A demon, raised from infancy after being conjured by and rescued from the Nazis, grows up to become a defender against the forces of darkness.A demon, raised from infancy after being conjured by and rescued from the Nazis, grows up to become a defender against the forces of darkness.A demon, raised from infancy after being conjured by and rescued from the Nazis, grows up to become a defender against the forces of darkness.
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!
- Mar 9, 2007