Movie Reviews (such as they are)

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Back in the day, when I was a comic-store worker, I used to read Hellblazer. It was one of very few DC titles that I read, being more of a Marvel and Dark Horse fan. So when I first heard that a film was being made based on Hellblazer, I was mildly interested.

Despite this interest, it has taken me from then to now to actually get around to watching the film, which came to be known as Constantine and stars Keanu Reeves as the grouchy, chain-smoking eponymous John C.

First up, let me start by saying it's a long time since I last read any of JC's adventures, but the film didn't seem much like I remember from the books. (That might be just me, though, and my poor and fading memory. Old age comes to us all.) As such, I felt like I spent a good chunk of the film trying to work out what was wrong with the film.

The truth is, as a film in its own right, there's not that much wrong with it, per se. But I don't know how much it would work for people who don't know the comics. And you gotta feel for the filmmakers: you tackle a fairly unknown comic-book character (it's not Spider-Man or The Hulk, y'know?) and you have years of source material, but you want to make a fast action movie that will appeal to non-readers, ideally without alienating long-term fans...

The story was okay. The effects were okay. I dunno what to tell you. It was okay overall.

The most interesting performance came from Tilda Swinton as Archangel Gabriel. She is a great actress and always good in androgynous roles. I really enjoyed watching her. Peter Stormare makes an appearance as the Devil himself, and he was fun in that hammy way that he is fun. (Having seen Ray Wise in Reaper, though, I can't help wondering why he hasn't played the Devil more often!) Keanu was Keanu: you know what you're gonna get, more or less. And Rachel Weisz (who shares my birthday) was good and watchable, as ever ("I'm a librarian!", anyone?). Oh yeah, Shia LaBeouf was in it too.

So, all in all, it was okay. But okay just don't cut it in my house, and ultimately I wished I could have back the time I spent watching it. I give Constantine 60 points out of 100.

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