Monday, April 14, 2014

Post #249: Hellboy

Hellboy is a movie based on the comic of the same name (created by Mike Mignola), directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, John Hurt, Doug Jones, Karl Roden, and some bland boring nondescript POV guy (Rupert Evans).

Our story begins in the 40s, in which Grigori Rasputin (Roden) tries to unleash tentacled apocalypse upon the world for Hitler, but fails - all he manages to do is bring a little red monkey-looking baby through. Years later, that baby has grown up into Hellboy (Perlman), hugely strong and dedicated to fighting monsters that attack normal people. His adoptive father, Professor Broom (Hurt) runs the show at the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (overseen by agent Manning, played by Jeffery Tambor), and he's assisted by fish-man Abe Sapien (Jones, voiced by David Hyde Pierce) and his occasional girlfriend and pyrokinetic Liz (Blair).

Into this mix, we throw POV character John Myers (Evans), and therein lies my only real problem with this movie. But I'll come back to that. Rasputin is back, and wants to use Hellboy to open a gate to Hell and bring through Cthulhu the Seven Gods of Chaos. He tricks Hellboy into coming to the appropriate Darkened Temple, killing Broom along the way, and then takes Liz' soul to force Hellboy's hand. But Hellboy rebels, chooses humanity, kills Rasputin, scares the crap out of whatever's on the other side into letting Liz go, and the movie ends with fire and kisses.

OK, so you see how all of that had almost no mention of Myers? We could have lost him entirely. He's only there to give us a POV character, and we don't need one. Del Toro could have thrown us into this weird-ass world with no exposition. Hell, give us training day for a new group of agents, show them getting the ropes from Hellboy's handler and friend, Clay (Corey Johnson), and then take the focus off them and let us just have the relationships between Hellboy, Broom, Manning, Liz and Abe, and that would have been fine. Myers is boring, and we have to spend too much screen time with him.

Beyond that, though, I like this movie a lot. Hellboy is a weird character, and from what little I've read of the comics, Del Toro and Perlman did a great job bringing him to life (reportedly Perlman was both Mignola's and Del Toro's only choice for Hellboy). The FX haven't aged especially well, but the practical effects (including Hellboy) work just fine, and I really wish the sequel had been more interesting than it was.

My grade: B+
Rewatch value: High

Next up: The Amazing Spider-Man