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  • Towards the end of World War II, the Nazis engage in efforts to win the war through means of invoking the paranormal. They attempt to open a "portal" for seven beings who are meant to invoke the apocalypse on Earth, but a U.S. Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense is on hand to stop them before they get too far. They do not stop them as quickly as they'd like, however, and the U.S. troops soon discover that a bizarre infant, part devil, part man, red, with horns and the demonic works, with a large right hand made of indestructible stone, has gotten through. They acquire the infant, we go forward in time to the late 20th Century, and most of the film concerns an adult Hellboy still working in conjunction with the U.S. government to help battle monsters and the paranormal.

    Hellboy was a 10 out of 10 for me, but there are a number of criteria for any viewer to have such a high opinion of it. One, even though director Guillermo del Toro is a big fan of the Hellboy comic books and many comments have been made by him, comic creator Mike Mignola and others that the film is faithful to the books, they've also said they've changed it to suit the context of the film, so you have to not be a purist about source material to screen translations (or current screen instantiations). Two, you have to have a taste for fantasy where the creators are not very concerned with making the material coherent with or plausible in the actual world. Three, you have to enjoy your fantasy both very dark (on the horror side) and humorous/sarcastic at the same time. Four, you have to like an epic, sprawling feel to your fantasy. And Five, you have to not hate cgi creatures. I meet all of those criteria. How many you meet will likely determine how well you'll like Hellboy.

    What worked best for me was the material that showed Hellboy, portrayed exquisitely by Ron Perlman, as just a regular guy cum sassy detective. Even though he's half demon, a large part of the comics, at least--and this is hinted at in the film, particularly in the climax--is a continual nature versus nurture "debate". He was raised by humans who were as normal as they could be, being government agents in a bureau dedicated to the paranormal. So he has a large number of human-like quirks, including a love of old music, beer, cats, pancakes, chili, and so on. He's also a cigar-smoking, smart-assed detective. Hellboy is at its best when it focuses on these characteristics.

    But everything else works well, too. Hellboy has a monster-like counterpart, Abe Sapien (Doug Jones), and a "freak" love interest, Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), who are almost as fascinating as he is. The villain and neutral creatures (such as the "half-creature" with a speaking role towards the end) are just as captivating. There are also other characters providing enjoyable comic relief, most notably Tom Manning (Jeffrey Tambor). His adopted father, Professor Trevor "Broom" Bruttenholm (John Hurt) is intriguing. And newly recruited "caretaker" John Myers (Rupert Evans) shows promise, even if we do not get to spend much time with him here. Like many films of this type, I'd love to see all of these characters further explored in prequels, sequels and spinoffs. That's a good sign, because it shows that del Toro and fellow writers Mignola and Peter Briggs have successfully conveyed a world with "deep" characters who have extensive histories.

    Also worth noting is the cinematography/lighting/production and set design, which is consistently beautiful, and ranges from the popular recent trend of more monochromatic textures (blue is the color of choice here), to the strong chiaroscuro of the comic books, to striking contrasts, such as a mostly monochromatic scene which is suddenly penetrated by a supersaturated red stream of blood. The sets are all engaging, from exteriors (one hilariously claimed to be in Newark, New Jersey) to interiors, urban to expansive countryside and even outer space environments.

    As for effects, which are a large part of the film, I can't for the life of me imagine someone claiming that cgi looks "fake" compared to mechanicals, practicals, stop motion (ala Harryhausen), and so on after they see this film. For my money, these are some of the most impressive cgi creations yet, including some great cgi fight scenes.

    Hellboy is captivating, suspenseful and humorous. It is well worth watching for anyone with a taste for fantasy.
  • Let's be blunt, the movie is, in essence, a little lumbering and flawed and has a rather odd climax. The beginning is overlong and vaguely too fantastical, but once you realize this is a very different world, a comic book really, and normal rules don't apply, it can be forgiven. In fact most of the flaws can be forgiven because of Ron Perlman and what he brought to the picture.

    This is one of few movies I've ever gone to see on the opening weekend, possibly the only one. And I did so because I was already a fan of Ron Perlman and it was great to see him in a leading role, even though he's covered in makeup. Perlman is the best thing in this movie; he is perfect as Hellboy. He swaggers through it as if he'd always been a leading man. Delivering one-liners with ease and to perfection, battling monsters through subterranean sets and city streets, and giving a great comedic performance as well as a very emotional one that makes you just love the big red oaf. A great feat considering the extensive makeup he had to act through.

    And the makeup and prosthetics are the best of its kind I've ever seen. There's movement and expression in the lips at times that you would think would be impossible. You might at first think that the lips are rather stationary and unexpressive, but if you just pay attention you'll see that there is a lot of movement and subtleties to it. Rick Baker should be praised for his work in this, it's amazing.

