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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.
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.
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
entertaining, while at the same time staying faithful to the comics
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.
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.
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'
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!
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.
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+
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!
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...
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