REVIEWED
4/13/03

STORY



LOOK

Spawn
Director: Mark A.Z. Dippé
Year: 1997
TRT: 1:34


For those that are not familiar with the character, this is based on the comic-book created by Todd MacFarlane. It apparently gained a sizeable readership in the mid-to-late 90s, and was even an animated series on HBO for awhile. Cashing in on the popularity and the quickly-advancing technologies of CGI graphics, thus the movie Spawn was, well, spawned, for lack of a better term. Can't say I ever picked up any of the comics, and despite its intriguing nature, was never able to catch the more adult-oriented animated series. Those more familiar out there will have to let me know if it was any good. I imagine it's out on DVD now, so it may be something I pick up in the future if it warrants my time. If nothing else, at least the figures he puts out are pretty kick ass.

The main reason this movie isn't better is the unevenness it shows in so many different ways. The CGI effects range from pretty spectacular to mediocre at best (the physical manifestation of "The Big Bad Dude" is almost an insult), and story subplots that trample the secondary characters into a mindless pulp. I can't imagine they were this bad in the comics. Martin Sheen sounds like he's smoked a pack of cigarettes before delivering every line. John Leguizamo does a fantastic turn as the disgustingly flippant Clown (though sometimes it seems like a bit too much), and Michael Jai White, while not a big-name actor, probably could have done a lot better if he had been given some more creative dialogue and direction. While this is nice piece of eye-candy, it struggles a little too much with the very adult-oriented kind of ideas being crammed through the ill-fitting holes of mass public consumption. Too bad, it seems like there's some decent-enough material to work from.

Great Scene: Minus the scenes that have what apparently is Satan, the depictions of Hell are pretty cool.

DVD Notes: None, I saw the "R" rated Director's Cut VHS version from New Line. Apparently they shoveled this fucker off somehow as PG-13 in the theaters. WTF? It's about a bad-ass muthahfuckah who sells his soul to Satan, agreeing to lead His hordes against heaven in the battle of Armageddon for the chance to see his earthly love-interest again. I guess I can somehow appreciate MacFarlane's marketing savvy in doing this, considering the majority of comic fans are under the age of what, 17 is it, that garners the "R" rating? The VHS version is actually pretty good, a bit of a precursor to the "extras" you find on DVDs, including a pretty lengthy collection of interview clips with creator (and pretty opinionated) Todd MacFarlane with some of his views on the character and the making of the movie, as well as a half-way decent "The Making of Spawn" featurette that I imagine aired fairly incessantly on HBO before the film's release, plus a video for the Filter/Crystal Method tune "Trip Like I Do" that plays soundtrack double-duty with some other movie I can't quite call to mind right now.