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November 24, 2009

Film Fatale: Spawn

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Written by: The Movie Lady
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8765da84-0a78-4abf-9ced-9d6ad0ee0f51Spawn the film was released in 1997, adapted from the Spawn comic book series created by Todd McFarlane and published by Image. Todd McFarlane was involved in the film by working as an executive producer. EP’s are the single most important people in the making of a film; they get the funding and logistics together and decide to make a movie, and McFarlane was greatly involved in making the film adaptation of Spawn. Also serving as executive producer is Alan Blomquist. He has also been the producer of really great films like The Cider House Rules and Chocolat, while also producing films like the Blue Collar Comedy Tour and Larry The Cable Guy movies. Director and co-writer of the film was Mark A.Z. Dippe. He’s also done really cool stuff like visual effects for the movies Jurassic Park, Ghost, and Terminator 2: Judgement Day. But he’s additionally done weird stuff like visual effects for two Dr. Dolittle films, as well as directed three Garfield movies. So far that makes for an interesting crew.

spawnmovie_image_24_dpOn top of all that, the film is marked by having the first African American playing a leading comic book superhero in a large-scale motion picture. That character was portrayed by Michael Jai White who has been in other comic book movies such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze in which he makes a brief appearance, and the badass film The Dark Knight where he plays mob boss Gambol. Additionally he’s worked opposite notorious martial artists Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme; I think that’s pretty funny. The person who really stole the show though was John Leguizamo as Clown/Violator. He’s gross and awful most of the time, but you’re just transfixed by what he says. And then there’s Violator. When you see him transform, you are left speechless as to how this disgusting clown can also be this fearsome beast from the underworld. For its time, the special effects were very very good, especially the transformations, fights, and Spawn’s kick ass cape. Leguizamo’s career was kick started with the movie Super Mario Bros. (that also has a comic series) in 1993. He looks back on that experience badly but bravely, (and thankfully) he decided to try another comic related movie with Spawn which debuted four years later. How can you go wrong? The story is bad ass enough- a government agency betrayes its agent, Al Simmons, who is sent to hell, and Al accepts a deal to lead Malebolgia’s (basically the devil’s) army into Armageddon in order to see his fiancee Wanda again.

spawnmovie_image_16_dpThis film is certainly a product of the 90s. It opens with bad 90s dance-rock music and is cheesy in multiple ways. Clown even shamelessly references a popular tv show of the time: “A hospital? Have you looked in a mirror, burnt man walking? Even the entire cast of ER couldn’t put you together again.” When Spawn sees his healing powers for the first time he exclaims in a surprised tone “Daaaamnnnn,” and when his chains burst from his body to protect him from falling, and he develops the power to climb walls with his hands and feet he shouts, “Holy Shit!” The best quote of all is also spoken by Spawn, “Get away from me, you fudge packing midget!” The DVD’s scene selection menu has a cool “preview” feature, where you can watch the scene from it’s little window to make sure you have the right one before exiting the menu and playing it, which is pretty nifty. This movie was made during the pioneering days of films of this genre, so of course it isn’t perfect. However, the story and visuals are worth giving this one at least a watch!


The Movie Lady