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Constantine

02/21/05

  11:20:50 pm, by Nimble   , 398 words  
Categories: Reviews, Movies

Constantine

Link: http://constantinemovie.warnerbros.com/

Ever since Tim Burton's rendition of Batman, "serious" translations of comic book to silver screen have become increasingly common. The Hulk, X-Men, Spawn, Spider-Man, all have eschewed the Adam West-in-spandex approach to comics, to get at some of the serious themes underneath. The tortured heroes have always been the most interesting.

Normally it's the DC or Marvel comics that have made the journey to film. This time, however, it's the 'off-label' spawn of DC Comics, Vertigo Comics, that provides the story.

Vertigo hosts darker, starker, sometimes more offensive, and often more philosophical comics (The Invisibles always leaves me with the feeling I've missed hundreds of literary references)

Neil Gaiman's famous Sandman starts off the lineup. Neil Gaiman's influence extends through a number of the comics, and there is a fair amount of character cross-over. Sandman characters show up in the Books of Magic, and so does the pseudo-hero of Hellblazer, John Constantine.

I'll admit right off - I've read many Vertigo titles, but never Hellblazer, on which the Constantine movie is based. That said, it has a decided Vertigo feel to it. I'll leave it to others to say how faithful a translation it is (or how important it is that it should be) :)

Atheist though I am, I love mythology-based movies when done well. Titles like Stigmata, as well as light-hearted ones like Dogma, thrill my sense of the fantastic.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. There are roles that suit Keanu, and this is definitely one of them. I wasn't entralled with Rachel Weisz's performance in spots - there's little that comes through to foreshadow what comes of her character later, but a decent performance otherwise. I also really enjoyed Tilda Swinton's quirky performance as Gabriel.

The movie poses, but does not answer, some profound questions, some religious (e.g. if you kill yourself, but do not ultimately succeed, are you still damned?), some not so.

The effects are incredible, though occasional, and put to good use. The vision of hell as a step 'sideways' a la Darkseed II is impressive.

Make sure to stay past the credits to catch a short scene at the end.

(Personally, I love being rewarded for sitting through the credits)

Speaking of which, to the jerks at Sunridge Spectrum, who turned on the freakishly bright lights partway into the credits, a hearty "screw you" to you!

This movie goes on my wish list. :)

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