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Constantine: City Of Demons (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

John Constantine has been somewhat of a constant with DC following the success of the Keanu Reeves’ film back in the last decade. He’s had ups and downs but they’ve always kept the character around. Constantine had a short lived live action television series that ran on NBC for one season. Matt Ryan portrayed him there and he’s stuck to the character doing guest appearances on the CW Arrow-verse and being the voice for the animated CW Seed show. Said show is where this brand new DCAU film, City of Demons, comes from. It’ll arrive on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray October 9th, which, well, is this week! Pick it up in time to watch him have a nice solo adventure before he joins up full time with the Legends of Tomorrow for their fourth season!

Film 

A decade after a tragic mistake, family man Chas and occult detective John Constantine set out to cure Chas’s daughter Trish from a mysterious supernatural coma. With the help of the mysterious Nightmare Nurse, the influential Queen of Angels, and brutal Aztec God Mictlantecuhtli, the pair just might have a chance at outsmarting the demon Beroul to save Trish’s soul. In a world of shadows and dark magic, not everything is what it seems, and there’s always a price to pay. The path to redemption is never easy, and if Constantine is to succeed, he must navigate through the dark urban underbelly of Los Angeles, outwit the most cunning spawns of hell, and come face to face with arch-nemesis Nergal – all while battling his own inner demons!

Nothing against the TV version of Constantine at all (I like him), but its cool to see him in an animated series/movie, where budget is not an issue and things can go as crazy and outlandish as they want to. There is no creature or effects limitations. The character can mix noir with hellish fantasy with ease. And its quite a fun mesh that blends together quite well in this film and I imagine the CW Seed series (Which I, admittedly, had not seen before watching this movie).

This film goes very adult and is painted wonderfully with some horrific imagery and demonic characters. This could easily terrify a child, which is cool. There is gore galore here too, servicing a deeper, darker side of the DC universe. They also keep Constantine’s smoking intact for the film. This is an aspect to which they have removed in his live action iterations, causing some concern from fans.

Constantine: City of Demons is a break from the current DCAU continuity, but coming to the canon at the perfect time of year. If DC has anyone ripe for the Halloween season, its Constantine. As much as he rivals Doctor Strange for DC, he sure has his own flavor and seems more steeped in the macabre horror elements, than he does the more cosmic sci-fi terrors. This is a solid little film and probably a nice companion to the CW Seed show that I haven’t seen.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Constantine: City of Demons is yet another DCAU launch onto 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray, but with minimal improvements, if any. Some of the mystical stuff may have a little bit more glow and prettier pop than the standard Blu-ray but its kind of incremental. You can’t say it looks bad, but you could say that this style of animation tends to peak with standard Blu-ray.

Depth:  There is some nice depth here in this 2D feature with good smooth movements and things floating freely. No movement distortions, just good smooth wandering characters in the frame.

Black Levels: Blacks are dark and the shadowing here is pretty nice. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are quite strong. There are terrific glows here from majestical things in the picture. Purples, reds, oranges, yellows and such all vibrantly rip off the screen. Demon eyes look quite lovely when they glow. Other colors are pretty strong with the more limited palette.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH, French

Dynamics: Constantine: City of Demons features a booming, loud 5.1 track. Its a deep one, but luckily its mixed well and isn’t overbearing over the other elements like the vocals, foley or score. The track is crisp and pretty lively despite being a front-heavy presentation.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: This is a very deep, bassy track that has much boom with spells, scores, soundscapes and the like.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is a more front heavy track, but there are some solid moments from the rear channels with the score and a foley effect or two.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are clear and crisp with good attention and pick up of diction and mouth sounds from the voice actors.

Extras 

Constantine: City of Demons 4K Ultra-HD comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and digital copy of the film. All bonus materials are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

The Sorcerer’s Occultist: Understanding John Constantine (HD, 13:38) – Director Doug Murphy, David Goyer, Butch Lukic and an occult expert go over the history of the character and the magical element he brings to the DC Universe.

Constantine: City of Demons WonderCon Panel 2018 (HD, 20:50) – The full panel at WonderCon that followed a screening of the film with series writer JM DeMatteis, Matt Ryan and VP of Blue Ribbon content Peter Giardi.

Trailers – Batman: Ninja, Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay 

Summary 

Constantine: City of Demons is a nice good, true to form, adventure with DC’s own sorcerer. Whether you find him more supreme or not is up to you. Once again, their 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray is a small improvement over the standard Blu-ray to degrees with which some may not care. It comes with some okay extras for a decent little release. Probably more for the hardcores if anything.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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