anything) Because if you HAD seen a movie before, you’d realize that just because you have two mouth-flappers walking back and forth (dressed, mind you, as a samurai and a geisha (Johansson)) it doesn’t mean you have a scene worth actually SHOOTING.

Ugh. I’m tired of this already. The MO isn’t really the MO after all. He’s just the sap that came up with the idea, wrote the script, convinced Lionsgate to finance (I could be wrong about this, I have no idea who actually came up with the cash for this thing…and honestly, I don’t really care. Lionsgate released it; they get the blame), and then “directed” it.

The real Main Offender here is the company that thought this was good. Thought this was worthy of your twelve bucks. Because they, my friends, are assholes. That’s all it comes down to. They MUST know that this movie is a piece of shit…I mean, it is so bad they literally HAVE to know how bad it is, no matter how cynical you are about the intelligence level of Hollywood producers. Which means that they think so little of the movie-going public that they’ll drop this bomb on us and just expect us to go see it “‘cause it looks like Sin City.”

We’re smarter than that. Which, I think, by default, makes us smarter than them.

So, execs over at Lionsgate: Fuck. You.

You should know better. And if you don’t, I just got laid off, and I’ve got TONS of ideas. And none of them involve hiring a visually-overindulgent, first-time director and throwing $30 million at him. (I have no idea what this actually cost…if it’s less, congrats. If it’s more, double shame on you. I’m just guessing, based on your slate of releases and that you pride yourself on your budget-consciousness.)

I apologize if I got a little (or a lot, even) long-winded and rant-ish. I was inspired by the worst movie I’ve ever seen: “The Spirit”.

Folks, this movie is that bad. I heartily recommend it if you have a strong stomach and an even stronger sense of Bad-Movie-Love. Otherwise, steer clear.

God I want to see The Watchmen already.

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:34PM
DAJB at 5:06AM, Dec. 15, 2008
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Heh - you know, I'm not surprised. You only have to look at the other two films that Frank Miller has insisted on a (co-)Director credit for.

Sin City - atrocious script, cardboard acting, unrealistically over-the-top comic book action, no emotion … saved, fortunately, by a talking corpse and by being the most gorgeous looking film made in many a year!

300 - atrocious script, cardboard (no, scrap that - papier-mache) acting, unrealistically over-the-top comic book action, no emotion … saved … well, actually, it wasn't saved by anything. Even the gorgeous looks couldn't save this one!

The trouble is, lots of people went to see Sin City because of its looks and then went to see 300 because … well, I've no idea why to be honest, but yeah … what's a studio exec to do? They must have known Miller would come up with another dog's breakfast but if the public keep going to see his films, the studios will keeep allowing him to make them!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
ttyler at 5:19AM, Dec. 15, 2008
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Funny thing is, Miller ACTUALLY thinks he's a director now. I guess that makes me a pilot, cause I have flown on a few planes in my day.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:34PM
Inkmonkey at 6:41AM, Dec. 15, 2008
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Aww, I liked Sin City. It was campy fun!

Anyway… yeah… Miller's really not the guy for “The Spirit”. I mean, I get that he knew Will Eisner on a somewhat personal level before the guy went, but his sense of aesthetics is so far and away from what Eisner would do that this is just… confounding. I'll probably end up seeing it anyway, since I'm the type who enjoys really bad movies, but still…
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:00PM
lba at 11:17AM, Dec. 15, 2008
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DAJB
The trouble is, lots of people went to see Sin City because of its looks and then went to see 300 because … well, I've no idea why to be honest, but yeah … what's a studio exec to do? They must have known Miller would come up with another dog's breakfast but if the public keep going to see his films, the studios will keeep allowing him to make them!

Because Sin City was visually attractive as you said, and because 300 was a bunch of oiled up strong guys slashing and stabbing hundreds of “bad guys” in the most hardcore action movie style possible. As far as I know, the American people loved those movies for the same reason they love the internet: there's not a huge amount of thought involved, just a good bit of action and entertainment and it's all wrapped up in a shiny box.

