*** Official HELLBOY Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Chuck Mayer, Apr 2, 2004.

  1. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Messages:
    8,189
    Likes Received:
    411
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Real Name:
    Chuck Mayer
    The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    I have to wear my heart on my sleeve. I love Hellboy the comic. I love it. I basically quit collecting comics a few years back, though I pick up the occasional story here and there. But I still buy Alex Ross stuff. And I always buy Hellboy. A little (quick) history. Hellboy was the first creator-owned comic for Mike Mignola. While the boys at Image were getting rich, a few of the best talents in the biz formed the Legend imprint at Dark Horse Comics...Frank Miller, Paul Chadwick, Mike Mignola, Art Adams, John Byrne, Geof Darrow (of The Matrix fame) and Mike Allred. In a dark period of comics (speculation and X-clones abounded, die-cut/foil covers, series lasting three issues, and little actual quality), Legend was a guarantee. I had no expectations for Hellboy the comic a decade ago. I simply knew Mignola was drawing it. And Mike Mignola can DRAW. And when I mean DRAW, I mean DRAW. As in any field, there's a bell curve of talent. Some folks don't belong, most can do the job, and there are precious few who transcend the genre. Mike Mignola is special. No clutter. His simplicity went unappreciated for a while, but couldn't be ignored. The man draws the best stuff in the biz. So I bought Hellboy.

    And fell in love with the concept, characters, and world. Hellboy *is* a blue-collar stiff, with the weight of Armageddon on his right hand, and he lives in one of the best fantasy worlds ever imagined. Mike is a devotee of Lovecraftian horror, and mixes in myths, legends, and tall tales. Castles are haunted, the dead can talk, and Nazis are not only evil, but EVIL. It's lyrically beautiful, and Hellboy is a great guide.

    That's just where I am coming from [​IMG]

    On to the movie. I can't believe how much they got right. They got the right actor, the right director, and they didn't compromise any more than any other adaptation. Perlman embodies the character, which isn't easy. The supporting cast is excellent. The sets and shots are beautiful. It's a great looking movie that gets it right. And I only liked it on the first pass. I think I wanted to love it so much, I didn't let the film come to me. I wasn't let down, I was simply underwhelmed. I DO NOT BLAME THE FILM. Nor do I make excuses for it. It felt overly long, there were a few awkward transitions, and it feels edited. Too little on the villains as well...any monster movie needs to spend a little more time on the villains. Amazingly, I think the longer version will feel shorter...if that makes any sense [​IMG] But I did like the film. I just wanted to love it. Beyond my expectations, however, is the simple truth that Mignola's art cannot be translated into the "real world" so easily. I am not an artist, so I can't explain it, but there it is.

    I give it a hearty recommendation, however. It has energy and style to spare. Again, Perlman does a great job in the best makeup I have ever seen. Rick Baker (and team) are brilliant, and I expect this film to win that Oscar in a walk. But then I expected Rick Baker to win Makeup in 2001 for POTA, so what do I know (it was a travesty...and by that I mean POTA the film [​IMG] , and Baker losing/not being nominated). There are some amazing shots in the film, and del Toro clearly wants to do some Lovecraft. There is an early shot (SPOILER) where a light is sucked into space and drifts over Ogdru Jahad...stunning work. Great action, decent plot (which summarizes the comics as well), and quite a bit of humor (sometimes a little TOO much for me). I expected it to be a bit more tongue in cheek. The monster work was excellent

    In short, as you can see, expectations got in my way. It's not fair to the film (or myself), so I plan on seeing it again rather soon. If you are on the fence (...you quit reading five paragraphs back [​IMG] ), give it a shot. It's got a good heart. I eagerly await the DC in 8 months time [​IMG]

    8/10

    Take care,
    Chuck

    P.S. I hope to edit this on a second viewing.
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    32,461
    Likes Received:
    7,638
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Hellboy". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Donnie Eldridge

    Donnie Eldridge Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2001
    Messages:
    761
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I just got back from watching the movie and I have to agree with you. The movie felt overly long and they didn't focus enough on the villains. The humor was good, but with a couple of exceptions the trailers spoiled most of the one liners. It's a good movie, but this is one that is going to be better served with DC cut version on dvd.
     
