Random Thoughts About Constantine

As we approach Halloween, and since I did the same with the Gotham and Flash pilots, here are some stray thoughts I had watching the premiere of Constantine, which a part of me really would rather see called Hellblazer. Ah well.

1. I know it's because I JUST watched Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell, but a lot of the story and feel of the show seemed to come right out of that film. A real Sam Raimi vibe, with white-eyed demon possession à la Evil Dead, slightly extreme action gags, and proper gross horror visuals/jump scares. And a girl running from an insubstantial demon who wants to take her soul? That really is Drag Me to Hell.

2. Matt Ryan as John Constantine is fine, even if his accent tends to vacillate, he has the right amount of callous wit. But the LOOK is almost too comic booky. I don't know if it's the red tie, or the faux-blond hair that might as well be a wig (maybe it is, I don't know), but it feels self-conscious and posed. It sort of pays off when a mysterious woman is seen drawing him at the end, but that's not really the point.

3. Obviously, the show has to take place in the U.S. and have a mostly American cast. Atlanta is shot as Atlanta, and that's an interesting city we're not used to seeing on film. It, and the surrounding woods, could be anywhere at this point though, especially given the relative lack of Southern accents. The one exception, Jeremy Davies from Justified as one of Constantine's Newcastle group doesn't appear to be a regular. Hopefully  Papa Midnite will put a little more local spice in the stew in coming weeks.

4. Constantine may or may not be part of the same universe as DC's other shows - Arrow, Gotham and Flash - but either way, it may open up the mystical corner of the DCU wide open. The pilot wasn't as overtly Easter Eggy as, say, the Flash's was, but we did get to see the Helmet of Fate, and that's BIG. A quick glance at the IMDB listing shows Jim Corrigan set to feature in a number of episodes. No word yet as to whether or not he becomes the Spectre. You know who else I'd like to see show up? Freakin' Jason Blood, that's who.

5. I imagine most television viewers who are familiar with Constantine will have come across him through the Keanu Reeves film. It's definitely part of the show's DNA. In line with that, John is visited by an angel who forces him to do things he doesn't want to do (and who will be a recurring character), and there are scenes where the world of spirits becomes visible, though not to Constantine himself. That all reminded me of the movie a lot. And that's fine. Not a great movie, but it had some good ideas. Maybe they'll be better exploded as a serial. Already, there's some heavy foreshadowing about a war of Heaven and Hell coming to Earth.

6. I'd heard Constantine wouldn't be allowed to smoke on TV, but I was gratified to see him butt one out at the start of a scene. Being a smoker is just such a big part of his character.

7. Overall, it was a lot better than I expected. The horror beats were surprisingly effective, especially for a network show. John himself was at once sympathetic and a cool bastard. The way an ancient demon is differently powered by the existence of modern technology is pretty interesting. And they drop enough mystery to feed whatever arcs they want to make the character follow.

To be honest, I've been horrible at following ANY weekly TV show, and when I recommend something, what I really mean is, I'm probably gonna buy the DVD and watch it all in one go. That's as true with this as with the other three DC shows.


SallyP said...

I would love to have Jason Blood show up!

Preferably naked, but that's just me.

Siskoid said...

That's probably just you. Well, who knows.


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