Frank Miller's name will sell anything. Just like Quentin Tarantino. I have yet to meet one person who's cinematic critiques and knowledge I would take seriously who would classify Death Proof as a quality movie or even say the man has done much in the way of quality work since before he came up with the idea for Kill Bill which sold for the same reasons as Sin City and 300. Funny how they've both had a hand in the worst parts of these movies. ( Personally, I thought the talking corpse bit was just bad. It didn't fit and it was pretty kitschy. )
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:29PM
ttyler at 12:19PM, Dec. 15, 2008
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Yeah, the talking corpse part worked in the book, but felt like an TOTALLY different film, for the few moments it lasted. Definately didn't fit at all within the already established visual style.
I myself loved 300………I dig Zack Snyder's work and vision.Having said that, I don't want to see a sequel to 300. One was just fine.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:34PM
NickGuy at 12:22PM, Dec. 15, 2008
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This is why I dont visit AICN.
Those guys are too anal to give good crits. Especially on comic movies.

“For years now, I’ve owned a copy of “Battlefield Earth”

This is when I stopped reading.

“Kung Fu Komix IS…hardcore martial art action all the way. 8/10” -Harkovast
“Kung Fu Komix is that rare comic that is made with heart and love of the medium, and it delivers” -Zenstrive
“Kung Fu Komix is…so awesome” -threeeyeswurm
“Kung Fu Komix is..told with all the stupid exuberance of the genre it parodies” -The Real Macabre
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:15PM
mlai at 6:00PM, Dec. 15, 2008
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“I think Sin City and 300 are bad movies” is when I stop reading somebody's post.

I get that you critique film better than me, probably. But when someone will call Sin City and 300 bad movies, point by point, and then say they don't understand why ppl watch said movies… Well, it just means that his opinions of bad movies are too far away from mine.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
Product Placement at 8:02PM, Dec. 15, 2008
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I actually managed to finish the dam thing.

And regarding Battlefield Earth. You want to know what got to me the most? What thing actually managed to outweigh everything that made that movie wrong, in my opinion? It was the fact that those alien defeated ALL of Earth, in matter of minutes. Something like 5-6 minutes if memory serves me right. For the remainder of the movie, all I could think of was: How? I don't care how overpowering they could have been. I just can't see how that's logistically possible. I mean 2-3 hours could have been believable. God that got to my nerves, even as I was watching cavemen, piloting 1000 year old Harriers, defeating the very same enemy that killed all of earth in such stupid short time.
Those were my two cents.
If you have any other questions, please deposit a quarter.
This space for rent.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:49PM
Sea_Cow at 8:44PM, Dec. 15, 2008
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DAJB
Heh - you know, I'm not surprised. You only have to look at the other two films that Frank Miller has insisted on a (co-)Director credit for.

Sin City - atrocious script, cardboard acting, unrealistically over-the-top comic book action, no emotion … saved, fortunately, by a talking corpse and by being the most gorgeous looking film made in many a year!

300 - atrocious script, cardboard (no, scrap that - papier-mache) acting, unrealistically over-the-top comic book action, no emotion … saved … well, actually, it wasn't saved by anything. Even the gorgeous looks couldn't save this one!

The trouble is, lots of people went to see Sin City because of its looks and then went to see 300 because … well, I've no idea why to be honest, but yeah … what's a studio exec to do? They must have known Miller would come up with another dog's breakfast but if the public keep going to see his films, the studios will keeep allowing him to make them!

You talk about unrealistic comic book action like a bad thing. Also, 300 was saved by creating an interweb meme.
I am so happy to finally be back home
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:26PM
DAJB at 12:14AM, Dec. 16, 2008
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Sea_Cow
You talk about unrealistic comic book action like a bad thing.
Sorry - I wasn't trying to give a fully detailed review of either. I don't think “unrealistic comic book action” is a bad thing, provided it's in a comic book (i.e. super hero/action) movie. That's part of the belief you willingly suspend.

