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 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 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 , 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 ), give it a shot. It's got a good heart. I eagerly await the DC in 8 months time 8/10 Take care, Chuck P.S. I hope to edit this on a second viewing.