movies get better with time. Like fine wines, they mature with age;
sometimes they get better because modern movies have gotten worse.
Spawn isn’t one of those movies . . .
In fact Spawn
was pretty much vinegar to start with, and is actually worse today than one
remembers it to be as its release on Blu-ray this month reminds one.
Based on the hugely popular Spawn comics it tells the story of a U.S.
government assassin coming back from Hell because the Devil wants him to
lead his army in the upcoming Armageddon . . . or something like that.
Spawn was supposed to be a dark and moody comic adap, but the movie
somehow latched onto the comics’ worst aspects (cute kid sidekicks! a pet
dog! a gratingly unfunny clown villain!) and the end result is the sort of
movie that makes you want to kill yourself.
Right from the start its sheer amateurishness gets you down. The movie makes
amateur mistakes by dumping huge amounts of exposition in the audience’s
laps. There is a voice-over . . . always a bad sign! One can see that it is
director Mark A.Z. Dippe’s debut as a director. The movie has no flow.
Characters just pitch up in scenes for no logical reason and things just
happen for no apparent reason.
Throw in some lousy acting and crummy dialogue and you have one of the
all-time worst comic book movies along with Batman
& Robin, Superman IV and
Catwoman. Most unforgivable of all though is
the cheap CGI special effects which were crap even by the standards of the
late 1990s. It is unforgivable because Dippe worked as a special effects guy
all his life, but try to sit through those crap-looking scenes set in Hell
featuring the Devil without any face palming . . .
THE DISC: Of the batch of movies released on Blu-ray for the first
time this week by Warner Video (the others include
Altered States) it is ironic that
the crappiest movie of them all (Spawn) would in fact have the most
special features. (It’s not that big a feat considering that the other
movies mentioned here have practically zero special features!)
The special features include a commentary featuring creator Todd MacFarlane,
director Mark Dieppe, producer Clint Goldman and visual effects supervisor
Steve “Spaz” Williams; an interview with Todd McFarlane, a behind-the-scenes
Making of Spawn feauterette, a Spawn sketch gallery with over 200
original concept illustrations, scene-to-storyboard comparisons; original
Todd McFarlane sketches; Filter & the Crystal music video and the original
theatrical trailer. All of the special features are pretty much ported
straight over from the DVD release.
WORTH IT? No. This 1997 Spawn movie pretty much destroyed any
hopes of Spawn becoming a superhero movie franchise. Director Dieppe went on
to work on TV movies and made-for-DVD flicks such as The Reef 2. As
of late Spawn creator Todd McFarlane has been trying to interest
Hollywood in rebooting the character, especially now that superhero comics
are so huge with The Avengers and the like.
One has to wonder though. The comic book Spawn got a rotten deal, sure, but
one also suspects that perhaps Spawn shouldn’t be made into a live
action movie at all and should stay on the printed page.
RECOMMENDATION: Some movies are so bad they are good. Others are so
bad that you want to jump out of the window to stop the suffering. Spawn
is the sort of movie that induces audiences to suicide. It’s that bad.