  4. Shawn_KE

    Shawn_KE Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2003
    Messages:
    1,295
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I just got back from seeing the film. I've never read Hellboy comic or knew exactly what it was about, just Mignola did it. So I really don't know what was right or wrong, other than it being a good movie.

    The pace was decent, but felt long in area's. The one liners were funny without coming off corney. I was impressed with the CGI as well.

    Also, what was up with the blades guy winding up that switch in his chest?
     
  5. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 1998
    Messages:
    7,798
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    0
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of 4 [​IMG]s
     
  6. Phil Florian

    Phil Florian Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2001
    Messages:
    1,188
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I saw this at a sadly thin showing last night. I and the 3 guys I went with had a blast, though. 2 of us were fans of the comics and loved all the bits in the movie that were taken directly from it and the other two just like good movies and enjoyed it from beginning to end.

    Ron Perlman is perfect as Hellboy. He made a very sympathetic hero who has to deal not only with his past but with his desire to fit in with others. I liked the supporting cast a lot as well. The effects were very, very good in my opinion. For example, it was hard to tell where Abe Sapien the costume left off for Abe Sapien the CGI character. There was no "fight in front of the lights" from Blade 2 in this movie. While it was effects laden, the character of Hellboy didn't really get lost in it, even when it was over the top set pieces.

    This was in some ways (to me, anyway) the inheritor of the Indiana Jones mantle. Pulpy action/adventure with a global scope and a mix of metaphysical and also intimate consequences. Yes, the fate of the world rested on the shoulders of the folks at the BPRD but more important was whether or not Hellboy gets the girl.

    Del Toro is an amazing director and really showed his love for the character. While the film was very true to the comics, it wasn't a rote re-telling (like the Potter movies so far) nor a blatant scene for scene homage without any connecting tissue (Daredevil, bah). They took a premise from a cool story "The Corpse" and used it in a different way but a way that is "true" to the original storyline. They took the origin Story "Seed of Destruction" and did the same, keeping true to much of the comic but making the changes that make it work for the big screen. Nicely done.

    A must see for fans of comics or just fans of old school adventure movies that haven't been done right since that guy with the fedora and whip.


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Ciao,

    Phil
     
  7. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    9,306
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]½ (out of four)

    Hellboy is the sort of movie that often elicits comments like "it's full of ridiculous things, but it works because it doesn't take itself seriously." This couldn't be further from the truth; Hellboy has all sort of funny things going on in the corners of the movie, and its monstrous-looking but down-to-earth title character does make with the jokes, but this is not the result of the film and the filmmakers not taking themselves seriously. It's the opposite; that sort of attention to detail points to everyone involved taking the project very seriously, and getting it exactly right. Sloppy movies like Independence Day and Armageddon don't take themselves seriously; Hellboy is better than that.

    This would be a frighteningly easy movie to screw up, but director Guillermo del Toro embraces the weird world of Mike Mignola's "Hellboy"/"BPRD" (Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense) comics and makes it hold together. Most superhero movies, because of budget constraints or a desire to keep grounded for the non-geek audience, give us a world with one superhero and one supervillain; Hellboy not only gives us the title character, a demon brought into our world as a baby and raised by his discoverer as a son, but it also gives us fish-man Abe Sapien (body by Doug Jones, voice by an uncredited David Hyde Pierce), firestarter Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), Grigori "yes that" Rasputin (Karel Roden), an immortal Nazi, a hundred-year-old assassin who has replaced much of his body with mechanical parts whose "blood has dried up so that only dust flows in his veins", space-born Lovecraftian monsters, demonic frog-creatures, and more. Nice-but-normal FBI agent John Myers (Rupert Evans), likely meant to be the audience's viewpoint character, practically vanishes into the woodwork.

    The story, based upon Mignola's "Seed Of Destruction" miniseries, is as straightforward as these things can be - sixty years ago, the Nazis attempted to summon a demon army, but the US Army got the drop on them, and all that got through was a baby. Now, sixty years later, that baby is a man (demons don't age quite as quickly as you and me) working for the BPRD division of the FBI, handling supernatural threats to the United States. But Rasputin's lover, whom he blessed with long life and youth, and the clockwork assassin have brought the mad monk back, and he intends to pick up where he left off. But to do that, he apparently needs to draw Hellboy out, releasing a frog demon into a New York museum and causing a setback in his friend Liz's attempt to control her powers.

