Written and Directed by Guillermo del Toro

Running Time: 2:02

Rated PG-13
for sci-fi action violence and frightening images.


Ron Perlman
as Hellboy

Selma Blair
as Liz Sherman

Jeffrey Tambor
as Dr. Tom Manning

Karel Roden
as Grigori Rasputin

Rupert Evans
as John Myers

John Hurt
as Professor Bruttenholm

Corey Johnson
as Agent Clay

Doug Jones
as Abraham 'Abe' Sapien

David Hyde Pierce
as Abe Sapien (voice)

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Hellboy just wasn't all that good. Maybe I missed something, maybe I'm the idiot, but I really was bored almost silly watching this movie.


In 1944, faced with losing the great war, the Nazis come up with a plan to get some mystical creature from another dimension (or just outer space) that would destroy the planet. Rasputin has the ability to open a porthole to this other dimension, but the U.S. armed forces manage to destroy it before the world can end. However, one small create manages to find his way through. He is called Hellboy. 60 years later, Hellboy is all grown up and fighting the good fight with the Americans. Along with Abe Sapien and the lovely pyromaniac Liz Sherman, Hellboy lives in shelter, coming out only when needed. And Rasputin manages to come back to life in present day and is once again trying to end the world, but he needs the large hand of Hellboy to help him out, so he devises a nefarious plan to get Hellboy's help. And in the end, Hellboy fails and the world as we know it ends. No wait, Hellboy saves the day. My bad.


The first thing I did when Hellboy was turn to my friend sitting next to me and ask if I missed something. After hearing all this good buzz about the movie, when it was over, all I kept thinking was, this was horrible. So I thought maybe I just didn't get it. My friend however, in a more diplomatic manner, agreed with me. I think he said something more along the lines of that it was disappointing and he had been hoping for more. I just thought it wasn't good. I never felt anything for the characters, I thought the special effects were kind of lame, the story didn't do anything for me, and I left the movie feeling nothing. Even the comic book fanboys in the hallway afterwards weren't talking about the movie. They were just hungry.

OK, the characters. We're introduced to Hellboy without any explanation other than he came through a porthole. I knew nothing about him. Where did he come from? What's up with the big hands? Do the horns mean he's the Devil? That wasn't explained. His red skin was interesting, but didn't do much for me beyond make me think he was burned. He has powers of some sort; he's strong, can leap tall buildings in a single bound, and is impervious to fire. But I know nothing else about him. The man he called Pop, Professor Bruttenholm, was another guy I think I was supposed to care for, but never did. Liz Sherman, the 'love' interest I also knew nothing about nor cared for. The only character that I had any empathy for was Abe Sapien. Such a sweet, Rubik Cube loving amphibian. But then at one point he gets injured and we barely see him again.

The special effects. The beginning of the end was the effects surrounding our young pyro Liz. They looked horrible. And why didn't her clothes burn? The blue flames looked like they were around her, not coming from her and her eye contact with it was almost like she was looking past it, which made it very unrealistic, realizing of course this is a fantasy movie in the first place. The rest of the effects were pedestrian; things we've seen in other movies. There was nothing new in the movie. What the heck was that large octopus creature from outer space? And what the heck were those Predator looking things that they were fighting?

The story was my last issue. OK, I understand the Nazis wanting to destroy the world. What I didn't understand, and maybe I didn't pay close enough attention, was what the porthole was, how they managed to open it, and how Rasputin fit in to all of this. And then, 60 years later, how he came back, why he came back, and what his reason was for wanting to again try and destroy the world. And those Predator looking things I mentioned before. For some magical reason, when one died, two were reborn from the ashes. So how come when Liz incinerated a ton of them and their eggs, they died and never came back? Shouldn't they have doubled? That was never explained. And why was Jeffery Tambor even in this movie? His character added nothing.

All that being said, there were some good points. I thought the look of the movie was nice. I enjoy those dark, brooding movies. There was some good humor, mostly coming from the extremely dry wit of Hellboy himself. I liked Abe Sapien, as well as the bad guy Kroenen. A twisted freak who loves nothing less than killing people is always good fun in a movie. I would have loved to have seen more of him slicing and dicing people.


So overall, I was disappointed with Hellboy. You know how sometimes you can build a movie up in your head so much, that no matter how good it may be, you're disappointed in how it turns out? Well in this case, I knew nothing about the character of Hellboy, and the previews did nothing for me, so I went in with no expectations, and I was still disappointed. Which has to say something, right?

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reviewed 04/04/04

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