It is the time of before. Or is the time now? Or is it a time to come? We the audience can't really identify. Which is one of the many charms within Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds. Writer/Director Alex Proyas post-apocalyptic adventure follows a trio of desert inhabitants desperately trying to seek something other than...sand.
We open up on desert. A melancholy, but downright addicting score, by Peter Miller plays as we follow the first character we see, trudging through the hot Australian sand. As the character, barely able to stand upright, continues moving forward, we see a multitude of meticulously crafted set designs of rotting cars, fading billboards, etc to set the whereabouts our story will take place. Honestly its some of the most beautifully original set designs I've ever seen. Like the desert, beautifully sad. As the character's walking comes to a close, we see a house in the distance. The house belongs to Felix and Betty. Felix greets the unnamed walker before he passes out from exhaustion. He takes the dusty stranger in from the elements. Curiosity by Felix abounds. Though the same can't be said for Betty. Betty believes he's a demon that's been sent from Hell. As the story unfolds things may not be as dark as we were led to believe.
For a movie released in 1989 the meticulously crafted production design is truly a thing of beauty. It is, perhaps, the film's strongest quality. And with the restoration excellence by Umbrella Entertainment, Sean Callinan, the production designer, has to be ecstatic. Someone else involved in the production that has to be quite pleased is Peter Miller. Peter not only did the score, but also the sound design for the piece. His score undoubtedly engulfed me in the environment. And the sound design, or lack thereof, pays significant dividends.
All in all it is a beautiful restoration done by Umbrella Entertainment. Fans of Proyas or the weird need to check this one out.
Audio Commentary with Director Alex Proyas
Audio Commentary with Composer Peter Miller and Editor Craig Wood
Interview with cast member Michael Lake
Interview with cast member Rhys Davis
SPIRITS: Making a Post-Apocalypse Western featurette
SPIRITS SONG music video