    Doug Jones is awesome as the body of Abe Sapien. His movements are truly beautiful. And David Hyde Pierce as the voice is perfect. Abe is a very interesting and neat character that I wouldn't mind seeing more of. And his makeup is as amazing or even more so than Hellboy's.

    John Hurt is great in this, as is Jeffrey Tambor. Everyone in this does a great job. But Perlman's performance as Hellboy really holds the movie together. His character stands out and speaks to the audience better than any other.

    If you liked X-Men or Spider-Man don't expect a movie as well polished and put together, but you should be able to enjoy it and the more overt comic book feel of the movie. And unlike the aforementioned movies there is quite a bit of light humor throughout Hellboy that should garner some laughs from most anyone.

    Hellboy isn't perfect, I would have changed some things, but I had fun watching it and in the end, especially for a movie of this type, I think that's what matters most. In fact I like it more now, after seeing it again, than I did when walking out of the theater.
  • Guillermo Del Toro's "Hellboy" is really the sort of comic book adaptation that should be commonplace- a film that feels every bit like a comic book in its energy, style, and visual feel, but is entirely worthy on a cinematic level as well.

    Sadly, "Hellboy" doesn't really have much of a plot, at least for half of its running time. Its first hour is Hellboy fighting squids and the mandatory character introductions, and its second hour feels pretty rushed as a result, having to introduce and resolve the bulk of the film's story. Thankfully, however, "Hellboy" avoids the comic book-to-film cliché of basing the first film of any given franchise on the 'superhero origin story' (not that Hellboy is much of a superhero, he's really just a smartass with a gun, except he's from hell), instead keeping all that to a short and dazzling pre-credits sequence. Other than the somewhat rushed and oddly-placed plot aspects, Del Toro's screenplay is fairly impressive, providing plenty of nods towards the comics and a good amount of wit and humor, also echoing the nature of Mike Mignola's work.

    The most impressive aspects of "Hellboy" are Del Toro's direction and Guillermo Navarro's photography. Del Toro was always a superb director in terms of visuals, although I've had issues with several of his scripts. His most accomplished film to date in this regard would probably be the superb "The Devil's Backbone", but "Hellboy" shows that he has a surprising knack for directing action in a fluid manner without resorting to the cheap method of quick cutting. Also notable in terms of Del Toro's work here is how he subtly manages to pay homage to the memorable artwork of the comics, for example the overhead shots of Hellboy.

    The CGI effects are quite good considering the film's relatively modest budget, and thankfully they don't form the basis for much of this film. The cast are all solid if not fantastic, although Ron Perlman is probably the best actor I can think of to play Hellboy. The final shot is beautiful and perfectly in keeping with the pulp poetry of not only this film but also the comics it is based on.

  • Warning: Spoilers
    Someone told me a long time ago that "Van Helsing" and "Hellboy" were in the same level of quality, saying they "both sucked". Well, that's a filthy lie. What you have here is a movie (based on a popular comic book of the same name) that does EVERYTHING that it seems "Van Helsing" slipped on. Don't get me wrong; I liked "Van Helsing", but let's face it, it wasn't the best movie ever and it lacked a lot of character development and an ending that was a bit of a cliffhanger (because you never find out what Van Helsing's past is), but "Hellboy" is another story.

    The movie starts off during the end of WWII. It appears that Nazis have been meddling in something that Paranormal Specialist Dr. Broom doesn't like too much, dark magic. With the help of the notorious Resputin, along with some unnamed woman with a sledgehammer and, despite him being a Nazi, my favorite assassin, Alex Kronen, the blade-wielding gas-masked bad boy that you meet in the early part of the movie. In an attempt to awaken the seven gods of chaos, Resputin's plan is foiled by American soldiers, who are aided by Dr. Broom. After a cool looking gun fight, the portal that was built to reach the seven gods is destroyed, along with Resputin. However, the portal was open for too long and Dr. Broom warns the American general "something may have gotten out." Which leads to the discovery of a certain red 'ape' with the world's largest whammer (for you sick-minds out there, I mean he has a large fist made of stone) and is quickly adopted by the Americans, after given the name Hellboy.

    Then the movie sets off, and that is when more of the fun begins. Hellboy, now about 60, (but looks just out of his 20's since he doesn't age as fast as we do) is the monster-hunting character that Stephen Summers wanted Van Helsing to be. Hellboy is a lord of wisecracking and doesn't really take things seriously, and he also has the coolest gun in the world, the Simaritan, a revolver that shoots "big bullets".

