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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Constantine
Constantine
Warner Bros. // R // July 19, 2005
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted July 18, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
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The Movie:

Based upon the popular DC comic "Hellblazer", "Constantine" had all the elements of success - or at least cult success - a picture about one guy trying to save Earth, which is in the middle of a battle between Heaven and hell. The guy being John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a reluctant hero who manages to see through different beings in the world and spot bad spirits. Constantine, unfortunately, also is suffering from lung cancer due to smoking since he was young - and the outlook doesn't look good.

Meanwhile, Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz, who makes for a nice pairing with Reeves) is a cop investigating the death of her twin sister. Apparently, it had something to do with the discovery of the spear of destiny, an object that can bring great power to whoever gets control of it. There's also something about a battle between Heaven and hell, and the fact that Constantine is working to spiritually redeem himself by sending demons back to where they came from. Throw into that pot the archangel Gabriel (Tilda Swinton) and demon Balthazar (Gavin Rossdale, former lead singer of the band Bush.)

In other words, the plot doesn't matter a whole heck of a lot - the movie only tries to get across the general idea and goes from there. While the plot is a bit of a mess, I was at least encouraged by the fact that the picture was trying. In a sea of repetitive, cookie-cutter pictures coming out, to see a studio picture this bizarre, this dark, at least meant that I was never not quite involved with this flick.

The feature debut of music video helmer Francis Lawrence, "Constantine" looks great - the picture has a strong visual style and yet isn't edited in rapid-fire fashion. The CGI effects aren't 100%, but they are still very effective. Also helping matters is Reeves who, while not offering a tremendous performance, is still better here than he's been in a while. Weisz and many others (Rossdale is surprisingly good in a moderate-sized role) add fine supporting efforts.

While not something that's going to win any awards, "Constantine" was a rather wild, entertaining picture that I found consistently engaging.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Constantine" is presented by Warner Brothers in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is absolutely terrific, as the image remained sharp and wel-defined throughout, with no softness or other inconsistencies. Aside from some very slight edge enhancement, the picture appeared crisp, clean and free of any issues such as print flaws or pixelation. The color palette is largely subdued, but there are instances of very warm, bold colors at times. Colors are presented well, ooking accurately rendered and nicely saturated.

SOUND: "Constantine" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The audio mix handles the material quite well, as surrounds are often rather aggressively engaged in order to deliver various sound effects and ambience. Many scenes are quite enveloping, throwing sound all around the viewer in a very enveloping and immersive manner. Audio quality is quite good, with sound effects that seem dynamic and punchy and well-recorded score and dialogue. Some instances of deep bass are also present during the most intense sequences.

EXTRAS: There is a 2-DVD Special Edition with more supplements. However, this more basic edition provides 18 minutes worth of deleted scenes (w/optional commentary from director Lawrence) and the film's trailer.

Final Thoughts: "Constantine" got a bit of a mixed reception when it hit theaters, but I found it to be a weird and interesting picture that consistently kept my attention. The DVD offers very good audio/video quality, and some minor supplements. Recommended for fans (who will probably want to check out the Special Edition instead), a rental for those who haven't seen it.

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