Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 2004. Revolution Studios, Lawrence Gordon Productions, Starlite Films, Dark Horse Entertainment. Story by Guillermo del Toro, Peter Briggs, Screenplay by Guillermo Del Toro, based on the comic books by Mike Mignola. Cinematography by Guillermo Navarro. Produced by Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Mike Richardson. Music by Marco Beltrami. Production Design by Stephen Scott. Costume Design by Wendy Partridge. Film Editing by Peter Amundson.
More comic-book fun comes to life on the big screen with successful results. Sixty years after a paranormal specialist (John Hurt) prevents the Nazis from opening the gates of hell and destroying life as we know it, the little demon he saved from the experience and raised as a son has grown into a mean, red superhero (Ron Perlman). Saving the world from monsters while trying to keep a low public profile, this cigar-smoking ‘Hellboy’ is distraught when he discovers that his father’s old adversaries are back and ready to go for it again in a battle of good vs. evil that leads all the way to the desolate, snowy regions of Russia. With the help of a firestarter (Selma Blair), a psychic aquaman and a green FBI recruit (Rupert Evans), Hellboy makes the journey while defeating impressive demons using his massive claw hand and his indefatigable sarcasm. As in Blade II, director Guillermo del Toro has created an experience both contemporary in its humour and mythic in its style, and this time employs a superior screenplay that features character depth and intelligent dialogue to help him along the way. The visual effects are superb, and many of the set pieces (particularly the end climax in the castle) are right out of a fairy tale storybook. Not that this is in any way an appropriate film for children, as some of the gorier visuals will be far too much for the young to handle. The only drawbacks to the enjoyment here are a painfully weak performance by Blair (whose character isn’t all that much to scream about in the first place) and a less-than-enthusiastic turn from Perlman, whose energy and wit never really reach through all the foam and rubber to get across to the audience. No big deal, though; you’ll still have a terrific time watching it.