    The acting in the movie is very well done. Hellboy's character is realistic and believable, since you can't help but love his sarcasm, such as discovering a egg-like parasite on his arm and when Agent Myers asks "What is that thing?", Hellboy puts the parasite in his lap and replies "I'll go ask." Then there's the smart guy that makes up for whatever Hellboy lacks in intelligence and knowledge, the "fish guy" Abe Sapien, who, by touching any object, can see its past and future. Finally, you have Hellboy's ex-girlfriend and still-love-interest, Liz, who is a pyrokinesis who is trying hard to control her fiery powers, and is scarred from a childhood memory of when she killed many people in one of her "outbursts", which means her fire lets off a big explosion, killing everyone and everything around her at quite a distance, without harming her.

    The villains are also very convincing and though there is some acting quality lacking in Sledgehammer Girl (I didn't catch her name), she has little lines and doesn't have much screen time, unlike the very creepy and just-as-deadly Alex Kronen who has been made into something of an immortal, due to his surgical addiction (he's like a killing, cool version of Michael Jackson, except Jackson's blood isn't dust and can't increase his adrenaline by cranking a dial on his chest).

    The action scenes are also very fun to watch, and never go out of quality like "Van Helsing" sometimes did. This is done by not a lot of shooting or explosions or people running in circles screaming like in "Van Helsing", but is done by clever dialogue, Hellboy's constant wisecracking, and some awesome special effects . . . along with a lot of shooting.

    "Hellboy" is a highly over-looked (and sometimes, under-rated) movie that makes us remember how "Van Helsing" lacked in character development and high-quality action scenes. While "Van Helsing" has its big mean monsters, which outnumber the amount of monsters in "Hellboy","Hellboy" gives us the experience Stephen Summers wanted "Van Helsing" to provide, along with some extra wisecracking and a little more attitude. "Hellboy" is a must-buy for fans of the comic or just about anyone who likes special effects and clever script-writing.
  • Hellboy is self-conscious, perhaps, but in the best ways possible. Actually, it's more due to writer/director Toro being very aware of what makes up the conventional bits to every sense character-wise to the world of a comic-book, but also what can be entertaining as well, than it is just to having it being a Hellboy movie where the comic-book Hellboy already exists IN this world (guy sees the Hellboy comic, looks up, it's Hellboy!). We get the tough-as-nails, dryly witty, and possibly ticking-time-bomb hero in Hellboy, a deadly serious villain in Rasputin (yes, Rasputin, with a blonde Nazi as his evil side-kick no less), the young apprentice to the hero (Ruper Evans as John Meyers), the hero's love interest (Liz Sherman played by Selma Blair), the father figure (John Hurt's Professor), and the reluctant 'boss' (Jeffrey Tambor), not to mention the plucky side mutant in Abraham (Doug Jones) AND a magnificent creature in that hard-ass slug. They're all there, bright as day (or dark, depending on point of view), and it all works wonderfully due to Toro running with it all head on. It's not done in a way that's meant to pander to the audience, either, but just to have fun with the conventions, to see what makes them all crackle and pop under big-time special effects. It's not quite a guilty pleasure because Toro is also a smart craftsman.

    And craftsman just as much as director, he crafts this world where the creatures (which were and still are Toro's forte) are fierce and radically charged, whether they're crucial to the picture like Rasputin's rabid, rapidly hatching slug-monsters that can only be killed one or two ways, or if it's just a minor creature like the zombie Russian corpse that leads a little of the way when Hellboy and his crew are in the main hideout of the villains ("I was better off dead!"). Toro is sensitive to the characters alongside this, and makes them all pretty believable- and I say pretty cause it's all a little simple, yet effective, in the main thrust of Hellboy's emotional core being about Liz and if she may or may not go for John over him- and doesn't dumb it down too much or contrive the relationships for the audience. It's a good balance, because there is A LOT of action in Hellboy, in fact probably at least a 60% allotment to either Hellboy fighting the monsters after him (usually in the subway, or in the Russian castle), or with the possibly un-dead assassin in the mask and leather who marks as one of the fiercest forces in comic book movies.

    So, fan-boys rejoice, because Hellboy should, and hopefully will, have everything one looks for in a brawny, high-octane entertainment where humor isn't confused with cheesiness (Perlman is too well focused as a possible anti-hero to get into any of that, as he makes that hugely built red lug a very real being), and the action isn't over-done with a tongue-in-cheek. Not that Toro doesn't flirt with having goofy things in his picture, like a moment where Hellboy has to save a box of kittens from the grasp of the slug-monster. But they're earned moments among a very tightly constructed story where human evils in history and the bizarre in what is in the facts (Hitler into the occult, Rasputin's very long death) into a comfortably understood framework of comic-book clichés that never get too old when done right. Bottom line, can't wait for number 2!
  • I'm usually pretty skeptical about comic book to film translations thanks to such esteemed turkeys as "Captain America", "Daredevil", and "Punisher" (the early 90's version with Dolph Lundgren). But this movie, which could've been bad.....real bad, somehow found a way to be ammusing and entertaining, while at the same time staying faithful to the comics original characters, storylines, and influences.

