Monday, April 23, 2007


Hellboy; Horror/ Action/ Fantasy, USA, 2004; D: Guillermo del Toro, S: Ron Perlman, Doug Jones, Rupert Evans, Selma Blair, John Hurt, Jeffrey Tambor

Scotland, '44. Nazis decide to take desperate occult help from mystic Rasputin in order to change the course of the war. He opens a dimensional portal in order to awaken the Seven Gods of Chaos, but right at that time the Allied forces intervene and close it down. Professor Brittenholm, a 28 year old member of the Allies, discovers that a mysterious red creature came from the portal to Earth: he raises it and calls it Hellboy. In 2004, Bruttenholm and a grown up Hellboy are working in a Bureau for paranormal research and defense, and are battling a demon called Sammael that appeared in a museum. They are joined by John Myers, a FBI agent, Abe, a fish-like creature, and Liz. After discovering Rasputin was reborn and created that demon, thus planing to bring the end of the world, they start a huge battle. Brutteholm gets killed, but Hellboy manages to locate Rasputin and eliminate him.

"Hellboy", a movie adaptation of a comic book with the same title, is a bizarre and extremely unusual superhero feature that has it's fair share of charm. The story is actually pretty good in the first half and has a lot of (dark) imagination, from the opening shots set in World War II in '44 when the Nazi were about to open a dimensional portal in order to change the course of the war, through the fascinating bad guy Kroenen of the Thule Society who wears a black mask, up to the modern day references about conflicts in the world, but already from the grotesque look of the good title hero Hellboy it is obvious the film in not for everyone's taste, sometimes being too much influenced by the satanic and the occult. A lot of the things shown in the film seem unnecessary and shaky, and towards the end "Hellboy" falls apart, turning into a cheap monster slasher without limits or sense for sustraint. Still, John Hurt and Selma Blair are excellent in their roles, and some scenes are really well done, like the one where Hellboy is saving kittens in a box from the demon Sammael or the one where he is hiding on a roof and spying on John Myers who is going out on a date with Liz, his big love. And there are hidden messages about loyalty and philosophy about what defines a man's (in this case, the scary looking Hellboy's) identity - his origin or his actions. But as a whole the film is too immature and chaotic, stopping only at being a solid fantasy. A similar mystic plot about a bad guy serving good and battling his own kind was handled a lot more skillfully in the brilliant manga "Hellsing", a Vampire horror classic.


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