Saturday, July 31, 2021


Movie Name:
Year of Release: 2004
Director: Guillermo Del Toro
Starring: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, John Hurt, Doug Jones, Rupert Evans, Karel Oden, Jeffrey Tambor, Brian Steele, Ladislav Beran, Biddy Hodson, Corey Johnson, Kevin Trainor, Brian Caspe
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Horror
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Director Guillermo Del Toro tackled back to back comic book adaptations in the early 2000s, firstly with "Blade 2", still the best film of the series, which was quickly followed by this introductory chapter to "Hellboy", which introduced Mike Mignola's character to the cinematic world. The film follows the story of Hellboy, a human-demonic creature, who has been on Earth, working with the Bureau of Paranormal Research, under the guidance of his parental figure and lead researcher, Professor Broom, since the end of World War II. The Bureau tackles problems and cases that are at times difficult to categorize, but typically centered around supernatural events. The Bureau has in its ranks Abe Sapien and Liz Sherman, both possessed of special powers, and in the case of Liz, the object of Hellboy's affection. The team is joined by a recent agent by the name of John Myers, who is suppose to partner up with Hellboy. Their most recent mission comes in the shape of former WWII Nazis, who through supernatural forces, are trying to bring monsters into the planet in order to govern it. It's up to Hellboy and his team to prevent that from happening.
Guillermo Del Toro's universe, which in itself is filled with magical and very dark creatures, is a perfect combination with Mike Mignola's, since Hellboy himself is both human but also a demon, and lives in this existence where the supernatural pushes on through to reality. This first film, which was followed by an equally good sequel, makes for an excellent introduction of the character, since it does so with plenty of humor, successfully balancing all of the action set pieces with enough character quirks, to make these heroes more humane, and not simply flat and unidimensional characters. The film also defines its villains quite effectively, keeping a tone of secrecy to how they operate, until their strategy is openly revealed. Guillermo Del Toro knows how to ground its characters and what they're doing, and once more, the humor in this film really elevates it and keeps the narrative always engaging and enticing. It's an intelligently built film, where the central hero is also and possibly the cause for the end of humanity, but who is brought back from the brink due to his humanity and love (there's a core of both paternal and romantic love at the core of this film which gives it heart and makes it the more compelling). The cast is uniformly superb, with Ron Perlman, John Hurt and Jeffrey Tambor creating great characters. The cinematography from Guillermo Navarro is fantastic as is the score from Marco Beltrami, with high marks going for the production design from Stephen Scott. An entertaining film from a gifted director always worth revisiting.