Sunday, February 20, 2005

Thoughts on Constantine

Last night Jim and I went to see Constantine. I couldn't believe how packed the theater was, or how much excitement was evident there. People were psyched to see this movie! As we watched the previews, there was a lot of buzz for Sin City and Batman Begins. I thought both looked amazing, but especially got a chill up my spine watching Sin City. Holy Crap that is going to be incredible!

Before assessing the movie, let me begin by saying that I had no false illusions that Keanu Reeves would be portraying the naughty British John Constantine that I love to read about so much. This, and the fact I have thought Keanu is hot since Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure helped me get past the inner vision problem I thought I might have.

Honest opinion- I really enjoyed it. The special effects and the cast were great. Visually it was a treat from start to finish. I especially liked the starker aspects of the movie that allowed us to notice that Keanu, crows feet and all, is over 40.

Gavin Rossdale chewed scenery as Balthazar, but in a cool, sexy way. Rachel Weisz was a revelation as Detective Angela Dodson. My other favorites were Tilda Swinton as Gabriel and Peter Stormare as Lucifer. To further deepen the cast's talent, Djimon Hounsou was the perfect Papa Midnite. Finally, Shia LaBeouf was a scene stealer as Constantine's friend Chas.

I liked the story, and the special effects that realized the deeper aspects gelled well. It wasn't overdone, which in itself is an achievement. The biggest thing I missed was the fact that John Constantine wasn't British. I also would have liked Chas to have been a bit older. Otherwise, I just relaxed and enjoyed the show.

The capper to me that the movie was worth the price of admission was that both my husband and our friend were interested to see or read more about the character after seeing the film. I hadn't seen that kind of reaction with most other comic book movies we had seen, so to me that is a mark that the film is generating genuine interest.

Has anyone else seen it? Any reactions?


Carl said...

Welp, I gave a review of it at Templeton Gate, a Sci-Fi site I am a regular at:

Constantine (2005)

John Constantine: Hellblazer is one of my favorite comics in the DC/Vertigo line. Vertigo is a mature line that has odd, sometimes disturbing comics that don't
necessarily fit into the regular DC Comics universe. The character first showed up in "Swamp Thing" in 1985 and later got his own book in 1988. He's a burnt-out
British sorcerer who's a cynical anti-hero that has ran a conman's game against Heaven and Hell, always in trouble and is to this day. Issue # 205 is due out this week.
The movie however, is different, "Americanized" and takes elements from the stories here and there. Constantine (Keanu Reeves) is an exorcist as well as a sorcerer, trying to buy his way into Heaven, by banishing demons back to Hell. We learn during the course of the movie that Heaven and Hell can't interfere directly in the battle for souls; only half-breed angels and demons (other then direct possession) can operate on this plane. You see, Constantine was born with a gift/curse that he could see the half-breeds as a boy. And later tried to commit suicide. And so he is damned and when he dies will go to Hell. Unless he can change his fate.
And his fate is changed by twining his with police detective Angela Dodson (Rachal Weisz) who is seeking answers to her twin sister's death. Authorities maintain that Angela's sister committed suicide, which Angela cannot believe since she was a devoted Catholic. The two join forces and Hellish attacks begin and they begin to
uncover plots leading to Hell on Earth and "The End of Days".
Welp, I was first horrified to learn Reeves was picked for Constantine. But, he did a decent job. He's not THE Constantine of the comics, but he is a good American version, grim, damaged and bleak with doom. The action is pretty good and special effects are top notch (Stan Winston I believe). So, I bought it and enjoyed. Oh yes, the best scene-stealer is near the end, with the Devil himself making a personal appearance. And wait after the credits, there's a bit at the end, nothing stunning but definite Hellblazer moment. I would give this a 3, maybe 4 out of 5 and will buy the dvd.

Heidi Meeley said...

I agree with your assessments, Carl. Keanu most definitely was not John Constantine from the comic book, but the movie worked on many different levels.

A person just had to not compare the two to enjoy the flick!