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I saw this mentioned in the trailer thread, and thought it more appropriate to resurrect an old thread specifically about the trailer itself instead of jolting a more broadly-framed thread off course. So...

As a great fan of the comic (was a fan of John Constantine since Swamp Thing, and have most of the issues of the Alan Moore and Garth Ennis run of Hellblazer), I need to say two things:

1. I will see this movie when it comes out

2. It will make me cry as I see the character as envisioned by Moore and built on by Ennis is butchered, bastardized, trivialized, other kinds of things that end in "ized" that are not good

Why they decided to butcher the character of John Constantine by making him both American and Keanu Reeves is beyond me.

And to be frank, I don't really mind Keanu Reeves. Nor do I blame him for choosing the role -- if it were offered to me, I would have taken it as well... and I'm just as bad a choice as Reeves.

This movie is going to infuriate me. And I'm going to give them my money anyway.

*sigh*

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Yeah, from the trailer it looks like Keanu is in his usual 'I'm a man of few words' persona, but I'm reserving judgment. And Rachel Weisz does little wrong. biggrin.gif

The cinematography looks great; of course, it's Philippe Rousselot, same guy who did Interview with a Vampire and Big Fish...

And Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. wink.gif

----------

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Yeah, from the trailer it looks like Keanu is in his usual 'I'm a man of few words' persona, but I'm reserving judgment.

The thing that bothers me, I guess, is that it looks like a movie Keanu could do well in, if it was just about some guy who knew a lot about the supernatural who was American and who lived in the US.

However, he's not just some guy. He's supposed to be playing John Constantine. Jason, only you will understand this reference, but Constantine is one of the personality types I used as a source of inspiration when I was fleshing out Grif. Only Constantine is darker, a lot edgier and about a billion times more sarcastic.

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You live in the middle of nowhere. You don't have any friends, remember?

Hmm, the loved ones, though...

Just hide your wife.

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We'll keep this thread as the official Constantine thread, since the other one is more focused on an issue that's rather tangential. We probably should have made that thread the official Constantine thread when it first started. But at this point, let's just leave things as they are. After all, there's no law that says we've got to combine related threads. It's just a useful feature to help keep things generally organized.

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I watched that trailer a couple more times--I can't help but keep thinking of Peretti's Darkness novels...of course, it's purely the association; I doubt any of the demons fighting ol' Ted Theodore Logan will be named things like 'Doubt' and 'Envy'...

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FWIW, the Vancouver library has only two Hellblazer graphic novels -- Son of Man (published in 2004, contains issues #129-133 published in 1998-1999) and Haunted (published in 2003, contains issues #134-139 published in 1999) -- and I am wondering if these would give me a decent-enough introduction to the character, or if I should really, really, really look for certain OTHER issues or graphic novels.

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The new issue of Relevant has a cover article on Constantine, placing it within the context of Hollywood's fascination with the supernatural. I didn't get a chance to read all of it, but it seemed to me that the writer was trying a little too hard to turn Constantine into a "Big Spiritual Movie".

On a sidenote, I found this MetaFilter post about a series that Alan Moore proposed to DC shortly after Watchmen, in which Constantine played a major role. Very interesting, especially Moore's thoughts on legend and myth in general.

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I don't know much about the comic, but from the extended trailer I couldn't help but think that it looked like a cross between The Matrix and The Ninth Gate.

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Well, Harry Forbes has done it again. He's posted his review of a film way, way, way too early.

Somebody needs to teach this guy a thing or two about journalistic ethics.

Not only that, but he seems to have already started forgetting details. He mentions something about a "sword of destiny." In fact, the film couldn't have made it more clear that the weapon in question was a spear. In fact, the film claims it's the spear that killed Christ.

Ahhh, yes, you're beginning to see how Christologically confused Constantine is. You're asking, "Since when did a spear kill Christ?"

I saw the film at the junket in L.A. last week, alongside SDG and a few others Christian-press colleagues. It opens on February 18. My review will be up at CT Movies on opening day, and it will also appear in the print magazine Christianity Today.

