Apologies to anyone who thought my punny title insinuated a predominantly negative review. It’s actually more medium positive. Ahem. Shall we begin?
I didn’t know Guillermo del Toro did Hellboy. Huh! The costumes and CG definitely make sense now, which is to say, they’re over-the-top but tolerable… for the most part.
Hellboy is the action-packed story of a demon summoned into the world by Nazis only to be captured by America and raised to fight the forces of evil. Those of you who have played Bloodrayne basically already know the entire plot, so watching the movie is a formality. On top of the perfunctory involvement of the Third Reich in Satanic affairs, Grigori Rasputin is set in the seat of the antagonist. You’d think a perverted false-prophet freeloader would warrant a less important position, but there you go.
The story resembles something out of a comic book (which it is): Spunky, strange-looking heroes with unusual superpowers, and villains looking to do something outlandishly evil and apocalyptic for no real reason. Take Abraham Sapien, one of the non-combat sidekick types. He’s a fish-man with the “unique” frontal lobe that lets him read minds and sense the timelines of objects he touches. Or Liz Sherman, a humanoid pyromancer with a past full of bullying and misfortune, who so happens to be Hellboy’s love interest. Hellboy himself gets immunity to fire and a big stone hand that he uses for smashy fun time. I suppose his tail counts as a part of his hero loadout, but he only ever uses it to steal a six-pack of beer, so I’ll leave that judgment up to you.
The deal is, the Nazis want to use Hellboy to open up a special gate that will free a terrible Eldritch beast and subsequently turn Earth into Hell. They begin their devious scheme by releasing a hellhound called Sammael, the uh… dog of many titles. He regenerates from grievous wounds and lays plenty of eggs, so most of the fight scenes are engulfed by his generous presence. This is rather unfortunate, because several of the concluding fights seem particularly quick if not rushed, whereas ol’ tentacle chops gets three or four chances to hump Hellboy to death. No humping actually happens, okay?
Despite its sometimes icky CG and silly-angsty sense of humor, Hellboy is a fun movie to watch. It’s two hours long, which unfortunately doesn’t manage to escape the inescapable time-crunch of turning a written work into a movie. It’s not too harsh an impact, though, so despite the fact that you’re going to wish Hellboy spent a few more minutes slapping the giant purple tentacle cactus, you’ll be satisfied with the film as a whole.
Kim Newman of Empire Online liked del Toro’s movie adaptation of Mike Mignola’s comic. It’s a comic, by the way. Thought you should know. As it turns out, Guillermo remained extremely loyal to said comics, so fans will be able to enjoy a good watch without too many “THAT NEVER HAPPENED” moments. And newcomers might have reason to check out the source material! Here’s the alt review link for your perusing: http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=9788