Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, August 22, 2008


HELLBOY (2004). Director: Guillermo del Toro.

Although based on a comic book of the same name, Hellboy seems comprised of elements from Marvel's X-Men and DC Comics' Doom Patrol, freakish outsiders fighting their inner demons and loneliness as well as the bad guys, or in this case, monsters. Hellboy is an actual demon who arrived on our Earth during World War Two during a demonic invocation by a Nazi. Said Nazi – an otherwise colorless arch-villain despite his bizarre appearance and abilities -- has managed to survive until the present day, and Hellboy ages so slowly that he is only in his “twenties.” The U.S. Government uses Hellboy to help them fight off attacks by awesome supernatural monsters. Ron Perlman's excellent performance as the tough-on-the-outside/sensitive-on-the-inside title character is the glue that holds the uneven film – cobbled together from over-familiar elements – together. Many of the basic concepts in the movie are derived from the work of H. P. Lovecraft. The monsters are fairly well brought to life by computer, which sometimes gives them the appearance of video game creations. The picture's gruesomeness is often at odds with its generally “light” tone. Despite some exciting and clever scenes – Hellboy resuscitating a talkative Russian corpse named Ivan in order to get some info is an “amusing” touch – Hellboy never quite cuts it as a major action film.
Verdict: It certainly has its moments, but a must-see it isn't. **1/2.

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