But, despite being based on Miller's own comic books, neither Sin City nor 300 were meant to be “comic book” movies in that sense. Sin City set itself up to be a homage to classic film noir and 300 was trying desperately hard to be a historical epic. In that context, having someone leap through the front window of a moving car, smash out through the back window, roll over and then get up to continue the fight is just laughable. It works on the page (I love the Sin City books.) And it would work in a Batman, Spiderman or HellBoy movie. But in a movie trying to capture the feel of a hard-edged 1930s crime drama, it just destroys any belief in the world it's trying to create.

One of the complaints about comic book movies used to be that they tended to stray too far from the source material. Miller has shown that recreating them too faithfully can be just as big a mistake. They're different mediums and what works in one, doesn't necessarily work in the other. Miller obviously hasn't worked that out yet!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
Mushroomcomix at 7:21AM, Dec. 16, 2008
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I liked both Sin City and 300, and I also believe that the Spirit is going to be an awesome movie. That movie Critic liked Love Actually for gods sake!
Yes Spiderman, Batman, and Hellboy work great as movies…but besides Batman and Hellboy 2 were any of the movies that good?
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:08PM
Inkmonkey at 7:51AM, Dec. 16, 2008
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DAJB
But in a movie trying to capture the feel of a hard-edged 1930s crime drama, it just destroys any belief in the world it's trying to create.


I think that fault lies on your shoulders more than the film director's. I dont' recall them ever saying “This movie is going to be a 1930's Crime Drama”. They said, “This is going to be Sin City on the big screen, as close to the comics as we can get it”. The style chosen wasn't because it made it look like a classic noir serial; it was chosen because it closely emulated Miller's stark, black and white art style. You're complaining about a problem that you created for yourself; like going to see Wizard of Oz and complaining that it became a fantasy musical, instead of a realistic portrayal of rural Kansas life you had assumed it would be because of the start of the movie (that's an extreme example, of course).
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:00PM
DAJB at 1:04PM, Dec. 16, 2008
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Inkmonkey
DAJB
But in a movie trying to capture the feel of a hard-edged 1930s crime drama, it just destroys any belief in the world it's trying to create.
I think that fault lies on your shoulders more than the film director's. I dont' recall them ever saying “This movie is going to be a 1930's Crime Drama”. They said, “This is going to be Sin City on the big screen, as close to the comics as we can get it”. The style chosen wasn't because it made it look like a classic noir serial; it was chosen because it closely emulated Miller's stark, black and white art style. You're complaining about a problem that you created for yourself; like going to see Wizard of Oz and complaining that it became a fantasy musical, instead of a realistic portrayal of rural Kansas life you had assumed it would be because of the start of the movie (that's an extreme example, of course).
I disagree. For me, the books of Sin City do capture the feel of a 1930s film noir crime drama and - since Miller's objective was to capture the feel of the books on screen - it's perfectly reasonable to expect the film to capture that same feel.

My point, however, is that to do so, a movie requires different techniques. Dialogue which reads as a sharp and affectionate pastiche in the books, sounds stilted and cliche-ridden when it's transferred verbatim to the screen, especially when delivered by second-rate actors like Clive Owen. Over-the-top action, impossible escapes and semi-naked female ninjas work in a comic book setting because we're used to seeing them in that medium. On screen they just look as if they're in the wrong movie and make us wonder whether Marv is wearing a red and blue suit under his raincoat, complete with a big yellow S on the chest.

Just my opinion obviously! ;-)

As for The Wizard of Oz … are you trying to tell me farm-hands in Kansas don't sing all the time?! Damn, I'm off to cancel my trip there immediately!

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
NickGuy at 1:10PM, Dec. 16, 2008
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the problem i have with comic movies and their fans is the unwillingness to change. ok so we've proven that you can make a “real-world” comic book movie like batman and spiderman. so now lets make some off the wall shit!

speed racer was better than dark knight to me because it didnt try to pretend to be anything it wasnt. dark knight is all about showing batman in the real world. speed racer was just simply speed racer and if you didnt like it well then it sucks to be you.

movies have been imitating comics for YEARS with establishing shots, dramatic close-ups, image framing, quick cuts to different settings/locales….its time someone brought the craziness of comics to the screen and i congratulate frank miller for having the balls to do it. wether it works or not is irrelevant, what matters is that someone is out there actually doing it.

