Well as promised today we turn to a much reviled movie from Christmas 2008….and one that is a perfect example to me of films that need to be re-evaluated. I don’t expect to take it from a 1 to a 10….but I think that the majority of the reviewers had it in for Frank Miller from the get go. I mean…come on 14%……..
So anyway…after talking to those who actually went and rewatched the filmed devoid of the blood in their eyes, the general consensus is that without “Sin City” influencing your decision that its really not a bad little film. It even makes more sense the second time around. My feelings are that the costumes are just so crazy, the acting so “Adam West-esque” and the story somewhat surreal that people just had to lower themselves into the proverbial bath tub…..rather than slip into it and knock out there shoulder.
So why this fervant response to a film that garnered one critics response of “The Spirit is wet bag of hot breath”, I here you ask. Well because if you don’t slow down you might miss some truly beautiful costume art….and that doesn’t come along every day in my experience.
So lets delve into that art with todays offering. Samuel L. Jackson gives a rip roaring performance in the movie as the Uber-villain of the piece, playing “The Octopus”. In the comics this characters face was never seen…but his villainy was everywhere, and only his gloves were discerned. This gave the actor and the costume designer alot of room, and although the same gloves with the rectangular design pop up again and again in different colors every costume is unique.
Here Sam talks about his wardrobe in the film.
“Well, the costume designer and I decided we would just try some different kind of things to see how Frank felt,” Jackson said of his costume choices for his character, The Octopus, The Spirits arch-enemy. “[In the comics he’s] just a pair of gloves. [So we made a decision] that the Octopus has a theme of dressing the way he feels everyday, or having a theme to his day to day life and making some sense with it. It’s just an opportunity to be larger than life.”
That’s an understatement. The footage which ran at Comic-Con showed Jackson in at least four ridiculous outfits, each more outlandish than the last.
“There’s an Asian sort of theme so we went with the samurai outfit. A whole torture scene so Frank decided, let’s go Third Reich. It’s not often you see a brother with a Nazi uniform on so it kind of worked out,” Jackson said. “There’s a really George Clintish pimped out outfit that we use with the big hat and the long coat and the whole thing. And then there’s the ermine, gold kind of paisley coat at the end, the rich fur and the gloves and the gun scene. There’s some cool stuff.
“Hopefully,” he added, smiling. “The audience takes that ride with us.”
Well sadly of course they didnt….but thats ok. First up then, the Samurai costume. After a little investigation it seems that this was the only version of this piece made, hence no stunt, or double costumes. Sold originally in July 2010 this piece was purchased from Profiles in History and consigned by the production company according to the company. Here is the original description:
1146. Samuel L. Jackson “Octopus” Koji costume from the Spirit. (Lion’s Gate, 2008) Samuel L. Jackson “Octopus” Koji costume from The Spirit, consisting of long white silk pleated kimono-style underskirt, tan silk mandarin collar shirt with front frog-closure, crème velvet outer robe with wide kimono-style sleeves and tentacle-theme lining, pale tan ankle boots with upturned toes, socks, crème colored gloves of kid leather, Underarmor long underwear, ribbed white tanktop, long crème silk Obi with tassles and attached katana. A beautiful and elaborately produced wardrobe from the film.
When the items were recieved, having been expertily packaged by Profiles for which I do thank and commend them and their shipper several things became apparent. The items came with a laser copied photo inventory and the original costume tag with a full breakdown of scenes and costume info….that is not always recieved…in fact a rarity so I was really pleased to see this.
The costume itself is an amazing piece. Fully custom curved “arabian toe” style cream leather boots, rawsilk pants, the attention to detail goes on and on. Yes, even the original underwear (washed) and socks. It is 100% complete minus mutton chops! No wardrobe tags inside though…so no clues to the original maker of this piece, although Bill Hargate costumes did work on several of the female character pieces, and are known for their expertise and beautiful costume work. This is extended right down to the Octopus tentacles in the detailing….a feature that crosses all the costumes worn by him.
I intend to cover the weapons in a further article but for now one of the swords, the katana is a metal screenused original (a replica was made with the movie logo on the blade) and the wakizashi short sword doesn’t quite fit into its sheath as well. The reason…its the retractable metal blade version used to kill one of the cloned henchmen of “The Octopus” as played by Louis Lombardi, as he is told to commit seppuku.
Its a beautiful piece from one of todays most fascinating actors. Hope you enjoyed this tour around it. More “The Spirit” articles coming your way real soon!