Hellboy (no spoilers in OP)

Just got back from seein’ it.

Been a fan of the comic for years, so I went into the theatre with some serious preconcieved notions. This, I suspect, kind of colored my perceptions of the film.

It was in many ways the epitome of the comic book, brought to the screen. In other ways, it was a substantial departure.

Final verdict: A great popcorn-muncher, and I didn’t feel robbed. Misses some of the deeper themes of the comic, but… well… it’s a comic book movie. Furthermore, it’s a comic book movie that can’t decide if it wants to go with horror, or Schwarzenegger-style wisecracking action, or low comedy, so it juggles all three. It’s mostly successful… in the same kind of way the comic does the exact same thing.

Ron Perlman captures Hellboy PERFECTLY. I mean, he IS Hellboy. Unfortunately, this means that the other supporting characters get less screen time. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of Abe Sapiens and Liz Sherman.

Not sure what I thought of Kroenen. In the comic, he’s a skinny little Nazi mad scientist, polite to a fault, even while he’s dissecting your mother. In the comic, he’s a clockwork Nazi Terminator. Then again, he makes for some great fight scenes, although when he takes that mask off, you want to be sure your kids aren’t in the theatre. PG-13 or not, that guy is scaaaary-lookin’ without his mask on.

The Lovecraftian themes of the books are supported wonderfully. If you’re a Lovecraft fan, you will find things in this movie to like. A lot.

I found myself thinking back on the *X-Men * movies as I watched Hellboy. I liked the X-Men comics when I was a kid. The X-movies manage to capture the general feel and flavor, in a shallow-end kind of way. They’re fun. Not deep, but fun. Hellboy is much the same way… which is, I guess, what a comic book movie ought to be.

Although now I find myself wantin’ a sequel. They left enough plot threads hanging…

I just saw it and it was quite entertaining. I’ve only read one of the graphic novels and some of the on-line stuff, so I couldn’t really pick out points of departure. The movie is a good comic book film. I’d recommend it to people looking for a fun action flick.

I was reading reviews of the movie, and I’m glad to hear it doesn’t reek.

I’m a Ron Perlman fan (since Beauty and the Beast on tv) and the look of the movie in the previews appears interesting.

The main character looks like Ted Danson on steroids.

Ditto on the OP’s opinion. It’s great mindless entertainment, but a disappointment if you’re looking for more.

I had a lot of fun playing “Name that Movie Reference!”

The Lovecraftian stuff didn’t really scare me. But then, that might be because I eat the suckers. All I was thinking during those scenes was, “calimari, yum…” :smiley:

Lovecraftian things are rarely scary when represented. More than any other horror creature I think that these sorts are “You have to be there to be scared.” monsters in terms of appearance. When used in indepth horror however they have the potential to be very frightening in the “Everythink you know is wrong, the universe is a horrifying thing of amazing complexity that you can never understand and you are doomed because of it.” way.

Lovecraft doesn’t work nearly as well in the movies as in print. I’ve gotten the creeps from some of his stories, seeing the same stories on screen doesn’t have anywhere near the same affect.

Though Del Toro plans to do “At the Mountains of Madness” if Hellboy does well, so maybe that will change.

I saw Hellboy last night. I’ve never read the comic and knew nothing about the character or the premise.

I thought Hellboy himself was a mildly amusing character and well played by Perlman. Other than that, though, I was disappointed. It basically just seemed like Men In Black with a devil instead of Will Smith. The monster fights were by the numbers, the plotline involving reincarned Nazis and Rasputin was incomprehensible and boring. hellboy just fights one squid thing after another and makes wisecracks. The thing at the end looked like Cthuhlu, though, so that was pretty cool.

I liked the storyline involving Hellboy’s crush on Liz, I liked Abe Sapiens and I liked the Jeffrey Tambor character. I thought the “father” character (whatever his name was) was straight out of X-Men.

There were too many monster fights for me and they were too repetitive. The Rasputin “crossing over” stuff was just nonsense. I would have rather seen less action and more character development with a tighter, more coherent storyline (you really only need one squid creature).