“Kung Fu Komix IS…hardcore martial art action all the way. 8/10” -Harkovast
“Kung Fu Komix is that rare comic that is made with heart and love of the medium, and it delivers” -Zenstrive
“Kung Fu Komix is…so awesome” -threeeyeswurm
“Kung Fu Komix is..told with all the stupid exuberance of the genre it parodies” -The Real Macabre
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:15PM
lba at 3:06PM, Dec. 16, 2008
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NickGuy
speed racer was better than dark knight to me because it didnt try to pretend to be anything it wasnt. dark knight is all about showing batman in the real world. speed racer was just simply speed racer and if you didnt like it well then it sucks to be you.

That movie gets classified as bad for another reason. It does capture some of the original spirit of Speed Racer. The problem is just that the colour palette and camera movements coupled with the CG technology that still hasn't quite been fully refined is enough to drive some people nuts. I appreciated that they did an ok job of getting the feel behind the concept, but personally the Racer's home looked like a toxic waste dump threw up on it. The Wachowski's just have a bit too much of a boner for slick effects and kung-fu moves.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:29PM
json at 3:15PM, Dec. 16, 2008
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DAJB
Inkmonkey
DAJB
But in a movie trying to capture the feel of a hard-edged 1930s crime drama, it just destroys any belief in the world it's trying to create.
I think that fault lies on your shoulders more than the film director's. I dont' recall them ever saying “This movie is going to be a 1930's Crime Drama”. They said, “This is going to be Sin City on the big screen, as close to the comics as we can get it”. The style chosen wasn't because it made it look like a classic noir serial; it was chosen because it closely emulated Miller's stark, black and white art style. You're complaining about a problem that you created for yourself; like going to see Wizard of Oz and complaining that it became a fantasy musical, instead of a realistic portrayal of rural Kansas life you had assumed it would be because of the start of the movie (that's an extreme example, of course).
I disagree. For me, the books of Sin City do capture the feel of a 1930s film noir crime drama and - since Miller's objective was to capture the feel of the books on screen - it's perfectly reasonable to expect the film to capture that same feel.

My point, however, is that to do so, a movie requires different techniques. Dialogue which reads as a sharp and affectionate pastiche in the books, sounds stilted and cliche-ridden when it's transferred verbatim to the screen, especially when delivered by second-rate actors like Clive Owen. Over-the-top action, impossible escapes and semi-naked female ninjas work in a comic book setting because we're used to seeing them in that medium. On screen they just look as if they're in the wrong movie and make us wonder whether Marv is wearing a red and blue suit under his raincoat, complete with a big yellow S on the chest.

Just my opinion obviously! ;-)

As for The Wizard of Oz … are you trying to tell me farm-hands in Kansas don't sing all the time?! Damn, I'm off to cancel my trip there immediately!



i'm not calling you out, i just want to clarify this: for you a comic book movie can ONLY be a men in tights super hero film?

i thought the Sin City totally captured and recreated the black and white, ashcan, comic books on the big screen. it's like the story and action in the comics jumped right off my self and came to life. pver the top action and crazy ninjas are staples of comic books and comic book movies should reflect that as well. sounds to me like you just built the world of Sin City up in your head a lot more than it was on the pages and reimagined it differently. to say that a movie closely based off it's comic book source material sucked because it was too much like a comic book, jsut seems weird to me, and is hard for me to wrap my brain around.

it's a lot like the western notion that ALL comic books are only for 13 year old boys and they can only be about men in spandex who fight crime with women who have unearthly perky EE sized breasts.

you of course are entitled to your opinions, just as we are to ours. but this thread is about the saint, and not about DAJB's movie preferences…..
i'm gonna skip the saint. i might catch it when it's on DVD, but i'm not a fan of “holiday” movies…..and this one's getting a lot of press as being “perfect for the holidays”….which is generally my que to stay away.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:11PM
mlai at 5:27PM, Dec. 16, 2008
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Since I watch a lot of anime, a lot of which are translations/extensions of mangas of the same title… I don't have any problem with a motion picture bringing to life a comic book exactly as it had been drawn/written.