I'll also share with you what kind of answers I received when I asked the stars and the filmmakers whether or not the Christian traditions and terminology that they use in the film have any personal relevance for them. The interview sessions included Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia Leboef, Djimon Hounsou, Francis Lawrence, rock star Gavin Rossdale (of Bush), and the screenwriters Kevin Bodbin and Frank Capello.

The answers were many and varied. Some of them were quite intriguing. So stay tuned....

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Okay. Indulge me this one time.

Based on the DC/Vertigo "Hellblazer" series of graphic novels by Jamie Delano and Garth Ennis

Um, Alan Moore?

The first exorcism he performs, on a Latina girl in Los Angeles

"Latina girl"? Seems somewhat redundant...

He hopes that by rooting out demons he'll earn brownie points for heaven, but to his anxious queries -- "Haven't I served him enough?" -- the angel Gabriel (Tilda Swinton in male drag) proffers little hope.

How was she male, rather than androgynous? And what Gabriel actually proffered in that scene was one of the film's most significant soteriological statements. Odd thing not to comment on.

And a troubled priest (Pruitt Taylor Vince), a recovered alcoholic

Recovered?

Constantine frequents a private bar, run by a honcho named Midnite (Djimon Hounsou)

Honcho?

who has a sinister sidekick named Balthazaar (Gavin Rossdale)

It's Balthazar AFAIK.

With the aid of a cat, and sitting with his feet in a pan of water, he's able to take an excursion to hell, portrayed in the traditional way -- lots of red, frightening creatures and writhing bodies.

Hell is actually portrayed rather non-traditionally as a kind of ever-burning post-holocaust version of where you are -- LA, in this case.

Constantine obliges by holding her under the water in a bathtub, a distasteful scene that reads as a brutal drowning, even though it's not.

Actually, it IS a brutal drowning, just not a permanently fatal one. What it READS as is a kind of anti-baptism (a la The Cell).

a "sword of destiny" (aka the weapon used to pierce Christ on the cross)

What Jeff said. Even if you didn't know anything about Christianity, the film makes it pretty clear that Christ was pierced with a spear, not a sword.

Weisz, with her Brooke Shields' good looks

When did Weisz acquire Brooke Shields, let alone her looks?

Swinton's Gabriel is reminiscent of Emma Thompson's angel turn in "Angels in America," but whether she's actually supposed to be a woman is never truly explained.

This is rather muddled, but since the movie is muddled on Gabriel's identity too, let it pass.

"Only in the time of horror can you find your noblest self," Gabriel informs Constantine, emblematic of the film's poppycock philosophy.

Um, actually, Gabriel is more or less right on that point. Only the practical conclusions he/she drew from it were poppyock.

(With apologies to Harry, should he ever read this, and a standing invitation to poke at my reviews as much as he likes. smile.gif )

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A couple of articles from the Sci Fi channel's website...

Weisz: Constantine Is Deep

"I think it's definitely entertainment," Weisz said in an interview. "But within the entertainment is housed some pretty serious topics about morality and free will and predestination and what's God's plan and how we can do good and the capacity as human beings that we have to do good. So I think it's definitely entertainment. It's a thriller. It's fantasy. It's supernatural. It's all those things. But I think there's food for thought, and I think it will make people debate and talk about [the issues]. There's a lot of ways to interpret it. I personally think it's very smart."

Finding Constantine's Essence

"When I read the script and familiarized myself with the work, I saw that what was important was really the essence of Constantine," Reeves said during a press conference while promoting the film. "And we worked really hard to keep that aspect of it, because it's really what it's all about: that kind of hard-edged, hard-boiled, world-weary, cynical, fatalistic, nihilistic, self-interested [guy], with a heart. ... And I think we did. I mean, I hope so. I hope that fans of the comic don't feel that we sabotaged something that is so well-loved."

