April 5, 2004


Hellboy has finally made it to the big screen, and I am happy to say, it’s pretty good. The film is brought to life from Mike Mignola’s amazing comic series of the same name, and the film is based on the character’s first story arc, Seed of Destruction. Even though Sony gambled with Guillermo del Toro, the director of those awful Blade movies (though they are almost entirely bad due to the presence of Wesley Snipes), all in all, the film worked out well.

Hellboy is summoned to Earth at the tail end of WWII by Rasputin the Mad Monk, who, in league with the Nazis, seeks to bring about the apocalypse. Allied forces, accompanied by paranormal investigator Professor Broom, thwart Rasputin’s plans, and dispatch him and his Nazi’s buddies. In the aftermath, Broom discovers Hellboy and takes him in as a son. Flash to the present day, Broom has helped Hellboy turn his abilities against the dark forces that summoned him, and become the key player at The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.), a government-operated division of scientists and “freaks”. In essence, Hellboy is pretty much a blue-collar field agent who just happens to be a bright-red, horned demon. The rest of the film you can imagine, and I don’t want to spoil, bad guy comes back to carry out his old plan, Hellboy needs to kicks ass.

Ron Perlman really is the perfect choice for the part of Hellboy, I mean, with those beady eyes and big cromagnon forehead, I can’t imagine they had to do much more than slap some red body paint on him to seal the deal. And ever since I saw Jim Henson’s The Storyteller series as a child, I can’t get enough of John Hurt on screen. There are only two notable low points of the film which would probably only bug someone like me who has read the stories before, those being: the story was a bit gussied up for the general movie-going public, and in doing so, lost much of Mignola’s dark and moody story textures; and one of the series’ best characters, Abe Sapien, although visually dead-on, was repurposed as a pansy telepathic. Other than that, bravo, this could have easily been a train wreck.

On a side note, if you enjoy the movie, be sure to pick up the Hellboy graphic novels (Seed of Destruction, Wake the Devil, Right Hand of Doom, The Chained Coffin and Others, Conqueror Worm), they are all quite remarkable works of art. Mignola has attained such mastery with his stark graphic/illustrated style, that his pages work as beautiful and deceptively simple graphic compositions.

Commentary (6):

1. Kevin says… apr 5, 2004 | 2:17 pm

So Rasputin is… about 300 years old?

2. Jason Santa Maria says… apr 5, 2004 | 7:14 pm

He was only born in the second half of the 19th century, so, closer to 150 years old.

3. Matt Davis says… apr 7, 2004 | 9:00 am

The only better actor to play HELLBOY would have been Chris Preston.

4. Greg says… apr 7, 2004 | 2:49 pm

I wondered how this movie would be considered by a tried and true Mignola fan. His artwork and storytelling is so unique, it’s fantastic. Whereas the movie looks like a Hellboy version of Batman and Robin (the movie).

5. Chris Brummel says… apr 10, 2004 | 1:20 am

del Toro only directed the second Blade, entitled Blade 2.

6. Jason Santa Maria says… apr 10, 2004 | 8:39 am

I stand corrected, though they are still pretty awful.