Ain't It Cool News (US), August 17, 2004

The Last, Best, Most @$$hole-ish WIZARD WORLD CHICAGO Report Ever!!

(snipped for Constantine)

Sleazy: 18 minutes of footage from the upcoming film was shown, followed by an appearance by director Francis Lawrence. This is one of those projects I've been expecting to suck. I've been following this character for all of his nearly 200 issues, plus miniseries, one-shots, appearances in SWAMP THING and other titles, etc. Like everybody else who reads this stuff, I figured Keanu was dead wrong for the role and hated that they moved it to LA.

Bug: I on the other hand, have never read an issue of HELLBLAZER, so I didn’t really have any opinions leading up to the preview.

Sleazy: After seeing the footage, some of my concerns have been addressed, but others linger. It looks sharp as hell, and the pacing and the palette look appropriately deliberate and creepy. There were a lot of moments (and entire scenes) that were clearly borrowed straight from the comics, most notable Garth Ennis' inaugural story on the book. Papa Midnight, Gabriel...they seem to be handled fairly well. There was enough in that 18 minutes to make me think it'd be a decent genre film. Unfortunately, there's a scene that's so completely out of character it makes me cringe: an obviously Blade-inspired scene with Constantine using a shotgun that looks like a cross and fires holy water rounds. It's so not the way John would ever handle things that it's hard to swallow. I'm still hoping for the best, and again, the director really sounded convincing when he talked about making choices that stayed true to the character, but I'm still a little worried.

Bug: I kind of liked the preview. It was moody and Reeves was pretty restrained. The exorcism scene and the scene on the bus with a youthful Constantine were especially spooky. After the preview, I asked Brian Azzarello what he thought of it. The former HELLBLAZER scribe said that the clip blew him away and that it reminded him of a David Fincher flick. Pretty high praise.

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