Just ahead of THE SPIRIT’s opening day, director Frank Miller is supposedly “eyeing” Buck Rogers, which could be alarming or exciting, depending on how you look at it. Odd Lot, the production shingle which made THE SPIRIT, is negotiating for BUCK ROGERS, which is controlled by longtime Miller pal Flint Dille.
Miller will write and direct his own big-screen take on the comic serial; while the creator has only begun to sketch ideas, it’s expected to be a darker take, with many of Miller’s signature visual elements and themes, such as corruption and redemption.
It’s likely to be a priority project for Miller, though he has been mulling a “Sin City” sequel.
To be honest, having seen THE SPIRIT, “darker” is not a word we’d apply to it, despite many night-time scenes and “Sin City” visual elements. It is, like ALL-STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN THE BOY WONDER, more of a broad, broad satire, whose humor is either deliberately outrageous and campy or deliberately infuriating. Early reviews of THE SPIRIT are, well, less than thrilled, although most allow that it looks good.
“The Spirit,” graphic artist Frank Miller’s first solo effort as a director after sharing credit with Robert Rodriguez on 2005’s adaptation of his own “Sin City,” has a single redeeming feature. It illustrates the limitations of the comic-book aesthetic on the big screen.
If we didn’t realize this before, it’s now clear: Movies must obey the immutable laws of cinema and cannot unfold like so many moving panels. For all its bold digital drawings, a comic-book movie must observe the narrative rhythms, scene construction, character development and dialogue delivery that cinema has honed for more than a century.
On the plus side, the premiere on Wednesday looks like it was pretty swell!