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Constantine: Deluxe Edition
DVD disk
07.27.2005 By: Quigles
Constantine: Deluxe Edition order
Director:
Francis Lawrence

Actors:
Keanu Reeves
Rachel Weisz
Shia LaBeouf

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Based on the Hellblazer comic series, the story centers around a chain-smoking jackass by the name of John Constantine who has a gift. He can see what others cannot (demons, angels, half-breeds – all of them). He knows his fate; he is destined to go to hell when he dies. So he acts as a demon hunter, trying to get back in the big guy’s good graces in order to earn a place in Heaven.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
When I caught this movie on the big screen awhile back, I was somewhat disappointed. I wouldn’t say I was expecting too much, but was actually expecting a completely different film. As per usual, the trailers were highly deceptive, and led me to believe I was in for an action flick, which is far from the truth. Sure, it has some action, but underneath it’s down and dirty exterior, this movie is more of a horror/thriller than anything. That said, on my second viewing (now on DVD) I was able to let loose more and enjoy this film for what it really is. Still, my opinion hasn’t altered completely; the movie could certainly benefit from another action scene or two. More importantly though, the finished script should have undergone major revisions before shooting began. So much of the movie is spent explaining all the rules of heaven and hell, yet there is still so much that goes unexplained. It seems the filmmakers did some research about the workings of various beliefs, and from a non-religious standpoint, they prove their knowledge admirably. The problems lie in its execution, which is spent plainly saying how things work, when they should be “showing” instead. Matters are only made worse considering how much stuff is thrown at you within a 2-hour period; there isn’t even enough time to fully develop any of the ideas. The film is chock-full of half-introduced concepts and explanations for things that don’t make sense, plus other subjects that still feel unexplained even though they were supposedly clarified. Confused yet? Good. Now you know what it’s like watching CONSTANTINE.

Once you get past the nonsensical nature of the film’s plot, you might just be able to enjoy to craziness of it all. The director’s wicked interpretation of hell alone makes this flick worth a rental. Speaking of the director, he’s got some talent! The film bristles with gnarly shots abound, starting promptly with a sweet overhead shot of Reeves walking out of his cab, dropping his cigarette on the ground with a loud thud. If I were to summarize this movie in one word, I would choose “cool”, and that also applies to (believe it or not) Reeves’ performance. I mean, this guy may have acting skills equal to (or lesser than) that of a block of wood, but he certainly amplifies his likeability towards the audience, and could easily be characterized as the “epitome of awesomeness”. Then again, “epitome of dullness and density” could just as easily apply, so I don’t really know which side to defend. Whatever the case, if the world is in need of saving, Keanu Reeves is your man. This is his world, and he fits perfectly in it. A lot of the sub-characters, however, do not. I like Shia LeBeouf, but he just doesn’t really work here (similar to how he was in I, ROBOT). His character is distracting, and not nearly as funny as he should be, considering he’s supposed to act as “comic relief”. The loony priest also didn’t do it for me. What the hell was the deal with him, anyway? He just kinda felt tossed into the mix, with nothing propelling him past anything more than a throwaway character. On the other side of the table, though, Rachel Weisz is outstanding. She’s strong in her performance and wears wet clothing. ‘Nuff said.

Demons getting trapped in mirrors, people running through hell, girls walking on ceilings, a hell-creature made entirely out of bugs; all that and more awaits you in CONSTANTINE. Can you dig it?
THE EXTRAS
There is an outstanding assortment of extras spread over the two discs for this Deluxe Edition DVD, which also includes a comic book. Keep in mind that there is also a regular edition for the movie, which only contains the deleted scenes and a trailer.

Disc 1:

Commentary (with the director, producer, and screenwriters): This is a highly informative track, that is, when they aren’t joking around. The speakers’ attitude make it enjoyable to listen to as well, with the director being especially fun and interesting to listen to.

In addition there is a Music Video from the excellent band A Perfect Circle, with their song “Passive”. The Teaser Trailer and Theatrical Trailer are included as well.

Disc 2:

Conjuring Constantine (15:08): This is a somewhat short, but quite enlightening, featurette that details the transformation of the “comic to screen” adaptation. Entertaining, as well as informative.

The Production From Hell:
  • Director’s Confessional (5:35): A quick look at the Francis Lawrence’s fears/thoughts when he first began shooting, as well as how the casting process went down.
  • Collision With Evil (4:39): A cool segment on how the opening sequence in the film was done, and how the setting was changed for budget.
  • Holy Relics (7:38): A super-sweet look at the props department, and the dirty secrets behind how basic some of them are. I especially enjoyed watching them put together the crucifix-gun.
Imagining the Underworld:
  • Hellscape (11:59): A cool feature that explains how the flame-engulfed version of LA (a.k.a. Hell) was made. There’s some very nice behind-the-scenes footage to check out.
  • Visualizing Vermin (9:36): An interesting look at how the bug-dude was put together for the movie, and how they extended the scene to make it more entertaining.
  • Warrior Wings (2:28): A nice, brief extra explaining the thoughts behind how the bird-like wings were visualized for the film.
  • Unholy Abduction (5:30): This delves a bit into how they created the scene Angela gets yanked through the offices of a high-rise building. Very cool.
Constantine Cosmology (5:19): A semi-interesting (sort of dull) featurette with the author of The Hero’s Journey, Phil Cousineau, explaining the heroism behind Constantine.

Foresight: The Power of Pre-Visualization (13:56 – with optional commentary): There are about ten scene comparisons of the real footage and the CGI previs, as well as three abandoned scenes made in previs. I dug them. The commentary was great too.

Deleted Scenes (17:15 – with optional commentary): There are 14 of them. The scenes themselves range from lame to semi-cool, but the most notably appealing aspect of them is the excellent commentary. There is also an interesting scene that has Constantine talking to a hottie half-breed, right after doing the nasty with her.

Miscellaneous:

50-Page Comic Book: I can’t say too much about this, because I didn’t receive the comic with my preview copy of the DVD, but it’s described like so, “An Exclusive Collectible "Hellblazer" Comic Book Featuring a Reprint of Issue #41, "Dangerous Habits," and a "Hellblazer" Short Story”.

Easter Eggs!!!

Easter Egg #1 (1:18): On the main Extras page, highlight “The Production From Hell” and go right. A symbol should be revealed; click it to listen to Frank Cappello discuss an animatic he created.

Easter Egg #2 (2:03): Click “The Production From Hell”, and then highlight “Main Menu” and go left. A cross should be highlighted; click it to watch a super-short featurette on the making of a complex fight scene.

Easter Egg #3 (2:01): Go into the “Imagining The Underworld” menu, and highlight “Hellscape”, and then press right to reveal a symbol. Click it to watch Gavin Rossdale undergo a four-hour make-up job in timelapse. He also talks a bit about making the movie.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This may be a colossal mess of a movie, but it’s a fun colossal mess of a movie. If you’re looking for some thrills, chills, and Keanu Reeves once again saving the planet, then CONSTANTINE may be your bag. If you’re already a fan, and are looking to buy, I highly recommend the 2-disc Deluxe Edition. The special features are terrific, and actually made me enjoy the movie a whole lot more.
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