    Hellboy's world is well-realized. This should be no surprise; both del Toro and Mignola (who serves as an associate producer and design consultant) are perhaps best known for their visual styles. The effects are very good, maybe a little less polished than you'd get from Star Wars, but mostly believable and solid looking (though nobody has yet gotten the "digital stuntman" quite right). It's got its moments of comic-book absurdity (where are the giant pendulums that smash a catwalk coming from?), but it all fits together, too.

    It fits together, mostly, because of Ron Perlman's performance in the title role. An old hand at working under a lot of prosthetic makeup, Perlman knows how to exaggerate his body language just enough to make up for having so much of his face covered up without entering ham territory. Despite being an actor in his fifties playing a sixty-year-old demon, he portrays Hellboy as emotionally in his late teens; he has a temper, clashes with his adopted father (John Hurt), and has a crush on Liz, amusingly following her and Myers when they go out for coffee. Indeed, that scene where he's watching her while talking to a nine-year-old boy he meets up on the roof is the fulcrum on which the movie rests; he looks like the devil himself but is in many ways a confused kid struggling to become a man his father can be proud of.

    I hope Hellboy makes a ridiculous amount of money, enough to get everyone back to do "Wake The Devil", sell a bunch of comic book collections, get me action figures to put on my shelf, and allow more fantasies with this amount of imagination to be made. It's a hugely entertaining movie.
     
  8. Steve_Tk

    Steve_Tk Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2002
    Messages:
    2,833
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I enjoyed the movie, but for the most part didn't follow it as much as I would seeing it a second time (which will be DVD).

    I didn't really enjoy the villains, partly because that one guy swings his blades around way too much and for me at least, went from being someone to be feared to something that is kind of silly.

    I did enjoy Hellboy himself though. I was just kind of lost as to who he was.

    Overall I think it just did not flow as well as it could have. I was not sure about the motivations and did not feel as epic (not the right word I'm looking for) as maybe Xmen2.
     
  9. Ryan_Walsh

    Ryan_Walsh Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2001
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I thought the movie was unbelievably average.

    No time at all is given to the backstory of the villains(from the beginning), and a little better explenation of Liz Sherman would have been nice too. I would have liked a little time spent on the interim between past and present.

    I don't really enjoy when characters are used just to move the plot or provide conclusion, and it seemed to me that there were more than one that were on screen ONLY to serve this purpose. Father, Liz Sherman, and New Guy


    [​IMG] .5 out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  10. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,761
    Likes Received:
    485
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    The look and feel of the film are the high points for me. I enjoyed the production values, and Ron Perlman is witty as hell, boy.

    Otherwise, its story is oddly constructed and leaves out too many connecting points to make it a satisfying movie-viewing experience because it borders on a seductive incoherence (meaning it fun to watch, but you're not quite getting enough information to enjoy what's at stake by the time you get to the end of the film). The moral of the story was ham-fisted at the end (del Toro didn't have enough faith to trust that the audience would get it, I suppose).

    The bad guys are never given much in terms of credible reason to exist, except to give Hellboy something to contend with for most of the film. Most of the second act is rendered useless by the time the 3rd act is over, so that was frustating.

    I really wanted to like this film (being a life-long comic book fan), but came away feeling a bit let down given the interesting world that was put on celluloid, otherwise.

    I'd mildly recommend it for comic fans, and give it a neutral to other folks.

    I give it 2.5 stars, or a grade of C+.
     
  11. LorenzoL

    LorenzoL Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    313
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I watched the movie last night and frankly I have mixed feelings about it. This maybe the first time watching a "comic book" or "superhero" movie in which I enjoyed the dialogue more than the action sequences.

    I agree with the strong points of the movie that have been indicated previously on this thread:
    - the acting of Ron Perlman as Hellboy is absolutely fantastic.
    - My kudos to Guillermo Del Toro for bringing the comic book to life without comprimising its integrity as is known to happen in many comic book adaptations.
    - The look or visual of the movie gives you the feeling that you are actually reading the Mignola comic book.

    WEAK POINTS
    - I wasn't impressed with the action sequences. They were either too short (like the final fight) or they were too long (the repeated fights with Sammael)
    - The editing and plot holes/ommisions

    Overall, I will still recommend this movie to people.

