The Spirit [Blu-ray]
(Frank Miller, 2008)
Review by Gary Tooze
Disc Size: 43,527,648,303 bytes
Feature Size: 30,014,416,896 bytes
Total Bitrate: 39.00 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: April 14th, 2009
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 4748 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 4748 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
English, English (SDH), English, Spanish, none
• Audio commentary by Frank Miller and Deborah Del Prete
•“Green World” featurette – a look at the technical wizardry behind the making of the film (22:53 in HD!)
• “Miller on Miller” featurette – a look at the artistry of Frank Miller (15:57 in HD!)
• “History Repeats” featurette – an in-depth look at the origin of The Spirit as well as Will Eisner’s influence and vision in the comic book world (BD Exclusive) (15:27 in HD!)
• Alternate storyboard ending with voiceovers by Samuel L. Jackson and Gabriel Macht
• MoLog™ - Movie Blog network connected community and interactive movie blog tool set
LIONSGATE LIVE™ enabled*
• Theatrical trailer
• Digital Copy of the film on Disc 2
Description: Above shadowy, crime-infested streets a masked avenger watches. Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht) was one of Central City’s finest cops until a gangster’s bullet ended his life. Now Fate has brought him back from the beyond as The Spirit, a street-hardened hero who faces off against seductive foes like the voluptuous Sand Saref (Eva Mendes) and the alluring Silken Floss (Scarlett Johansson). Then, of course, there’s his evil archenemy, The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), with a mission to wipe out Spirit’s beloved city as he pursues his own version of immortality in this graphic action-thriller.
It's been too long since we've had a proper comic book superhero on the
screen. There's been enough of them running around and bashing up the
bad guys in a CGI-enhanced fashion, that's for sure. But it's hard to
look at the recent cinematic incarnations of Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne
and call them "superheroes," even if they keep their identities secret
and have nifty outfits. "Billionaire action figures" would be more
appropriate, what with all their high-priced gadgetry and super-duper
hideouts. Whatever happened to the caped heroes who kept an eye on the
city's dark alleys and took out the bad guys with nothing more than a
sock to the jaw?
The Spirit has some heavy, almost intense, eye-candy that translated beautifully onto Blu-ray. With such intentionally heavy style it's hard to know where digital tinkering starts and direct film transfers begin. The effects are masterful though and this may be one of the discs you showcase to friends. After seeing it look this rich and textured it's hard to image how an, obviously weaker, SD would relate. The desaturation bubbles the contrast to produce objects as silhouettes against the barren, or rather more empty, backgrounds. It floods your visual world to such an extent that you basically submit to the 40's homage. It's really very cool. Black levels are so intense that they lean to being representational of a 'Black Hole' in space. Technically this Blu-ray is dual-layered with the feature taking up over 30 Gig and the total bitrate approaches 40 Mbps. I didn't see this theatrically but the combination of the filmmaker's vision and the high-def rendering produces an impressive and memorable presentation. In my first viewing I watched without much regard to what was happening with the characters. The image seemed to be hypnotizing me (perhaps that was Jaime King's penetrating eyes.... or possibly Eva Mendes' sculptured buttocks).
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 4748 kbps can blow out some windows. Separation is crisp and deft while Dan Newman's score (son of composer Alfred Newman!) fits like one of the Spirit's gloves. There is some demo audibles here but they are not strung together. Anyway, it made for a rewarding part of my Blu-ray presentation. I was impressed. Those keen on that aspect of the HD will enjoy the mix thoroughly. There are optional subtitles available in English (SDH and regular) and Spanish. LionsGate is almost occasionally region-locked but I have yet to reach definitive proof on this one yet.
The supplements appear to slightly surpass the, simultaneously released, DVD edition with a duplicated, and amusing commentary with Miller and producer Deborah Del Prete, two production featurettes - totaling about 40 minutes (both in HD!). There is a short alternate storyboard ending and trailer. “History Repeats” featurette is a Blu-ray exclusive and is described as in-depth look at the origin of The Spirit as well as Will Eisner’s influence and vision in the comic book world (also in HD!). This comes with, an untested, MoLog™ - Movie Blog network connected community and interactive movie blog tool set. You get a second disc - Digital Copy for portable device download but this probably isn't a film you want to watch on the tiny screen of your cell phone or iPod.
April 3rd, 2009
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player
Gary W. Tooze