    Now this film's not gonna win any awards and isn't going to turn non-comic fans into hardcore comic maniacs but it is a great pre-summer action/adventure film with some comedy and a bit of the eccentric tossed in for good measure.

    I won't go into the usual routine and start giving away plot points and story snippits. All I will say is "Go see the movie". But before you do you must take all logic, all sarcasm and cyncism and toss those all out of the car window on the way to your local cinemas. This movie has alot of things that may contradict alot of things that most people believe in, but remember, ITS JUST A MOVIE. Thats what movies are for, they are meant to take the impossible and make it possible and so on. Like I said, this movies not going to be an award winner, and won't be on any critics ten best lists, but it will be a film that you'll laugh at, and generally have fun watching. Its a great escape from the surrealistic existence that many of us live every single day. So, take my advice, go see this movie, sit back, relax, and have some fun.
  • ghoulieguru29 January 2005
    Alright, so seeing as how I'm comment #430, I don't imagine that anyone is going to read my review, or that anyone will be encouraged to watch Hellboy because of anything that I'll say. There are others who have written short novels on IMDb about what a great movie this is, so there's no point in me doing more of the same.

    Suffice it to say that this movie is beautifully shot, well acted (with the exception of the kid who plays the FBI agent) and directed by masterful Guillermo Del Toro with style and grace. It's not for everyone, and those who are fans of the comic will probably enjoy it more than your average moviegoer. But if you like movies like The Crow or Darkman, this one is right down your dark little alley.
  • When you are watching a comic book movie you have to take certain things for granted. The superpowers, strange villains, things like that. They are there in a non-existing world; saying they are implausible is true but not relevant. What a comic book movie needs is a nice story that is set in its own world (although real existing places can be there too), an entertaining superhero played by an actor who is able to really create the character, spectacular visual effects that fit the action but most of all it needs to breath the right mood. 'Spider-Man 2' did a perfect job, 'X2', 'Blade II' and now 'Hellboy' come very close. The difference is that 'Hellboy' is the first from what will probably become a series.

    The superhero in 'Hellboy' is, of course, Hellboy (Ron Perlman). How he arrives on earth has something to do with Nazis, around 1944, which we see in the first ten minutes of the movie. Let us say he is just here, present day, on the good side, with a professor named Bruttenholm (John Hurt) as his father figure; he was there when Hellboy came from hell. The villains are the same Nazis, you learn why they are still alive, and a lot of monsters they have created. We also meet a love interest for Hellboy named Liz (Selma Blair) and his new partner, Agent Myers (Rupert Evans).

    So Hellboy will fight the Nazis and the monsters, but there is more. His father figure is close to death and the love interest, who sets on fire when she is excited, is not really interested. What makes this movie entertaining, besides the right mood we constantly feel, is the dry humor Ron Perlman brings to the character. Hellboy is supposed to be a secret for the outer world although rumors of his existence are there. When Agent Myers goes for a walk wit Liz Hellboy gets jealous and follows them over rooftops where he encounters a nine year old boy. The boy recognizes Hellboy and the scenes that follow the encounter are close to brilliant.

    There are other very fine moments. At one point a character asks why photographs of UFO's, aliens or Hellboy are always blurry, not very sharp. We see the truth in this question although ironically in a comic book world the question is very out of place; Hellboy does exist. May be this is not the best comic book movie, but entertaining it is. Compare it to another 2004 movie like 'Spider-Man 2' this one seems flawed although we can see the same amount of fun the characters have. Compare it to the dark and brutal 2004 comic book movie 'The Punisher' and this one is terrific, feels like a comic book the entire time, has an interesting hero with humor. That everything around it is pretty silly we just have to take for granted.
  • This movie is a fun watch, but mainly because of Ron Perlman. The action is well done and the story is great, but Perlman makes the character of Hellboy (a demon raised by "the good guys") just amazingly human, with a wry sense of humor. You would be hard pressed to find anyone anywhere who could do this character as well as Perlman, let alone better. The physicality seems to have been tailor made to fit Perlman's features and the delivery of the lines is just so understatedly comedic that there are few who could pull it off at all.