Sin City and 300 are pretty much just anime movies, if you think about it.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
Sea_Cow at 8:10PM, Dec. 16, 2008
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DAJB
Sea_Cow
You talk about unrealistic comic book action like a bad thing.
Sorry - I wasn't trying to give a fully detailed review of either. I don't think “unrealistic comic book action” is a bad thing, provided it's in a comic book (i.e. super hero/action) movie. That's part of the belief you willingly suspend.

But, despite being based on Miller's own comic books, neither Sin City nor 300 were meant to be “comic book” movies in that sense. Sin City set itself up to be a homage to classic film noir and 300 was trying desperately hard to be a historical epic. In that context, having someone leap through the front window of a moving car, smash out through the back window, roll over and then get up to continue the fight is just laughable. It works on the page (I love the Sin City books.) And it would work in a Batman, Spiderman or HellBoy movie. But in a movie trying to capture the feel of a hard-edged 1930s crime drama, it just destroys any belief in the world it's trying to create.

One of the complaints about comic book movies used to be that they tended to stray too far from the source material. Miller has shown that recreating them too faithfully can be just as big a mistake. They're different mediums and what works in one, doesn't necessarily work in the other. Miller obviously hasn't worked that out yet!

It was like every frame was a panel from the comics brought to life…

Also, 300 really did suck balls. Literally. Did you see all those mostly-naked, greased-up musclemen hitting eachother? It was like either professional wrestling or an orgy. Or am I being redundant?
I am so happy to finally be back home
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:26PM
DAJB at 12:09AM, Dec. 17, 2008
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json
i'm not calling you out, i just want to clarify this: for you a comic book movie can ONLY be a men in tights super hero film?
Well, “just to clarify” - no, absolutely not. I was using the term in a certain context. I'd class about 80% of Arnold Schwarzenegger's films as “comic book movies”, for example! But Sin City (the books) are so much more than that. That's why I found the movie disappointing.
json
i thought the Sin City totally captured and recreated the black and white, ashcan, comic books on the big screen.
I've never disagreed that the movie captured the look of the books. For me, that's its one saving grace. The look of the movie is stunning. No question!
json
to say that a movie closely based off it's comic book source material sucked because it was too much like a comic book, jsut seems weird to me, and is hard for me to wrap my brain around.
That wasn't quite what I was saying. I was saying that what makes a comic book a good comic book is not the same as what makes a good movie a good movie. Simply recreating one as the other isn't enough.

Let's say you think the Mona Lisa is a good painting. It would not be a good movie if someone simply filmed it hanging on a wall for two hours (although, these days, it might well win some high-brow art award!) Or, let's say, you think some piece of literary fiction is great because it has characters who spout deep philosophical monologues for pages on end. It would not be a good movie if a character stood there reciting that same monologue for two hours. A good movie adaptation recreates the parts of the source material that will work on film and has the courage to change the bits that work in the book but which won't work on screen, rather than slavishly copying everything from one medium to the other. I appreciate we have different views on how well Sin City did this, but I hope that at least explains my thinking a little better.

json
this thread is about the saint, and not about DAJB's movie preferences …
I'm not sure what you mean about this. I think everything I've posted here has been on topic. I mentioned my thoughts on Sin City and 300 initially because I believe they had certain flaws which the review has now identified as also being in The Spirit and which therefore seem to characterise Frank Miller's attempts at directing. My subsequent posts have only been in reply to other people's comments on my post. Anyway, you needn't worry - I have no intention of adding anything else to this thread now. Perhaps after The Spirit has come out on general release, we'll all be revising our opinions - one way or the other!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
ozoneocean at 12:55AM, Dec. 17, 2008
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DAJB
I'd class about 80% of Arnold Schwarzenegger's films as “comic book movies”
Not Conan! :(
Best movies EVER! They transcend mere comics. Pshaw!
*patooi!*
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:33PM
lba at 7:34AM, Dec. 17, 2008
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ozoneocean
DAJB
I'd class about 80% of Arnold Schwarzenegger's films as “comic book movies”
Not Conan! :(
Best movies EVER! They transcend mere comics. Pshaw!
*patooi!*

In terms of absolute hilarity, yes. The comics could never be that funny.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:29PM
json at 8:34AM, Dec. 17, 2008
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looks like we agree to disagree here, which is cool. we all have our own opinions.

