Friday, February 04, 2005

Sometimes I really miss living near mi hermano, The Amazing Steanso.

Sure, he's lice ridden and smells like that white-cheddar Mac and Cheese they serve you in elementary school, but aside from his incontinence, I like to think he and I have a lot in common.

Namely, we both really, really like bad movies. More specifically, we could always get each other excited about going to see a movie with a somewhat promising premise which we knew had been an utter failure in its execution.

And with commercials now running ad nauseum for Constantine, I am missing Jason more than ever. BY GOD, we would have been out to see that one opening night.

What Constantine has going for it:

Constantine is based upon DC's Hellblazer comic, a long running title featuring a lower-class Brit who happens to know quite a bit about the world of magic. John Constantine was envisioned by Alan Moore, the same guy who gave us From Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Watchmen and numerous other ingenious comics. (note: some of these have been translated into abysmal movies).

The trick to the comic is that Constantine isn't Merlin. He's not flying around on magic carpets and shooting lasers out of his eyes. Constantine uses the sort of magic that if he swings a dead cat around his head for half an hour under a blood-red moon while chanting the words to "House of the Rising Sun", he might somehow come out on the winning end of a bet. It's that sort of voo-doo, witchy magic.

The comics are pretty good, and I followed them for years until they got on a creative team I didn't like, and I just never got back into Hellblazer.

Constantine's story is basically about a guy who, when we meet him, we know, no matter what, he is going to Hell. He tends to get his friends killed, he tends to lie, cheat and steal to get the job done, and he literally makes deals with the devil (hey, it's how he beat lung cancer...). So, right... Kind of a cool, grubby, underground comic which isn't looking for superheroes overhead, it's looking at the worms in the gutter.

Technically, in a lot of ways, Hellblazer is a horror comic.

Strikes against:

Now, essential to the comic is the fact that John is lower class, middle-aged and British. John's roots in late 70's punk bands, Thatcherian-era recession and whatnot are key character elements in a book which relies 95% on character and 5% on plot.

Flat out, this SHOULD have been a Gary Oldman vehicle, and instead we have Ted S. Preston, Esq.

At least he's smoking and wearing a tie. That's a start.

The movie also appears to be an action flick. Translation: the producers optioned another comic in the wake of Spider-Man's success, only to find out the comic was about a chain-smoking Londoner who stands around a lot using the "f-bomb." Unsure of what, exactly, they should do with the material, they cut it down to the few times Constantine has ever been depicted running, and voila!

I am so hoping I am wrong. I really am. But, somehow, I have a really bad feeling about this. Sometimes you wish they would just rip off the source material, rename it and sell it as something new rather than demonstrating that they totally did not understand what they bought in the first place.

I'll probably still go see this movie. I don't know why, but I'll probably still go see it if Jamie is game. But I guarantee you, Jason would be PUMPED UP to go and see this flick, and he'd have $6.00 for a coke and popcorn, too.

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