    Of course, there are a couple times when the special effects are a little weaker than you would hope, but it doesn't detract from the movie as a whole. For instance, in the final battle scene, there are a couple shots where the Hellboy character clearly appears to be GC. But the fight moves so fast that you don't have much time to focus on those shots before something else amazing happens.

    See it. Love it.
  • Hellboy is a well-balanced and very well-paced movie that avoids tiresome action movie content (mostly).

    Script: Very efficient. The snappy-attitude lines are allowable because of Hellboy's partially juvenile personality.

    Acting: I credit Pearlman for presenting a complete character without being gabby and coy. Well-done. Almost all of the other significant characters are equally well-presented by their respective actors, save for one. del Toro certainly dropped the ball in writing/directing that character (though I won't mention who so as not to give anything away). He messed up only one character, and I forgive him. Nobody's perfect.

    Casting: Appropriate.

    Pace/balance: The movie reminded me of X2 in this respect. It moved well, didn't get stalled anywhere, and both the action and drama were moderated with smooth transitions between each.

    For comparison, Spiderman was good but overacted, X2 was good but with a few eye-rolling moments.

    Overall, I found this movie provided high entertainment value. B+
  • Hell Boy is a near classic of great proportion as played by the underrated Ron Perlman(Beauty and the Beast ) Perlman is an actor you probabley wouldn't recognize as he has had to wear so much facial make up in his career but he imbues 'Hell Boy' with a real humanity and a scathing wit ."How am I ever gonna get a girl when I drive around in a garbage truck ? " John Hurt as his father has little to do but that he loves Hell Boy there is no doubt having rescued him on the night he came from hell . Dr. Broom adopts the boy and they live at the Center For Paranormal Studies in New Jersey with a fish like creature and a fire starter girl who Hell Boy loves to pieces . I hope that this becomes a tent pole series for the studio as I would like to see Hell Boy in other situations . Five of 5 stars for 'Hell Boy'
  • What a cracking little film this is, haven't seen it since the cinema in 04' and it's better now than then with some sensational effects. Great script with Ron doing a splendid job. I've never read comics as I don't like them, but I'd go so far as to say, apart from Batman, this is the best comic book to movie tie in ages... not cheesy, just the right amount of comedy in it and good solid acting. Music could've done with a alittle more inspriation, but this film looks great with some lovely lit scenes especially when hellboy is in the snow, he looks fanastic ;-)

    Can't wait for the sequel Pug
  • rcavellero3 April 2004
    I must say I would have never expected in my wildest dreams to enjoy a film like this so much, much less this one. Hellboy has it's faults but it's truly comic book/horror/fantasy hybrid masterpiece. It is the probably the best comic book movie I've ever seen. Based on a little known comic book I'm sure people will be running to buy now. Hellboy is the story of a group of bad guys whom are trying to destroy the world and end up bringing forth a small child like hellboy. After years of being raised by his founder he becomes a superhero monster fighting bad guys like himself and bringing them to justice while defending humanity. He's helped along in his quest by pyro girl Liz Sherman played beautifully by Selma Blair. And a very cool intellectual fish Looking guy referred to as Blue. But those people are back to destroy the world again as they have ressurected their master and it's up to Hellboy and his gang of misfits to protect humanity and foil their plan. I'm sure it sounds surely predicatble but that something this film lacks in troves. It's completely original, completely new and just great. The performances by Ron Pearlman, John Hurt and Selma Blair are completely involving. The story is well developed, emotional, scary and funny. The direction is taut and well developed. Definatly Del Toro's reigning masterpiece. I must say I was overly impressed by this film probably because I wasn't expecting too much but I can guarantee you one thing I will be going to see it again. Hellboy is amazing!
  • Late in World War II the Nazis, in a desperate attempt to change the course of the war, conduct a ritual to bring forth a demon from hell that will bring about the end of the world and a new Eden. U.S. soldiers interrupt the ceremony and the demon is instead brought up by a professor of the paranormal as a monster fighter (along with others of unique backgrounds and gifts). Sixty years later, those who birthed Hellboy are back for him and the end of the world.

    I loved this movie! Loved it! For anyone who is interested in history and cultural mythology and believes that movies, to some extent, are the telling of old tales in new ways (and some will become tomorrow's myths), "Hellboy" will definitely keep that belief alive. Not to mention it's simply just one exciting damn fine fun kick butt movie! There is not a weak performance (onscreen by actors or offscreen by crew) in this film. You do not have to be a fan of the comic to enjoy this movie. It's fantastic storytelling mix of family devotion, burgeoning love, acceptance of personal power, overcoming prejudice, sacrifice, with action, comedy, horror, comic book stylized evil and one of the eeriest bad guys ever to weld a knife, as well as one of the most intense (and well dressed) villains to ever threaten the earth.

