Complications Ensue:
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Monday, September 19, 2005

I'm halfway through watching Constantine. (Yes, it's that compelling.) And what I'm wondering is, why they felt the need to have the hero be John Constantine? Being as he doesn't wear a trenchcoat (a coat, yes, but a tan trenchcoat, not), is clearly on the side of Heaven, and doesn't crack wise. Let alone, isn't British. Oh, yes, and he's got a little sob story about growing up with the Sight.

John Constantine doing an exorcism gratis, in the hopes it will get him in good with God???

The movie's cool enough, it's just nothing to do with the John Constantine I know. Couldn't they have called Keanu Reeves' character by some other name? Leaving room for a movie about, well, John Constantine?


Do you think having Keanu called by another name would have gotten the fans through the door and/or into the DVD sales racks? At least in sufficient numbers?

Personally, I would have loved to see Paul Bettany as Constantine.

By Blogger Bill Cunningham, at 2:24 PM  

Bettany would be an excellent choice... I really hope he play the Joker in Batman Begins 2

I wonder: Would people have accused the Reeves' movie of plagerism if they hadn't called it Constantine?

By Blogger Jason Sanders, at 9:09 PM  

hmm.. I remember watching Constantine not too long ago, but I can't remember why I watched the entire movie.. All I can remember is Keanu smoking a lot..

By Blogger mari, at 11:58 PM  

I agree Alex. Most of the film has very little to do with the comic book outside of the title. It wasn't bad, you just can't smoke a lot and pose and have a great film. Well, maybe with Bogart.

Mark's Screenwriting Page

By Blogger Mark, at 2:29 AM  

Key phrase: 'inspired by'. It has enough of the influence per se, as the comic book was still an unknown rarity among American (and other) audiences, maybe jazzing it up couldn't hurt. It didn't, had a far wider impact than Hellboy, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the Punisher. And Francis Lawrence sure poured more into it than your average comic book movie. This isn't a movie only ever aimed at the Comic Book Convention types. Regardless, of purist sentiments, it was a commercial/rental success and has greatly increased demand for 'the real story' comics. So, in the macroview, I look at it as a win, win.

Constantine didn't quite have the cultic-mania hook in that Hitchhikers or Frank Miller did, therefore you can be more liberal and more commercial. Frank had to be a part before he'd approve, and only ever after Robert wore him down. And Hitchhikers fans, you will never please, and that quippy British dry humor is a hard thing to script or be understood by non-British audiences.

Any other name, would be starting all over. It's marketing. Even thought many might not know, there is still a mechandising base upon which to launch.

But let Kevin have his say....

By Blogger Christopher Coulter, at 5:54 AM  

Just read the link Christopher and I have to say it's a bad sign when the producers don't really know the character they're going to make a movie about.

If this movie had been pitched more along the lines of a PROPHECY meets ANGEL HEART with a lot of THE EXORCIST thrown in then, I think we would have seen more of the darkness that's inherent in the character. It's stupid to lead off with "From the DC-Vertigo Comics series" when that's not the only audience you're going for here.

Another missed opportunity...

By Blogger Bill Cunningham, at 1:02 PM  

Missed opportunity? Depends on your viewpoint. It was a nice earner and it's worldwide take was nearly are good and DVD sales will be great. It's high $90M budget was the main downside. With Batman, Chocolate, Dukes and Constantine in the domestic top 20, I don't think Warner is crying too much. ;) Plus Dan Fellman said they are doing another was an unknown factor and it pulled near triple. That says win to me.

And they led off with the comic pitch sure, but they didn't stay on the comic book path. The classic Good vs. Evil, fighting the Devil with great visuals, brought in a slew of people who haven't touched a comic book in their life. The preview and the tagline hooked it. I even think the casting worked. Reeves sometimes makes my teeth hurt, but his dark brooding 'Devils Advocate' mode worked here perfectly, imho.

By Blogger Christopher Coulter, at 6:20 AM  

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