A wager between God and
the Devil has seen mankind been influenced by good and evil for millennia but
there has always been a steady balance until now. The emergence of the 'Spear
of Destiny', the weapon that killed Jesus Christ on the cross, has caused stirrings
in the deepest depths of Hell, leading the balance to shift in the favour of evil.
Supernatural detective John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), who has a gift to see
both the agents of good and evil on earth, sees this horror coming and it is up
to him to stop the coming apocalypse.
comic book movie hits the silver screen but does 'Constantine' have what it takes
to set the box office ablaze?
Based on the popular Vertigo/DC
comic book series 'Hellblazer', 'Constantine' opens your eyes to a world were
the difference between going to heaven and hell can be influenced by the powers
of good and evil. Here we see both angels and demons walking amongst us, pushing
mankind to extremes or bringing them back from the brink. This mythology of the
'Hellblazer' universe opens up a myriad of plot possibilities and a fascinating
outlet for both action and horror. Unfortunately the film doesn't capitalise on
Feeling more like the first act of a much larger
story, 'Constantine' is an introduction into the 'Hellblazer' universe. Here we
find out about the continuing battle for the control of the human soul by the
forces of light and dark. With an intriguing premise revealing how God and the
Devil made a wager about their influence over human beings, the film takes us
into the battleground of Earth as the balance between good and evil is though
on a covert scale. In the middle of this are a select number of 'gifted' humans
that can see the agents of good and evil on Earth. One of these people is John
Constantine, a self-proclaimed supernatural detective who has taken it himself
to banish the agents of hell who try and tip the balance more into their favour.
An intriguing premise that is only partly realised.
problem with the film is that it spends a lot of its time introducing you to these
facts and not enough time on the actual main plot of the film, the tipping of
the balance in the favour of evil and the plot that surrounds this. For a character
that already supposed to know all about this, John Constantine seems to spend
an awful lot of time rehashing a lot of things that he has already explained to
Angela Dodson but making out that he has discovered these facts for the first
time. As Angela becomes more awake to John's vision of the world, the interweaving
of backstory and current plot becomes confusing, when it would have been far similar
to reveal his in a flashback montage or an epic opening scene.
aside there is still much to enjoy about 'Constantine'. The look of the world
that the supernatural detective inhabits is superbly realised. Treating Heaven
and Hell as parallel universes that exist on the same plain as Earth, we see our
anti-hero travel into Hell itself to find him wondering through a fire engulfed
version of Los Angeles, where the film is set. Filled with demons and the souls
of the dammed, this version of Hell is more vivid and frightening than the usual,
more traditional approach as you can easily relate it to a destroyed version of
our own paradise.
The characters are also well realised. John
Constantine himself is a little bit more than your typical anti-hero. His gift
is more of a burden that he has to carry but he is driven in his fight to make
amends for a previous mistake that cost him his place in Heaven. Keanu Reeves
excels in these types of roles. While he might not be the best actor in the world,
he does have a screen presence that draws you into the characters he plays. Add
you this that he also does action really well and you have some one who is always
worth watching. Rachel Weisz is an actress that always draws your attention. No
stranger to big budget action films, this a role that calls for many of these
skills but also draws on her ability to create good, believeable characters. As
Angela, we meet a character riddled by grief over the death of her sister but
driven by the need to find out what happened to her. Add to this good support
from the constantly watchable Shia LaBeouf as Constantine's sidekick Chas, Djimon
Hounsou as Papa Midnite, Tilda Swinton as the archangel Gabriel and a fantastic
turn by Peter Stormare and you have an extremely watchable cast.
is a good comic book movie that only suffers from trying to tell you too much
in too shorter time. As this feels like the start of something much greater, this
first film does get bogged down in backstory and introductions into the 'Hellblazer'
universe, to the detriment of the main plot of the film. The performances, the
look of the film and the gripping finale make up for this however and make 'Constantine'
the first act of a continuing story of the fight between good and evil.
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1, the
movie is presented extremely well.
Single Disc Version
Commentary by Francis Lawrence, Frank Cappello and Kevin Brodbin
The director and the two co-screenwriters talk about bringing Alan Moore's
creation to the silver screen. The trio talk about the film's development
from the initial purchase of the rights and the first draft of the script
back in 1998 to the major and minor changes that occurred over the film's
development. They also talk about the change of location and the nationality
of the lead character, as they switch the story from England to the US
and Los Angeles, but trying to keep the full essence of Alan Moore's vision.
This is an interesting commentary from three men who have spent a lot
of time with the character and the project.
'Passive' Music Video by 'A Perfect Circle' (4.16 mins)
Watch the promotional music video that features clips from the movie and
the band descending into Hell.
Teaser and Theatrical Trailers (3.11 mins)
Watch the promotional trailers from 'Constantine'.
Movie Studios are now releasing single and double disc version of many
of their hit movies and 'Constantine' is another example. The single disc
version is for those people who just want the movie and not the extras
that add to the film and ultimately the price. This gives film fans the
option of what they want to buy, which is what everyone wants. The single
disc version still comes with a good commentary track and promotional
material, offering good value for the casual viewer but major fans should
buy the 2-disc set.
Deleted scenes, including an alternative ending
'The Production From
Hell' documentary gallery: Director's Confessional / Collision With Evil / Holy
'Imagining The Underworld' documentary gallery: Visualising Vermin
/ Warrior Kings / Unholy Abduction
'Conjuring Constantine - From Comic Book
To Film' featurette
'Constantine Cosmology - The Mythology Behind The Movie'
'Foresight - The Power Of Pre-Visualisation' featurette
Eggs (hidden features)
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