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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Constantine [Blu-ray]

 

(Francis Lawrence, 2005)

 

 

  Reissued March 15th, 2011:

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Studio: Warner Brothers

Video: Warner Home Video

 

Discs:

Region FREE (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Feature Runtime: 2:00:47

Chapters: 24

Feature film disc size: 20.7 Gig

One dual-layered Blu-ray

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 14th, 2008

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: VC-1

 

Audio:
English: TrueHD 5.1, English, Dolby Digital 5.1, DUBs: French 5.1, Spanish 5.1, German 5.1, Italian 5.1, and Japanese 5.1

Subtitles:
Feature: English, French, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish and none
 

Supplements:

Commentary with director Francis Lawrence and producer Akiva Goldsman
Second Commentary with Screenwriters Kevin Brodbin and Frank Cappello

Foresight: The Power of Previsualization (13:56)

Channeling Constantine
Conjuring Constantine
Constantine's Cosmology
Director's Confessional
Holy Relics
Shotgun Shootout
Hellscape
Visualizing Vermin
Collision with Evil
Warrior Wings
Unholy Abduction
Constantine's Cosmology
Demon Face
Writer's Vision

Theatrical trailers
Music video - A Perfect Circle

Picture in picture 'In-Movie Experience'
 

Product Description: Lucifer's minions are illegally "crossing over" to Earth and taking possession of human bodies in preparation for the arrival of the Devil's son, who will institute chaos in the world. Our only defense: Constantine, played by Keanu Reeves, whose body looks more streamlined than ever. A long time ago, Constantine attempted suicide but escaped the grip of Hell (he was dead for two minutes but revived), and now he owes God a favor or two. The Lord's servant performs exorcisms and sends the crossover devils back to their fiery home. As the apocalypse approaches, Reeves whispers his fears to Rachel Weisz's Los Angeles cop, and she whispers back. The movie is reverently quiet even as all Hell is (literally) breaking loose. There is an extraordinary amount of digital mess and violence-gucky melting flesh and many revelations, transformations, and immersions, as well as satanic rats and large cockroaches. Engineered (you can't really say directed) by Francis Lawrence.

-Excerpt from David Denby of The New Yorker.

 

 

 

The Film:

Movies involving angels and demons, all-powerful relics and arcane incantations are almost invariably pretty stupid. My own tolerance for apocalyptic balderdash, therefore, depends largely on whether it comes equipped with a sense of humor. Constantine, adapted from the DC comics series Hellblazer, knows perfectly well that it's ridiculous, and that wry self-awareness is its saving grace. Ironically, the film's recurrent stab at broad comic relief — Shia LaBeouf as Keanu's over-eager apprentice — falls utterly flat; the kid seems to have wandered in from a neighboring Nickelodeon special. But it's hard not to be mildly tickled by Constantine's agreeably mordant tone, exemplified by the fact that its hero's greatest nemesis is not the hellspawn he battles but his three-pack-a-day nicotine habit.

 

 


A graduate of music videos, like virtually every other novice these days, director Francis Lawrence keeps the visual pyrotechnics to a relative minimum, allowing the creepiest imagery — a demon trapped in a mirror; herds of cattle collapsing as the "Spear of Destiny" (which pierced Christ on the cross) passes by — to insinuate rather than assault. Granted, a genuinely good movie would not feature something called the "Spear of Destiny." (I dare you to keep a straight face during the opening caption.) But if it's dumb, hokey fun you seek during this most barren of cinematic seasons, you could do a hell of a lot worse...

Excerpt of Mike D'Angelo's review at Nerve.com located HERE

 

Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Warner Blu-ray transfer looks good - but not 'great' in terms of this new format's visual capabilities. It is, expectantly a dark film, and the contrast of the 1080P rendering carries that extremely well. It can look a shade saturated in the darker scenes but is quite consistent and probably reflects an accurate representation of the theatrical. It is not especially sharp at times and may very well be the same as the previous HD edition. It didn't seem to have as much depth as many other Blu-rays we have covered. Digital noise is fairly fine but visible in monochromatic backgrounds. There is not a lot (any) real grain and the image overall is very smooth. Technically, the feature size being a respectable 20.7 Gig on the dual-layered Blu-ray. I don't see evidence of DNR or edge enhancements. It has no flaws but seemed to underachieve a little to me. You may click on the screen grabs to see the full 1080 resolution.

 

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music:  
The
TrueHD option (same as the HD-DVD) is quite good. There are a lot of scenes where it really accentuates the separation and the rear speakers get some desirable activity. The mix has some decent subtleties as well - not solely relying on the aggressiveness to brandish respect. You can also choose the 5.1 option in English and a number of optional Surround Sound DUBs. There is an original score by Klaus Badelt and Brian Tyler which seemed to totally suit the film as fairly standard stuff for this particular genre. There are optional subtitles offered in English and a number of other language choices.

 

Extras:
Aside from two separate and reasonably flat commentaries - that do impart a great deal of production and pre-production information - there are a slew of short featurettes with only a couple producing moderate interest to this reviewer. Suffice to say though, fans who delve into the supplements will surely be satisfied - even those die-hard
Hellblazer comic book aficionados who know more then the essence of the story but many particulars as well. A lot of effort seems to have gone into this stage of the digital presentation... and it will be appreciated by a fair number of individuals.

 

 

Bottom line:
I was really not looking forward to watching Constantine - it seemed a pretty goofy concept and typical Keanu Reeves territory, but... I was surprised by how much I actually did like it. I'll credit Reeves and admit to a begrudging respect for his performance in this. He really made the film. I can easily see reasons behind a niche following and this
Blu-ray does its job bringing out the best qualities of the cinematography, effects and audio
. I'm going to spin this again - I know it. It had a strange appeal and I'm glad I'll be revisiting with this dynamic Blu-ray.

Gary Tooze

October 17th, 2008

 

 

 

  Reissued March 15th, 2011:

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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