I give it two stars but I did like Ron Perlman.

Well, y’know, the idea is not to take it too seriously; this is an element in the comic, and was an element in the movie, too.

I’d like to see a sequel featuring one of Hellboy’s recurring villains: Professor Doktor Herman von Klempt, the insane Nazi mad scientist who is a head in a jar.

No WAY you could take THAT too seriously…

I’d KILL to see The Amazing Screw-On Head: The Movie, complete with the three horrible old women and a monkey. :smiley:

So would I. But would it play in Peoria? :cool:

The movie was good but really lacked in depth. I feel the dialogue was poorly written, but the great storyline carried it through. I could never feel the gravity of any situation when during a earth-defending mission characters take time to discuss their relationships… who cares? It wont matter if everyone’s dead. Hellboy walks around moping about his personal life when there’s things to be done. I thought maybe this could be more Hamlet-esque if done properly, like “whats the point…” stuff. Instead of that, its all superficial teeny bopper whining that trys to be cute instead of emotionally engaging. Also there were some semi-holes that kind of ruined it for me. Like hell-boy tromping through crowded areas and nobody taking much notice. Then once they find they have their work cut out for them they all go back to pursuing their personal lives instead of seeking out the bad guys. Finally, Hellboy tries to be witty all the time, most of the time, it makes him even more superficial. All in all the mix didnt work for me.

Does anybody know why Rasputin wanted to let the Chaos Gods through to our dimension? Why would they have any more use for him than for the rest of us humans? Did the comic go into this more?

I liked the movie though I also thought the fight scenes were pretty routine. I think I’ve just seen one to many CGI battles. Gettin Old I guess… I liked the idea of Hellboy as a sixty-year old adolescent. Hell-Boy, not Hell-man.

That brings up another good point. What was the motivation of the bad guys? Were they just demons? Did it have to do with ww2? Were they just associated with all things historically “evil” ie Rasputin & Nazis?

I loved Ron Perlman, I’ve been a huge fan of his for ages. I thought the make-up for HB and Abe was spectaculary, particularly Abe’s gills.

Of course, there several moments that required a suspension of belief, my big issue:

How the heck did they get the Samiels from the NY sewers to outside of Moscow? Oh, and if the “father” knew the nazis wanted to get HB to Moscow, why did he carefully fold his rosary over the words deliberately sending HB into the Nazi trap? Best part - save my kittens!!

The “Barlowe’s inferno” designs were good, even though I didn’t recognize them right off.

All in all, it wasn’t bad…I just think it had the potential to be more than it was. Kind of like Underworld. It might even have done better if they’d gone fully-animated. (Nahh…the studio would have just screwed it up, then. :frowning: )

And I’m going to sound like a complete swine for saying this…but I thought it would have been an interesting artistic element if they’d had Liz’ clothing burn off whenever she “flamed up.” It would have been interesting to see that kind of “sensual” element in a context that wasn’t really sexual at all.

David Hyde Pierce’s voice work was terrific. (By the way…did the government discover Abe in the 19th century, or had he been in a tank since the 19th century, and only discovered recently?)

Clockwork zombie ninja, in a full SS dress uniform. How can you go wrong with that?

John Hurt rocks. He always rocks. And I want his office.

Perlman did a great job…aside from the red skin, it was easy to forget how much makeup he was wearing.


