Adapted from the legendary comic book series created by Comic Book Hall of Fame Will Eisner, The Spirit fuses masterful storytelling with brilliant CGI graphics, for an exciting stylized world of action, adventure, danger, and romance. It is the story of a former rookie cop who returns mysteriously from the dead as the Spirit (Macht) to fight crime from the shadows of Central City. His arch-energy, The Octopus (Jackson), has a different mission: he's going to wipe out Spirit's beloved city as he pursues his own bid for immortality. The Spirit tracks this cold-hearted killer form Central City's rundown warehouses, to the damp catacombs, to the windswept waterfront...all the while facing a bevy of beautiful women who either want to seduce, love, or kill our masked crusader. Surrounding him at every turn are Ellen Dolan (Paulson), the whip-smart girl-next-door; Silken Floss (Johansson), a calculating and driven vixen; Plaster of Paris (Vega), a murderous French nightclub dancer; Lorelei (King), an angel of Death; and Morgenstern (Katic), a sexy young cop. Then there's Sand Saref (Mendes), the jewel thief with dangerous curves. She's the love of his life turned bad. Will he save her or will she kill him? The Spirit takes us on a sinister, gut-wrenching ride with a hero who is born, murdered, and born again. (Gary Reber)
Special features include audio commentary with Director Frank Miller and Producer Deborah Del Prete; the following featurettes: Green World (HD 22:53), Miller On Miller (SD 15:57), Killing The Octopus, and History Repeats (HD 15:27); an alternate storyboard ending with voiceover by Gabriel Macht and Samuel L. Jackson (HD 02:37); the theatrical trailer; up-front previews; plus a digital copy of the film.
The 2.40:1 1080p AVC picture quality is terrific, with a highly stylized visual presentation, exhibiting a grainy, gritty look and a muted color palette. At times resolution is quite striking, especially in close-ups, revealing fine facial and texture detail. Blacks are deep and solid, and shadow delineation is excellent. Splashes of vivid, richly hued color is, at times, eye-popping. This is a very unusual-looking picture that is visually stimulating and sure to please fans of comic book illustration. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 7.1-channel soundtrack exhibits excellent fidelity and an impressive dynamic range, with finely resolved low-level detail. The music score is beautifully recorded and reveals detailed instrumental timbre. At times the sonic energy is intense, with powerful bass extension in the LFE .1 channel to below 25 Hz. Sound effects are highly directionalized, and the soundfield often is holosonically enveloping. There is a constant low-end foundation to the soundtrack, which is impressive. Dialogue is well recorded, and ADR is not bloated and nicely integrates spatially with the scenes. The narrative dialogue sounds far forward and commanding. The added two channels in the mix enhance the enveloping experience. This is the second reviewed Lionsgate 7.1-channel soundtrack that sounds as though the added channels are correctly positioned to the sides, not to the back of the sweet spot. It was not necessary to switch outputs to correctly position the surround signals, with respect to our 7.1-channel loudspeaker positioning. Unfortunately, the creative community, the studios, and the equipment manufacturers, have not dictated a spatial loudspeaker setup standard, nor has the DTS® seven-position loudspeaker remapping software been implemented in receivers and processors. This is supposed to allow the end user to tell the processor how his or her 7.1-channel loudspeaker system is positioned in the room. Our preferred 7.1-channel setup is a perfect circle, with each full-range loudspeaker location equidistant from the sweet spot and equidistant from each other along the perimeter of the 360-degree circle, forming six equally defined 60-degree segments relative to the sweet spot. In this arrangement, the added mid-left and mid-right surrounds at 90 degrees convey enhanced surround envelopment, dimensionality, and directionality. This is the case here. This is a very exciting soundtrack, with impressive soundfield envelopment and directionalized sounds, as well as excellent dialogue delivery. (Gary Reber)