Given the current rash of superhero films it’s easy to imagine that the first decade of the 21st century will be remembered, cinematically, for the prominence of super hero films. Geek chic is very much in at the moment and the result is that properties are being adapted at an alarming rate. Will Eisner’s comic book series The Spirit is the kind of property which could only have been green lit in a world where films focused on Spider-Man and Batman are breaking box office records. Despite being massively influential during its original run in the 1940s the character isn’t exactly familiar to anyone but the hardest of the hardcore comic book fans. To be honest it was only with the release of the teaser trailer that I developed an interest in the film and the character.
Scored to the Untouchables theme music and showing the titular lead bounding around his city it showed that first time director Frank Miller had seemingly learnt a lot during his time with Robert Rodriguez. If the teaser piqued by interest the release of the official trailer almost guaranteed that I’d be there opening day.
Firstly you can see a nice HD version of the teaser and trailer hosted by yahoo here. I have also embedded the usual youtube video above, so give them a watch and come back.
Done that? Good, then I’ll continue. If nothing else the trailer looks like it is stretching the concept of The Spirit to breaking point, taking an archetypal detective character and placing him in the middle of what looks to be a somewhat experimental film. Frank Miller has always been one to mess around with the form of his chosen mediums and the trailer suggests that he’s continuing that trend with his foray into film.
With its hallucinatory visuals, procession of femme fatales (including Eva Mendes, Jamie King and Scarlet Johannson), and the sudden appearance of Samuel L Jackson as a criminal mastermind/samurai/Nazi the trailer does an incredible job of both selling the inherent weirdness of Miller’s vision. You can see the visual echoes of Miller and Rodriguez’s collaboration on Sin City in every part of the trailer. Still in terms of a hyper sexualised and experimental noir thriller the film looks like it could be a lot of fun, and it looks absolutely gorgeous as well.
The only thing that could be a problem is its slated release date of the 25th December 2008. Somehow I doubt many would view a wraith battling against a camp black Nazi to be traditionally Christmas viewing.