First, a warning: I don’t know how to do the blacked-out spoiler thing. I’ve tried to avoid spoilers but please forgive me if any slip through.
I didn’t hate the movie - certainly not enough to want my money back. But I did feel like it missed the mark somehow. How?
Well, one of the big fears that comic fans have when their favorite titles get made into movies is that they’ll get the characters all wrong. I don’t think that’s the case here, though; Ron Perlman did a very good job as Hellboy, everyone seemed to do a good enough job in their roles…even the newbie John Myers started to grow on me. Probably the only character that I didn’t like very much was the director/commissioner/suit guy that kept on with his one-note “hey, I’m in charge here, and you’ll do as I say” bit. He seemed a bit one-dimensional and the performance was actually the most over-the-top, which is saying something when you’ve got a big demon guy, a fish guy, and a firestarter girl in the same movie. Still, it wasn’t enough to derail it for me, so it’s not the characters themselves…
Another thing that comic purists are concerned with is how much the movies stay true to the continuity of the printed stories. Understandably, the movie makers had to do a little bit of merging here and there and pruning in other places. Quite honestly, though, I was kind of disappointed that they didn’t follow Seed of Destruction closer than they did; the whole side story in the comic of the old woman and her family’s obsession and the expedition unwittingly reviving Rasputin and so forth was more interesting to me than simply having the bad guys go and resurrect Rasputin the way they did. I think we’re getting closer to the reason why this movie didn’t hit a home run for me…somewhere along the line as they were trying to make this story work as a movie, they lost some things that made Seed of Destruction work for me. There is something especially good and creepy and fitting about the way that Rasputin is stopped in SoD with the harpoon being tossed by Abe who is possessed by the ghost of the dead guy (I don’t have the comics in front of me, so I’ll fill in the names later). What’s great about that is that when Hellboy faces Rasputin in the comics he’s clearly outmatched against the Russian sorcerer; he shoots Raspy in the face and he almost immediately recovers from it and you can tell that Hellboy’s thinking, ‘holy shit!’ and it’s actually kind of cool that it’s the ghost of this guy avenging the atrocities that Rasputin has inflicted on his family.
This brings up another point; with the exception of Kroenen looking creepier than any zombie that I’ve ever seen, there are no really creepy moments. No moments like in The Wolves of St. August when Kate sees the ghost of the wolf-girl or anything like that. The Sammael doesn’t seem so much supernatural as they do alien, and they almost seemed more fitting for something like Men in Black to me. It was a nice touch in the comics to have sudden infestations of frogs as the calling card of the creatures, and again that’s something that would have been nice to see in the movie; it would have enhanced the creepiness, made for some tension like the music in Jaws or something.
Another thing that seemed to be lacking in the movie is that most everything seems to take place in the city environment. Yes, we have the sewer thing and the final part is starting to branch out in terms of locale, but one thing I really like about the comics is how much you see of Old Europe and you get to see how Hellboy uses his knowledge of folklore and so forth. In the movie you get a bit of a taste of that in spots (I like that he brought out the relic and gave it to Abe to protect him against demons, for example) but I would have like more of that. More old ruined cathedrals, more old cemetaries!
You also don’t get a really clear sense that Hellboy has at this point already had a pretty long history of being a paranormal investigator. You get the idea that he’s the guy they send in to fight monsters, mostly. One of the reasons why The Corpse works so well as a story for me is that most of the story really doesn’t have Hellboy doing a lot of fighting; he uses his knowledge of the supernatural to expose the leprechaun or whatever the hell it was that stole the baby, you see him playing along with the rules of the game they play to get the baby back, you see some other cool things going on. It would have been nice maybe to have seen a short sequence showing a condensed version of The Corpse, maybe make Hellboy’s origin more of a brief flashback or something…I don’t know.
Ultimately, the problem may have simply been that they needed to tell a single story in a relatively short time; I think that Hellboy works best as a series of short stories, and if I thought that the general public would go for it, I would say that a weekly Hellboy series a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer or X-Files would work best to emulate the spirit of the comics. Certainly if there are more Hellboy movies (hell if there was a Tomb Raider sequel they better damn well do a Hellboy sequel) I would want to see more of the ghost story aspect, more creepy atmosphere, more references to folklore and traditions and legends.
If I wasn’t a fan of the comics, I might have given Hellboy 6.5 out of 10. Since I’m a fan of the comics, I give Hellboy a 6.5 out of 10. Why the same score? Because if I wasn’t a fan then the movie’s premise probably would have seemed just too weird to me. I suspect a #1 place this weekend and a quick dropoff in ticket sales next week.

In the comics, there is a lengthy expository sequence in which Rasputin explains that after Prince Yusopov poisoned, shot, clubbed and drowned him, he died.

While dead, he contacted the spirit of the Oghdru Jahad, the Dragon, that thing in the space cocoons, and agreed to be their agent on earth. He was restored to life, and shortly after gravitated to Germany, where he eventually became involved with the Nazis.