    P.S. I took my sister to watch the movie and she's a big HATER of comic book movies and can't stand them (I don't think she has seen Spiderman, X-Men I and II, Batman or Superman movies) however she ended it up loving Hellboy. Actually, she like it more than I did. :b
     
  12. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2000
    Messages:
    9,063
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    (extracted from a post in the discussion thread)

    This is not just a fantastically fun comic book movie, it's a fun movie period. Production value is terrific and doesn't go unwasted in the film. I've read some concerns that the film had a great deal of editing problems, and to an extent I do agree that the film feels a little edited at times. There were a few moments that I thought would continue, but just tapered off. That being said, I think Hellboy was really good at balancing the time in respect to all of the characters. To bring up another comic book film, Daredevil, I thought that it's scope was way too big for the time allotted (which makes sense considering so much was hacked out during the editing process). Hellboy, on the other hand, was able to introduce the Baddies, show off Hellboy's past/possible destiny, while still getting great stuff from secondary characters like Myers, Abe Sapien, Liz, and the Professor. I liken this to the first X-Men's great introduction to all of the characters.

    Perlman was definitely the best pick for Hellboy. I could see this from all the previews, but the film solidifies it even more. Hurt was great, as was Rupert Evans and the rest of the supporting cast.

    This film felt like a comic. Much like Blade 2, Del Toro's visual style really tied the movie together. Unlike Blade 2, I felt that there wasn't as much of a dependence on CG...and when there was CG, it didn't look nearly as cartoon-like.

    I'm sure I'll be watching this one for years to come. Hopefully it gets enough crossover fans to produce some quality sequels.

    ****½/*****
     
  13. Mikel_Cooperman

    Mikel_Cooperman Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2001
    Messages:
    4,183
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Mikey
    I enjoyed the movie. Not a great movie but I enjoyed the story and the action. Much better than Underworld or Daredevil which I had equally high hopes for.
    The only thing that was distracting was the CGI creatures which could have been better and as someone said the villians which reminded me of villians from a show like Charmed, there to move the action along but very stock characters at best.
    So who was that corpse guy that was semi-reanimated?
     
  14. Chris Atkins

    Chris Atkins Producer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Messages:
    3,887
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] 1/2 out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Good movie, but not all that accessible to non-Hellboy comic fans. As a general comic book fan, I could appreciate what the director was trying to do, but I think most average movie goers will have more questions than answers after the movie.
     
  15. Shawn_McD

    Shawn_McD Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This movie has prompted me to start reading these comics.

    Perlman, always a fine supporting actor has come full circle.

    Yes it had a little bad editing, and a few pointless plotholes...but it seems a good beginning to a successful francise.
     
  16. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 1998
    Messages:
    3,500
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hellboy has the inner workings to become a good film and a nice addition to the comic book genre – a very capable director (Guillermo Del Toro), a credible lead (Ron Perlman), and a look and mood that feels right. But what the film lacks is also its biggest detriment – a coherent story and a formidable villain.

    The lack of these two important elements make it just passable entertainment and routine rather than creative and inventive as a comic book adaptation that is memorable, able to hold in repeat viewings and has the ability to attract a new audience to those unfamiliar with the source material.

    ~Edwin
     
  17. WilliamG

    WilliamG Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    OK- I've never heard of the comic book character, but saw the movie. Thought it was good, quirky fun. That said, did they RUSH this out to the theater or what? Why? Because the minute I not only caught a glimpse, but saw the overhead boom microphone the first time for what seemed like five long seconds my thought was "huh.. they missed an edit" ... THEN I had to have seen it (the microphone) another 5 or 6 times. By then I was completely taken out of the movie.[​IMG] Sloppy? Yep.

    Please don't take this as a slam against the story. Or the characters. But if I'm an editor and looking at 'dailies' I could possibly miss *one* cut ... but that many?!! [​IMG]

    Once again- I thought the movie was fun.[​IMG]
     
  18. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2001
    Messages:
    18,410
    Likes Received:
    2,831
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    Why does the villian need to over shadow the story so? To me, the villian should exist merely to give us an excuse for dwelving into the hero's world. By choosing Rasputin, the audience knows/should know pretty much all there is to know about him and extensive screen time needn't be wasted playing it out.

