DC Animation has been my go-to source for all things comic book cartoons for years. Their movies, while hit or miss, managed to bring solid animation, good stories, and concepts that don’t hold back due to the medium. This is the mindset I went into Constantine – The House Of Mystery with, and despite some interesting moments, the full package of short films just felt lacking, especially when compared to past animated Constantine offerings.
The main feature of this release is the titular short film, Constantine – The House Of Mystery. Featuring the voice talents of Matt Ryan, known for his live action portal of the character on the small screen, Hellblazer John Constantine is back once again. The events of the movie take place right after Justice League Dark: Apokolips War and focus on the consequences Constantine is now facing due to his part in that story.
The movie recaps what led to this movie, giving a quick glimpse of the past film to set the stage, then sets the events into motion. While a great setup, and a good nod to one of the best animated films by DC Animation, it also sets the bar very high, so high in fact, this film is already starting things off with a handicap. Apokolips War features stunning animation, great voice talents across the board, and a full feature length to explore all the concepts it presents, all things The House Of Mystery sadly lacks.
Looking at the animation, it is jarring, especially compared to the clean lines and Batman The Animated Series structure of all the characters. The House Of Mystery, while it starts with this previous art style, reverts to a Scooby-Doo looking style after about five minutes of screen time. While not bad per-say, it just feels much more lighthearted and honestly does not fit the character. This is more so due to the brutal nature of the short, with it featuring plenty of blood, gore and suffering, especially for an animated short.
Thankfully, the voice talents on offer are at the level we have come to expect from DC Animation. Camilla Luddington and Ray Chase reprise their roles from Justice League Dark: Apokolips War as Zatanna and Jason Blood/Etrigan respectively. Robin Atkin Downes and Damian O’Hare are back since we last heard them in Constantine: City of Demon’s as Negral and Chas, with newcomer to the series Lou Diamond Phillips playing The Spectre. So, even with the new art-style, you will be in for a treat with the cast, even if their time on screen is painfully short.
“The length is the real issue with Constantine – The House Of Mystery.“
The length is the real issue with Constantine – The House Of Mystery. Matt Ryan’s Constantine is a joy anytime he is on-screen, so when DC lets him explore what the character can do are some of DC Animation’s best offerings. It is clear Ryan loves the character and loves bringing him to life in any medium possible, so it is frustrating this film clocked in at less than thirty minutes. To flesh things out, WB included a few other shorts, including Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth!, a post apocalyptic story, the WWII story titled The Losers and the retro throwback Blue Beetle. While nice additions, most of these stories that have been seen in past home video releases from DC Animation feel so lacking when the main feature is lacking in so many areas. It is great to see WB looking to justify the price of entry, but for fans of these movies, most of what is on offer is nothing new.
This feels very much like a release targeted at DC Animation fans, or people who love Matt Ryan’s Constantine. While the collection of shorts is a nice addition to a collection, it offers little in the way of new entertainment, especially with the title feature so short and so lacking in overall impact of the characters or their ongoing struggle. For anyone who have missed these shorts the first time around and love Constantine, Constantine – The House Of Mystery is an interesting package. For everyone else, this is one that is best saved for when it hits a streaming service near you.