Hidden from mortal eyes are the angels and demons that coexist
with mankind... supernatural beings who seek to influence
our lives for better and for worse. Amoral and irreverent
renegade occultist and paranormal detective John Constantine
is blessed and cursed with the ability to interact with this
secret world. When Constantine teams up with sceptical L.A.
policewoman Angela Dodson to solve the mysterious suicide
of her twine sister, their investigation catapults them into
a catastrophic series of otherworldly events - even as the
forces of Hell conspire against Constantine to claim his immortal
based on the character John Constantine from the popular Hellblazer
series of graphic novels. When I first heard that a movie
was going to be made based on this series I was a little concerned.
My first thoughts were that a movie would be unfilmable -
if you wanted to do the character justice. I
was also confused as to why the film producers had decided
to call the movie Constantine instead of Hellblazer,
but I suppose it sounds a little too much like Hellbreeder.
John Shirley (who is working from a screenplay by Kevin Brodbin
and Frank Cappello) will already be familiar to horror fans.
He is the author of Crawlers and Demons. He
was also a co-screenwriter for The Crow. With that
in mind, Shirley seems suitably qualified to write this book.
Constantine was born with a gift that he didn't really want
- the ability to recognise the half-breed angels and demons
that roam the earth disguised as humans. Unhappy with this
gift, Constantine is driven to commit suicide. His attempt
fails and he is resuscitated. Now he patrols the earthly border
between heaven and hell, hoping in vain to earn his way to
salvation by waging war on the earthbound minions of evil.
But Constantine is no saint. Increasingly disillusioned by
the world around him and at odds with the one beyond, he's
a hard-drinking, hard-living bitter hero. Constantine will
fight to save your soul but he doesn't want your admiration
or your thanks. All he wants is a way out. When a police detective
called Angela Dodson enlists his help in solving the mysterious
death of her twin sister, their investigation takes them through
the world of demons and angels that exists in Los Angeles.
this book, I have still to see the movie (as there is still
a month until it is released here in the UK) and to be honest
I'm torn between whether I actually will. The plot is not
a million miles away from the Hellblazer universe.
And, as I read it I still had the image of the graphic novel
Constantine in my head (not the Keanu Reeves version from
the movie). It's
questionable whether die-hard Hellblazer fans will
be drawn into the narrative - there is a little dumbing down
in order to suck in non-graphic novel fans.
of the charm of Hellblazer, for me anyway, is the fact
that it is has a bitty narrative. While there is an ongoing
thread that ties all the episodes together, each story flies
off on another tangent and you're never entirely sure where
you'll be led. Sadly that isn't (and to be fair couldn't)
be the case with this story.
were also some parallels to be drawn between Reeves's best
known role - as Neo in The Matrix. He lives in one
world, yet doesn't really belong there; he can see and do
things that other's can't; and he has powers that mere mortals
don't possess. But, more disturbingly, this book read like
a very poor Angel novel.
while I enjoyed this book, I couldn't help thinking that as
a movie it just wouldn't work that well. There's not that
much of a story here - not to span over 90 minutes anyway
and the more I thought about it, the more (as I mentioned
before) like The Matrix this seemed to be.
of the graphic novels will probably be very disappointed but
it will probably appeal to those who will see the movie and
are not that familiar with the origins of the comic book character.
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