    I was on the fence during the opening sequence; starting to fear a League Of Extrodinary Gentlemen level travesty. Then Professor Broom won over the demon spawn with a Baby Ruth and I knew I was in capable hands.

    The credit sequence had all the gothic ambience of an old-style horror film, but somehow was welcoming and inviting just the same.

    Agent Myers served as a wonderful device in peeling back this organization and who everyone was and why. I never felt like I was being clumsily fed exposition. All the characters rung true and evoked sympathy, even poor Clay with his all too obvious hair implants. When he died, I gave a shit, no small task for a supporting character.

    More importantly, the interrelationships FELT like family. All of these characters clearly have a great deal of history together. Instead of just being told that and moving on to the next convention, their very personalities are colored by that.

    The scene that rung most true to me was Hellboy running across rooftops (a welcome enough site in a comic adaptation genre that perplexingly deplores rooftops) to listen in on Myers' "date" with Liz. His narration is very real, funny not because it's witty but because like any lover he's so intrinsically involved with every even that transpires. His instant friendship with the little boy likewise feels natural. Even though he's a 7-foot tall demonspawn, he's clearly a people person.

    Too few superhero films focus on the title hero instead of the flamboyant archvillian. This time, it's the sole focus. Work and social life are by their very nature intertwined, which allows the characters to develop without long stretches lacking in action.

    To me the movie felt paced just right. It wasn't over before I wanted it to be, but my attention never wandered. The only instance where I felt the editing was jarring was after the scene with Hellboy and Liz outside the hospital.

    Good solid fun, and an enjoyable character dramedy to boot. One of my favorite superhero flicks yet. And for a film about demonspawn, it was one of the most unabashedly Christen I've seen in a while. The rosary beads were a great running theme.

    WilliamG: I didn't notice any boom mikes. The film was flat, so it possible your theater just had it improperly matted?
     
  19. Rob P S

    Rob P S Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    2,000
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    110
    Real Name:
    rob
    [​IMG] /[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    It was so stupid, senseless, and obnoxious that I walked out halfway through. Of course, I hate these types of dreary movies, so I shouldn't have been there in the first place. Nice score and production design, though.
     
  20. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2001
    Messages:
    6,307
    Likes Received:
    126
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Adam_S
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] - out of four - great movie

    I didn't expect to like Hellboy this much, though I had hoped it might deliver.

    In short this is every bit as good, if not better, as X-Men 2, and that's saying something.

    The noirish beginning, the overall design, the script, the makeup, the characterizations, the makeup, damn this was a delight from start to finish. Very satisfying overall.

    Sadly though there is nothing in the film that challenges me. It's as brilliant a piece of entertainment you can ask for, but it feels like a movie movie, and it's perfectly fine for that level.

    I think I'm annoyed that the relationships in the film are so good, but there's little real power behind the tones they hit, they're playing very fine, but there was no oomph behind it to push this into the upper upper echelon.

    I think the only thing that disapointed me was seeing so many tentacles for the demon-gods and rasputin's alien homage. I loved little touches like seeing the moon turn black as sackcloth. Hellboy was an absolute riot, way more charismatic than Wolverine, intensely likable softy gruff guy who's a bad ass foul mouthed Tarentino style superhero just waiting to bust loose from his mold.

    The best work in the entire film, and I was surprised by this, was Hellboy on the roof talking to the boy, eating cookies and drinking a glass of milk. Just wonderful acting from the kid and Perlman's best work in the film in my opinion. I almost wish Abe Sapien hadn't been in this film, to allow more development of Hellboy's and 'sparky's' relationship, he really didn't have much to do, but he was freaking cool, one of those great touches that really worked well. The one moment the hellhounds felt really dangerous and not a cg enhanced intruder was in his battle with them. but at the same time, his whole underwater scene reads just a little like "we need to give Abe something heroic to do to show he's their equal, and not just the smart nerd... oooh at the same time this raises the stakes!" It's a good strong decision, but it's the sort of thing that coulda been dropped in favor of more romance development. Action scenes were really nicely done, though seeing people flying 100yards through the air got old quick as did the obvious at time wire work keeping the feet scrabbling unrealistically.

    Overall a homerun and a stellar film and one of the great comic book films.

    Adam
     

Share This Page