DAJB
json
this thread is about the saint, and not about DAJB's movie preferences …
I'm not sure what you mean about this.

i was just keeping the thread back on topic. i didn't want to seem as if i was hijacking it to debate movie stylings and preferences :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:11PM
NickGuy at 11:05AM, Dec. 17, 2008
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mlai
Since I watch a lot of anime, a lot of which are translations/extensions of mangas of the same title… I don't have any problem with a motion picture bringing to life a comic book exactly as it had been drawn/written.

Sin City and 300 are pretty much just anime movies, if you think about it.

and anime is just another word for cartoon, and manga is just another word for comics…..:p

“Kung Fu Komix IS…hardcore martial art action all the way. 8/10” -Harkovast
“Kung Fu Komix is that rare comic that is made with heart and love of the medium, and it delivers” -Zenstrive
“Kung Fu Komix is…so awesome” -threeeyeswurm
“Kung Fu Komix is..told with all the stupid exuberance of the genre it parodies” -The Real Macabre
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:15PM
Sea_Cow at 10:02AM, Dec. 18, 2008
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NickGuy
mlai
Since I watch a lot of anime, a lot of which are translations/extensions of mangas of the same title… I don't have any problem with a motion picture bringing to life a comic book exactly as it had been drawn/written.

Sin City and 300 are pretty much just anime movies, if you think about it.

and anime is just another word for cartoon, and manga is just another word for comics…..:p

But with moar desudesudesudesudesudesudesudesudesudesdsusdedusdudbleh.
I am so happy to finally be back home
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:26PM
ttyler at 2:45AM, Dec. 19, 2008
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Looks like the review was dead on.

Variety says:

… plunges into a watery grave early on and spends roughly the next 100 minutes gasping for air. Pushing well past the point of self-parody, Miller has done Will Eisner's pioneering comicstrip no favors by drenching it in the same self-consciously neo-noir monochrome put to much more compelling use in “Sin City.” …


The Hollywood Reporter says:

… truly a mess. Fans of “Sin City” and “300” will populate theaters for the film's opening, but boxoffice will fall quickly. The film's campiness might then pull in a different sort of aficionados – those who celebrate films such as “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” for their silly acting and overripe dialogue. …

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:34PM
ozoneocean at 3:49AM, Dec. 19, 2008
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lba
ozoneocean
DAJB
I'd class about 80% of Arnold Schwarzenegger's films as “comic book movies”
Not Conan! :(
Best movies EVER! They transcend mere comics. Pshaw!
*patooi!*

In terms of absolute hilarity, yes. The comics could never be that funny.
You shut your dirty mouth >_<
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:33PM
ttyler at 5:07AM, Dec. 19, 2008
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By Croms balls, can't we just get along this Holiday season??
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:34PM
json at 7:09PM, Dec. 19, 2008
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ttyler
By Croms balls, can't we just get along this Holiday season??

agreed! we should all pop in our “conan the barbarian” DVDs and watch the movie with the commentary ON!!!!

“dis is da scene where i find da sword. look at dat sword. it looks so old. look at dis. in dis scene i am picking up da sword. you can see me holding da sword in my hand. look how muscular my arms are. i look so good. i was in great shape.”

“yeah, you sure were in good shape for this….this scene with the sword is very important to portray *audible drinking* oh wow….do you remember that one girl who came to try out for the witch?”

“oh yes. what was her name?”

“i don't remember her name. but you remember her? she was very hot.”

“oh yes. i remember. she had to get naked. she was very hot.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:11PM
Senshuu at 1:39AM, Dec. 21, 2008
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Is it bad that I only want to see this movie because of how it looks, visually?

That's basically the reason I saw 300, and 300 wasn't bad. Although unfortunately it lacks anything that really makes me want to see it again.

I never read the comics off of which they were based, so I can't ever really judge if they made the transition well. What matters to me then is if they can stand well enough on their own as movies.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:27PM

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