My weekly TV column is up at Torontoist.
If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a dozen times: Constantine is a perfectly good little urban fantasy movie that is unfortunately named after a largely unrelated comics character.
I feel the same way about I, Robot.
I also liked Constantine. It’s not at all like the comic books, but as a standalone supernatural movie it’s a lot of fun.
No excuse for liking I, Robot though.
Constantine really wasn’t bad. Really, the complaints everyone seems have about it boiled down to “he’s neither blonde nor British!”
There are other levels to criticize it (Rachel Weisz was, well, not interesting. It was trite and smarmy in places.), but on the whole, it’s a decent film.
Of course, I still like the Ben Affleck Daredevil (at least the Director’s Cut). So, appropriate NaCl dosage.
I really enjoyed Constantine but I also saw Season of the Witch in the theater, on purpose, so my taste is probably suspect at best.
My first response to “he doesn’t smoke” is “but how do they do Dangerous Habits, then?!” But I guess that was also the general plot of the Reeves movie, so maybe they’re sparring us a rehash.
I agree with @Michael in the first comment. If you think of it as a Vertigo-ish urban fantasy movie that just happens to share the name of Constantine, it’s actually pretty good in places*, and mostly okay in the rest.
(*) Pretty much any scene with Lucifer or Gabriel in it, really.
As for I, Robot, IMHO it’s actually a mostly good movie about Asimov’s ‘Zeroth Law’, though this time the good scenes mostly involve Alan Tudyk. Weird coincidence that it’s named about one of Asimov’s seminal works given it’s about a different theme entirely.
The big problem with Keanustine is that they completely botch the Big Moment in which he flips the devil the bird, and the clever plan that he put in motion to get to that moment. The fun isn’t simply that he flips off the devil, it’s that it’s the payoff for an incredibly ballsy bit of brinksmanship. The movie’s resolution is just boring redemption stuff.
No, it’s not a bad movie taken entirely on its own merits and if you’re able to pretend the source material doesn’t exist, but by the same criteria, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy isn’t a bad movie either.
A movie should be allowed to deviate from the source, but that’s only if it actually comes up with something interesting on its own. Constantine’s changes to the original story aren’t about adding interest or making it more cinematic, they’re just about making it simpler and blander.
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