    Ron Perlman has the lead and, as in the past, gives the excellent magic of make up artist Rick Baker life. He takes what would be for most actors stifling full make up and a weighty cumbersome costume and gives the audience a being with the flesh of a demon, the voice of a dark angel, the attitude of a blue collar worker, the humor of a college student, the mind of a professor, the heart of a young man in love, and the soul of a human being.

    Favorite line: "There are things that go bump in the night Agent Myers, make no mistake about that, and we are the ones who bump back."

    Favorite line spoken by Ron Perlman (a lot): "Awe, crap."

    Definitely worth a buy!
  • If Mike Mignola isn't careful he's going to have a whole cottage industry devoted to his comic strip creation Hellboy. Having just come from Hellboy II: The Golden Army and seeing his credits at this website makes me think about what a gold mine Mignola has found.

    I saw the original Hellboy and I was struck by the fact at the time I could enjoy this film as an action/adventure and the tongue in cheek humor that is prevalent throughout. A lot of that is due to the fact that Mignola was apparently given a free hand to bring his comic book creation to life on the big screen. A lot is also due to Ron Perlman and the marvelous character he creates beneath all that demon makeup.

    Hellboy is brought to life by the son of Rasputin the Mad Monk in the final days of World War II. Rasputin being the good royalist he is, finds work with the Nazis who are now down to using black magic to pull out a victory. Adolph Hitler was known in fact to delve into the occult.

    Anyway their experiments produce an infant demon plucked from the spirit world, but he's rescued by John Hurt who raises him like a son and he grows up to be butt-kicking demon Ron Perlman who's grown to like such earthly pleasures as beer and cigars.

    Hurt functions as the Obi Won Kenobe of this piece and when he's killed, there ain't no stopping Perlman.

    Hellboy is rollicking good fun, Hellboy II is even better and I'm sure we've got a Hellboy, III in our future.
  • Great comic series, good times on screen. Del Toro doesn't capture the shadowiness and the Gothic art of the books, but does the get the heart of the material, and plays it well between lighthearted comedy, lighthearted action, and as much weirdness(talking corpses, psychic merman, pyroknesis, Rasputin, clockwork Nazi assassins, and Cthulu, to name a few of the flourishes), as the story can handle.

    It is a super-hero movie, but one that mixes in occult myths, weird tales, and conspiracy theories, into a fine entertainment brew. Can't wait to see the next installment in the "The Golden Army". One of the best comic to film adaptations, not for style, but for heart and for fun's sake.
  • Why Guillermo, WHY?!!!! It's like one of those trash British movies, albeit a bit darker. But still a room with a view and a staircase and a pond type of movies. You know, the ones with absolutely no plot devices. And lots of MacGuffins (look it up.) I was looking forward to this movie FOREVER as a huge fan of the character, and knowing PERLMAN would play him made it that much better. No one in the world could screw this up. Wow. Was i wrong or what? Perlman ended up being about the only thing that made this movie tolerable. Horrid effects, Selma's dry acting (Oh wow. i can make fire. meh. seems to be her general attitude), and a poorly laid out story. There's just nothing here for any Hellboy fans. Except perlman. IT gets a 1/10. Only because 1 is the lowest it goes.
  • There's a new trailer out for the sequel to Guillermo del Toro's 2004 "Hellboy," which made me remember the original. I saw it in the theaters back when it was released, and frankly, didn't like it very much. Seeing the new trailer, and given del Toro's new found fame and recognition from the success of "Pan's Labyrinth," I felt compelled to give "Hellboy" another try.

    My main complaint with "Hellboy" is more theological and philosophical than stylistic. Spiritually speaking, I don't proscribe to the traditional Catholic belief that we are born into sin. I believe that people are fundamentally good, and become evil through their choices. So the idea of a hero who comes from hell, who is fundamentally bad, who then chooses to be good doesn't really jive with my sense of the human experience. Consequently, I didn't walk away from the film, having one of those profound spiritual experiences like I've had from movies like "The Matrix" or "2001: A Space Odyssey."

    But on this latest viewing I tried to set aside this more philosophical complaint and examine the film on a more entertainment level. Technically speaking, I enjoyed the film a lot this time around. Stylistically, it's near perfect film-making.

    Del Toro, as shown in "Pan's Labyrinth," has a real gift for creating unique creatures and monsters. Every villain, monster, and character in "Hellboy" is fascinating. There's an almost abstractness to their design that makes them feel like they're out of a very strange dream- like/fairy tale.

