Saturday, February 26th, 2005
Rake At The Gates Of Hell
The tragedy of it all is that of all the comic book adaptations that have found their way to the big screen in recent years, Hellblazer would have been one of the easiest to do right. Part of the beauty of the character of John Constantine is that he’s all about the premise. There’s no real continuity to be adhered to, nothing that would make the fanboys scream if you strayed from canon. Just be true to the character, and you’re all set. That’s why so many different writers have been able to work so well with him – with a few exceptions, you can start him from tabula rasa and be good to go. He’s blond, British, smokes a shitload, wears a dirty trenchcoat, is hip-deep in the occult and is a right bastard.
Which is why it’s so confounding that they got the film so bloody wrong. Brown hair, set in Los Angeles, black suit… dear God. I won’t even get started on Keanu… Someone like Robert Carlyle or David Thewlis could have been spectacular in the role, but no, they had to go with an action figure for a part that really doesn’t demand action at all. John Constantine is cerebral, not physical. He’s useless in a punch-up – he’s all about outthinking and outplanning his opponents. Obviously traits that Keanu embodies. It’s funny that by straying so far from the source material (so much so that Alan Moore apparently disavowed the film entirely, even forfeiting his creator credits and any monies that would come along with it), they’ve made a film that’s so unrelatable to the comics that I read for years that I could probably appreciate it on its own merits, whatever those may be. No, I haven’t seen it yet, but my argument doesn’t really require me to. And I may actually do so at some point, either at the rep or by rental. And amazingly, it’s done well enough at the box office that they’re already talking sequel. Gah.
Achtung Baby had a pretty thorough Hellblazer post last week, pretty much covering all the links I would have wanted to use. So I’ll just send you to this fansite and let you take it from there, if you’re so inclined. I read Hellblazer for years, from the tail end of Jamie Delano’s tenure all the way through Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s definitive run. The title stumbled for a bit post-Ennis with a variety of creative teams taking swings at the story, but never really getting the momentum back. I bowed out around then as it wasn’t holding my interest anymore and finances were tight. But man, those Ennis/Dillon issues are still amazing. I’ve recently started going back and trying to catch up on the stuff I missed – if the attention from the film has accomplished one positive thing, it’s to remind me of how good a character John Constantine can be in the right hands. A pity Hollywood couldn’t figure it out.
But if you DO like Keanu, you’re probably excited about A Scanner Darkly, which I admit, looks pretty cool. I’m not sure the rotoscoping works for the tone of the film though, it seems a little too cartoon-y. It’d have been nice if they went with something a little more jagged or Sienkiewicz-y.
New Order tells Billboard that they’re coming to North America to tour Waiting For The Siren’s Call (out April 12) this year. Honest. Swear to God. This might be exciting if I’d heard they were a decent live act… which I haven’t. Quite the opposite, actually, and the BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert album rather bears that opinion out. Still, it’s good of them to offer.
Went to Dave & Buster’s last night for another 30th birthday party, this time it was Jeremy’s decade-odometer rolling over. Interesting place, like Chuck-E-Cheese with a liquor license. I went for the skee-ball but stayed for the Colorama (think roulette for idiots) and managed to cash out pretty well, taking home this bad boy. Spider-Man’s arms are poseable. POSEABLE!
np – Catherine Wheel / Adam And Eve