The first full-length trailer for NBC’s Constantine is here, and I’ll be darned to H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY -STICKS if it doesn’t look like Hollywood got it right. After the grave disappointment of 2005’s Keanu Reeves-helmed bomb of the same name, they kind of owe it to us. Even though I’ve been a fan of the Hellblazer comic book for years, I’m generally pretty forgiving when it comes to reboots, reinterpretations, and remakes as a whole. However, that film took it one step too far. I don’t blame Keanu Reeves, though. He had to work with what he got, and the script’s John Constantine hand none of the cynicism, black humor, and roguish charm of his comic book namesake. – to say nothing of the fact that he was written as an American and Reeves wasn’t even dressed to look like the character.
This time, John Constantine (played by Matt Ryan) is a blonde-haired Brit in a trench coat and seems to be every bit the smart-ass as his comic book namesake. We’ve even got his Guardian Angel Manny (played by veteran genre actor Harold Perrineau, Jr.) and Liv (Lucy Griffiths) along for the ride. Oh, and speaking of rides, Constantine’s sidekick Chas is apparently in the mix, too, but unless I missed it, he wasn’t in the trailer. He’ll be played by Charles Halford.
The trailer opens with Constantine at a psychiatric clinic receiving the movie version of electroconvulsive therapy (They anesthetize patients in real-life, and it’s done like any other medical procedure – all of the proper precautions, sterilization, etc. I’ve assisted in the procedure and seen it do some good for people with otherwise resistant cases of depression and psychosis.) and suffering horrifying flashbacks of demons, a girl being taken to hell, and other gruesome sights. In the comic book, Constantine is damned to hell because he offered his own soul in place of a friend’s, but in this show, it appears that he was damned for somehow allowing the girl’s to be claimed. No matter, it’s a good hook to keep people interested, and gives the show suitable smudge of darkness to make the point clear that dealing with demons isn’t all fun and games.
It’s apparent from the pilot (direct by Neil Marshall – The Company of Wolves, Interview with the Vampire) that Constantine’s stay in the psychiatric ward isn’t going to do him much good. Demons are already there waiting for him, and it’s not too long before he’s forced to hit the road and get back to business. I can’t wait to join him on that journey!