    The special effects are top notch. Special effects shouldn't draw too much attention to themselves. Sometimes filmmakers can overreach and the effects look cheesy. This movie blends both old and new methods, creating a film that draws you in rather than reminding you that you're watching something fake. I appreciate that Hellboy is acted by a real actor, wearing prosthetics, which always looks better than even the best CGI.

    I really enjoyed the Hellboy character this time around as well. He's sarcastic, insecure, funny, sensitive, and tough. I really got a kick out of his little scene where he's trying to write a love letter to Liz and he asks, "What's a good word for need?" His staggering love- sickness over Liz is one of the most human and endearing aspects to his character. I also like his common muttering of, "Crap!" in the face of very large and scary monsters.

    The "Hellboy" script has great pacing as well. It's not too short, not too long. It just clips along like a good action flick should, always understandable, always inventive, always fun. This is a good old-fashioned B-movie.

    If "Hellboy" resonated on a spiritual level, it would be a great film. Without viable spiritual depth, it remains good entertainment. Not a bad accomplishment nonetheless.
  • lamps17 September 2004
    Ron Perlman. I've seen his face before but never been inclined to put a name to it. His performance in Hellboy changes all that.

    The film is undoubtedly an entertainment. It's a comic book story with the usual spectacular effects we take for granted these days but Red Ron is the star. The effects are merely supportive, the way they should be.

    Charismatic is probably the word to explain his performance. It certainly raised my interest in the comic plot. An icon for weak willed smokers everywhere, a rarity in the media these days.

    BTW, where do I get one of those clockwork heart tickers. Sounds like a marketable idea to me.
  • Bojac3 April 2004
    Warning: Spoilers
    A lot of the movie kept throwing new ideas and twists in but nothing was developed. Characters had extremely small roles. John Myers was hardly developed and yet played a crucial role in the end?? His credability was not brought out enough. And the powers of Rasputin were not really shown, he just kind of did everything he did with no real motivation. Characters were just kind of left out?

    Hellboy's one-liners got old --Very old. He only spoke to an 8-year old in full speech and the sad attempt of a love scene in the end.

    Overall the movie had the right idea but substance was lacking. The script could have used several revisions and a sequel would be a bad idea.
  • Director Guillermo del Toro already showed with his previous movies that he has a great visual style. "Hellboy" is no exception and it has a great dark comic book atmosphere. Too bad that the story and most of the characters don't really work out the way they're supposed to.

    The character of Hellboy self works out just great! This is thanks to mainly Ron Perlman but also to the very convincing make-up effects. The rest of the characters feel like they are only put in the movie to fill up the screen. Selma Blair is very boring as Liz Sherman and it never became clear to me in the movie why professor Bloom, out of all people picked John Myers. Not really a good character either. The two characters Abe Sapien and Tom Manning (Jeffrey Tambor is wonderful!), who were about the two most entertaining characters, disappear way too soon out of the movie. But most disappointing are the villains which are often the most important in 'super-hero' movies like these. Having Rasputin as the main villain of course is already a ridiculous idea itself but on top of that he simply isn't a very good and convincing villain. Uber-Nazi Karl Ruprect Kroenen is a way more interesting villain. He is the kind of villain I love in movies, cool outfit, awesome weapons, he can't seem to die and he has no lines. Excellent, scary, cool and mysterious all in one. Not bad for a 107 year old. He also was way more better than the most of the time, special effects monsters.

    The special effects were at times good, mediocre and just at times unconvincing.

    The action also was somewhat disappointing. I think this is due to the wrong offbeat pace in the movie. Everything is happening way too fast. One moment Hellboy is giving away some great, fun and cool one-liners and the next he's fighting a monster in the subway. Because everything is happening so fast, the story also isn't always easy to follow. The movie wasn't as entertaining as I had hoped and expected. I'm sure that when I read the script I would like the story better than I did while watching the movie.

    It still is a somewhat entertaining movie to watch but not one that I would recommend to everyone. However I'm still looking forward to "Hellboy 2" also because 'superhero' sequels are only getting better and better these last couple of years ("Spider-Man 2", "X2"). Hopefully the title will be; "Hellboy 2: The Return of Kroenen"? One could only wish for...

  • Hellboy revolves around classic comic book/action/superhero genre story lines. Essentially Hellboy is a kind of demon who has found his way on earth. He is brought up from a child by a priest and within a government society and has chosen to protect the people of earth from the supernatural, rather then be a menace (the normal career route for a demon).

    The set up of the story involves creative uses of history, combining Nazi experiments with the occult. It's preposterous, but so is the whole idea of a demon roaming the streets. I find the explanations of the characters, who they are and how they came to be very well handled. The sequences are to the point and very entertaining. In fact the opening is the best part of the film, therein lays the problem….