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Hell through the Hollywood lens

Reeves urged moviegoers not to judge his world-weary character too harshly, because he does muster up one act of self sacrifice. In the "secular religiosity" of this film, that is enough. "That's what, you know, gives him a chance of going upstairs," said Reeves. "But ... did he make the sacrifice so that he could go to heaven, or does he really mean it?" In the end, "the man upstairs knows, just like Santa Claus, if you're telling a lie or if you're really nice. He knows." And all the people said: Whoa.

Terry Mattingly, February 2

- - -

So apparently the story concerns what happens after "Gabriel gets ticked off at humanity and decides to cue the apocalypse." Sounds like The Prophecy all over again.

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[in the end, "the man upstairs knows, just like Santa Claus, if you're telling a lie or if you're really nice. He knows."

What *is* it abot movie stars finding meaning in Santa at the moment? First Tom Hanks with The Polar Express, now Reeves. Is there a new cult we don't know about?... Santology??!! Make them stop, make them stop!!

Phil.

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Heh. I just have to take credit for Jeff and me: Terry's Keanu quotes were not only occasioned by Jeff's and my questions for Keanu, they were also transcribed for Terry by moi. Terry may even have gotten that "Whoa" punchline from me. smile.gif

The three of us were at the junket together, Terry's flight was at 3:00, Jeff's and mine were at 4:00, Keanu was 45 minutes late for the press conference, and Terry eventually had to leave, asking us if we could email him the best quotes. Jeff and I left 15 minutes into the press conference, after we both very luckily got to get our questions in. And on Monday Jeff and I got an email from Terry who was very anxious for a Keanu quote, so I transcribed Keanu's answers to Jeff's and my questions from my own tape and sent them along.

In my version of the story later this week, you will see in what context I inserted an editorial "Whoa" in my email to Terry. smile.gif

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Well, I just saw the film last night and I have to admit (as I did in an email with Jeffrey) that I am totally flabbergasted that Warner Brothers would have paid the PR firms big bucks to market this film to Christians. I'm also disturbed that the PR guy I thought I could trust (am I naive or what) gave me such a big sell on this film - and even wanted me to call him and "discuss this" after I saw the film but before I wrote my review. He's been VERY anxious about me not coming to the junket (which would have meant me writing a feature piece for Crosswalk rather than a review). Having now seen the film, I'm VERY glad I'm writing a review; our readers need it.

The quote from Gabriel was helpful, Jeffrey, because the way I rememembered it, she told him that the only way he could get into heaven was to confront horror - which seemed quite the opposite from what I've come to understand about the gospel i.e. it's not confronting Satan/evil that grants us salvation but acknowledging Christ. How did you interpret that? Oh, and by the way, I thought that Constantine called Gabriel "she" at one point.

I was disturbed by the film's denial of the crucifixion. If Christ was killed by the spear, he did NOT willingly die - a very key point. Also, the soldier's spear, which drew serum that had separated from blood (rather than just blood), is the one bit of medical evidence that we have to substantiate Christ's death (and thus deny the possibility that somehow, Christ was still alive when he was placed in the tomb and was therefore not resurrected from the dead). After death, the serum separates. So this is another crucial point about the crucifixion.

I was also bothered by the way that the film revolves around the notion that anyone who kills themselves must necessarily go to Hell. I've heard that this is Roman Catholic theology but can anyone tell me if this is still the case, post Vatican II? And will someone who commits suicide also be denied a Christian buriel? Stephen? Obviously this is a huge premise of the film because of the way they do visit Hell, and the manner in which they get there (already discussed, so this is no spoiler).

I could go on - and I'd like to - but I don't want to spoil the film for those who haven't seen it. Would it be worthwhile for me to post a new thread for those who've seen the film and want to discuss it? Thanks for the feedback.

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I could go on - and I'd like to - but I don't want to spoil the film for those who haven't seen it.  Would it be worthwhile for me to post a new thread for those who've seen the film and want to discuss it?  Thanks for the feedback.

Generally, if someone wants to discuss events in a film that has not been released yet, we usually use the spoilers1.gif tag.

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