Tag Archives: adaptation

Ladies and Gentlemen…the “Real” John Constantine.

A spot-on Constantine, at least the look anyway. (image property of NBC)

A spot-on Constantine, at least the look anyway. (image property of NBC)

Since the unofficially leaked pic has created such a buzz, NBC has released an official image for their upcoming television adaptation, Constantine, based on the comic series John ConstantineHellblazer. And I’ll be damned if he doesn’t look almost exactly like he came straight off the pages of the comic. This makes me incredibly excited because Hellblazer is one of my favorite comic book series’ and John Constantine being a close second to Batman as favorite comic book character.

Welsh actor Matt Ryan will be portraying the titular character in the pilot (which will hopefully lead to a series), with David S. Goyer writing the script. The pilot (and potential series) will stay truer to the comic books than the 2005 Keanu Reeves film of the same name (which I am also a fan of, even though it strayed from the comics a bit). With Goyer writing and the spot-on look that Ryan has, I have great faith in this pilot. The only thing that worries me is NBC, but not much. Constantine isn’t exactly TV-PG or TV-14 material, it’s more TV-MA, which means there may be a possibility of the network watering it down a bit. However, with shows like Hannibal, The Blacklist, and Grimm being such huge successes for the network and being of a darker, more mature nature, I think they’ll be able to keep it as close to the original material as possible.

If this pilot does well, a series should follow, and if we’re lucky we’ll finally get a Justice League Dark movie (directed by Guillermo del Toro). I could see a Swamp Thing film or television series spawning from a Constantine series, since he was a recurring character in the comics. And if a JLD film is made and does well, we may even see a Deadman and/or Zatanna film in the near future. To me, this is more exciting than a film about the main Justice League. This is even more exciting than Batman vs. Superman, and I’m a huge Batman fan.

I’m crossing my fingers that this works out.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Much Praise for ‘Much Ado’

Prior to seeing Much Ado About Nothing, it had been a couple years since I last sat down with The Bard. For a while, my life was filled with lectures, essays, and Sparknotes dedicated to the plays of Shakespeare. But as semesters passed by, so did my reference bank. I figured my failure to preserve those works would be detrimental to my evaluation of Joss Whedon‘s latest venture. Happily, I was wrong!

Benedick (Alexis Denisof) and Beatrice (Amy Acker) engage in a battle of wits. [Image: The Atlantic Wire]

Much Ado is at once classic and cutting edge, a seamless blend of style and content. Black and white cinematography lends an air of sophistication and makes the amiable cast even more attractive. The film feels indulgent and sensuous, from its dreamy, lounge-room soundtrack to its glistening scenes of revelry. In contrast, the use of Shakespeare’s original dialogue stimulates the mind. (Baz Luhrmann may have done the same in Romeo + Juliet, but Whedon handles his source material with more finesse.) The actors–most of whom are beloved repeats from the director’s previous ventures–deliver their oft recited lines with unparalleled freshness and ease.

Verges (Tom Lenk) and Dogberry (Nathan Fillion) add levity as ne’er-do-well policemen. [Image: Wired.com]

Amy Acker beautifully renders the shrew-like Beatrice into an independent, multi-dimensional woman. Meanwhile, Alexis Denisof adds equal parts swagger and silliness to Benedick, the bullheaded leading man with a sentimental streak. Whether they’re exchanging verbal jabs or tender kisses, the chemistry between these two leads is effortless,. What’s more, supporting players like Clark Gregg, Nathan Fillion, and Tom Lenk contribute more than their fair share of wit and wiles. They prevent the story from drowning in melodrama.

Though the film brims with stylistic and theatrical integrity, perhaps the most impressive achievement is Whedon’s ability to cultivate a sense of familiarity. As I’ve expressed before, Shakespeare can seem a bit intimidating. Accessibility and applicability to the modern viewer is always a gamble. Yet, it seems that sort of uncertainty is what fuels Whedon’s projects. After all, one might also question the relatability of vampire slayers, superheroes, or struggling villains. Whedon asserts that all of these characters have stories to tell, and those stories hold universal appeal. In the case of Much Ado About Nothing, he proves that revisiting Shakespeare is worth the fuss.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,