    Essentially Del Toro who both writes and directs this piece bottles it. The film is absent of all tension or any major conflict. Hellboy is essentially established as invincible within the first act and so the rest of the film comprises of scenes in which any conflict is automatically rather crass because we know inevitably Hellboy will be OK and the bad guy will die. I hear you cry that this is the case for any action/hero film. Well yes it is, but once we are drawn into a well made action film we can't help but feel the hero may die. Die Hard works because John Mclane looks likely to die at all parts. He escapes death by the slimmest of margins. The stakes are raised as his wife is also in danger etc etc… Terminator and Terminator two work because in both cases the villain is far superior than the hero. The threat and tension is constant.

    Some of the other major weaknesses are: Del Toro is also guilty of employing deus ex machina. Characters generally disappear and reappear as their skills are needed within the story. The villain is featured in maybe three scenes. He has no motives. Turns up unexpectedly and inexplicably. In the one scene Hellboy looks to be up against a real threat (groups of monsters) a character unleashes her abilities - the screen fades to white and inexplicably the monsters are dead but everybody else lives. A minor character established in an irritating and undeveloped love story becomes the key to the conclusion of the film. Her character is so thin, the relationship so undeveloped. It is clear she is nothing more than a prop of sorts to push the plot along and to make it all make sense. I don't want to ruin the ending of the film but essentially a character that is dead is miraculously and unbelievably brought back to life….

    The film suffers from poor dialogue and one liners that just aren't smart or funny. After a while it all starts to grate.

    What's more Del Toro blows the action scenes with some uninspired visuals. And whoever made the creative decision to make hellboy's primary weapon a gun instead of his clunking arm should be fired. Essentially the use of the gun weakens the concept of the film, degrading the fights to nothing more than a one sided shoot out

    The few positives include: The cinematography is very good. At all times a sense of mood is established by the dark lighting and the darker colour palette. As well as the use of interesting locations. Yet perhaps it is all a bit samey as well.

    The use of cgi and Fx is well done. Never do we get an over load. When effects are used they are used well and the sense of realism is kept. Rather similar to how Nolan used FX in batman. I much prefer this method to the overtop effects we often see.

    All in all this is a pretty poor film. The real shame is that (despite not reading the comics) I found the film wasted a lot of potential. Hellboy as a character has a lot of instantly apparent fascinating dimensions which are completely unexplored. The film has watch-ability, in the sense that if it comes on TV and nothing else is on it might be worth a viewing. But in any other situation I wouldn't bother with it.
  • During a secret Nazi paranormal experiment in Scotland, a red and horned child from the nether-regions crosses into our reality. He grows up to be 'Hellboy', an agent of 'The Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense' and becomes our hope when a reborn Rasputin unleashes a fecund demon as part of a plan to bring about an 'end-of-days' apocalypse. Typical of a Guillermo del Toro film, the imagery is striking, especially the brief scenes of a post-apocalyptic Earth. The characters, drawn from the 'Hellboy' series of graphic novels (created by Mike Mignola, which I have not read) are imaginative and engaging and the production team do an excellent job in bringing them to the screen. I particularly liked Kroenen (Ladislav Beran), the self-mutilating, 'clockwork' Nazi assassin, the character design and make-up is outstanding. Ron Perlman, also under a lot of makeup, is quite good playing the wisecracking titular demi-demon, as are Doug Jones (equally made-up) as Abe Sapien, the PBRD's amphibious scholar-agent, and the ever-moribund John Hurt as Prof. Bruttenholm, Hellboy's adoptive father. All in all, a great 'superhero' film: clever, fast-moving, fun, and much more imaginative than most of the films in the better known DC or MCU franchises.
  • This movie hits all the sweet spots for me. It has action, Lovecraft-esque horror/supernatural elements, emotional intensity, interesting heroes...and cats. Lots of cats.

    And that mainly has to do with Hellboy himself. He is such a compelling character. He's an otherworldly beast who was raised by humans to be a good person. He fights monsters because his monstrosity enables him to know them well. He feels the pressure to look and act like a human as best he can so he won't be lumped in with other monsters. He kicks ass and acts macho, smoking cigarettes in a cool demeanor...yet, his many adopted cats shows that he has a soft side. And this vulnerable side is seen even further when we see how deeply he feels for the woman he loves. Unlike most heroes in the MCU, Hellboy has depth and charm to his personality that wins you over in an instant.

    Hellboy just might be my favorite superhero movie.
  • jforty833 January 2019
    Just seen a trailer for a remake of this film.. Really? As if they can do better? Lol 1/3/2019
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