He didn’t give a flip about Nazis. He was seeking Nazi power and resources to free the Dragon. However, the Dragon cannot be freed without the Key, which was not on earth at that time. All Rasputin succeeded in doing was in bringing the Key to earth… Hellboy’s right hand. Along with Hellboy, of course.

In the course of this incident, he was able to charm three of the major scientists involved in the RagnaRok project into becoming his acolytes – Ilsa, Kroenen, and Leopold Kurtz (imagine a Nazi Herve Villechaize with a fascination for exoskeletal fighting machines). He told them the truth, and they went and froze themselves in a secret Nazi facility in Norway. Meanwhile, Rasputin travelled north, and found the cave where Sadu-Hem sat, frozen and waiting (Sadu-Hem being a good approximation of the Wayne Barlowe nightmare at the end of the movie). Rasputin sat down with him, and went into a trance.

The Third Reich fell. History happened. Hellboy grew up and went to work for the BPRD.

Trevor Bruttenholm and the last three Cavendish brothers went on a polar expedition, and found Rasputin and Sadu-Hem. All were instantly enslaved, and their ship used to transport Sadu-Hem to Cavendish Hall, in America. Bruttenholm (Professor Broom) was sent to BPRD headquarters, in a confused state, to bait Hellboy.

Bruttenholm is killed by a frog monster, which is killed by Hellboy. Hellboy, Abe, and Liz mount an expedition to Cavendish Hall, to figure out what’s going on. Upon their arrival, all hell breaks loose. Hellboy is beaten stupid, first by Rasputin’s powerful magics, and then by another frog monster (the transformed members of the expedition). Rasputin demands Hellboy serve him in bringing about the apocalypse. Hellboy tells him to go blow. Rasputin feeds Hellboy to a frog monster, and decides to use Liz’s pyrokinesis to power the magics to free the Dragon.

Meanwhile, Abe has been possessed by the ghost of Elihu Cavendish, who is pissed that his ancestral dreams have been brought to ruin by an undead Russian lunatic, and while Rasputin is using Liz’s flames to create a pyrotechnic display to summon the Dragon…

…a near-dead Hellboy finds a grenade in his pocket and shoves it down the frog monster’s throat, freeing himself. Rasputin is distracted–

–and Abe/Eliju Cavendish nail Rasputin from behind with a whaling harpoon. Rasputin survived one of Hellboy’s gunshot up front, earlier, but is unable to survive the sneak attack.

Free of Rasputin’s psychic control, Liz’s powers go completely bughouse, frying everything it can reach. Rasputin, staggering, winds up not only being skewered, but fried and beat into pieces by Hellboy. His last words were “Think, boy, think! If you kill me, you’ll never know who you really are!”

Hellboy decides he can live with this, and crushes the talking skull in his stone hand.

The three investigators escape. Meanwhile, Rasputin reforms as a ghost. Meanwhile, in Norway, a Nazi freezer beeps and unlocks…

The Hellboy story has great potential but it was wasted, wasted, wasted in the film.

Plot Holes:

[spoiler] #1: Why would Meyers horn in on HB’s girl? Am I the only person who thinks it’s stupid to hit on someone with a 500 lb. crush with an attitude, no matter how uninterested in said crush she seems to be?

#2. Why wasn’t Meyers burned in Liz’s Samiel Inferno? “All the rocks around me are exploding, but I’ll hide behind this special, invulnerable rock!”

#3. The Door. You know what I’m talking about.[/spoiler]

It was like the director couldn’t decide whether to do a character-driven movie or an action flick, and thus failed at both.

Full Disclosure: IMO, Monster/Fantasy stuff only works on a satsifying level when it is character-driven, like the X-Men films or Buffy The Vampire Slayer (formerly of TV). I probably wouldn’t have been totally happy even if the director had made a pure action flick.

We saw Hellboy Saturday night. I thought it was entertaining and, contrary to my gruff personality, I’m a sucker for a kiss at the end of an action flick.

We went out for squid after the movie. Seriously.