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Overall Rating
3.57

Awesome: 22.68%
Worth A Look40.21%
Average: 17.01%
Pretty Bad: 11.34%
Total Crap: 8.76%

13 reviews, 116 user ratings


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Hellboy
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by Jay Seaver

"It's a hugely entertaining movie."
5 stars

Hellboy is the sort of movie that often elicits comments like "it's full of ridiculous things, but it works because it doesn't take itself seriously." This couldn't be further from the truth.

Hellboy has all sort of funny things going on in the corners of the movie, and its monstrous-looking but down-to-earth title character does make with the jokes, but this is not the result of the film and the filmmakers not taking themselves seriously. It's the opposite; that sort of attention to detail points to everyone involved taking the project very seriously, and getting it exactly right. Sloppy movies like Independence Day and Armageddon don't take themselves seriously; Hellboy is better than that.

This would be a frighteningly easy movie to screw up, but director Guillermo del Toro embraces the weird world of Mike Mignola's "Hellboy"/"BPRD" (Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense) comics and makes it hold together. Most superhero movies, because of budget constraints or a desire to keep grounded for the non-geek audience, give us a world with one superhero and one supervillain; Hellboy not only gives us the title character, a demon brought into our world as a baby and raised by his discoverer as a son, but it also gives us fish-man Abe Sapien (body by Doug Jones, voice by an uncredited David Hyde Pierce), firestarter Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), Grigori "yes that" Rasputin (Karel Roden), an immortal Nazi, a hundred-year-old assassin who has replaced much of his body with mechanical parts whose "blood has dried up so that only dust flows in his veins", space-born Lovecraftian monsters, demonic frog-creatures, and more. Nice-but-normal FBI agent John Myers (Rupert Evans), likely meant to be the audience's viewpoint character, practically vanishes into the woodwork.

The story, based upon Mignola's "Seed Of Destruction" miniseries, is as straightforward as these things can be - sixty years ago, the Nazis attempted to summon a demon army, but the US Army got the drop on them, and all that got through was a baby. Now, that baby is a man (demons don't age quite as quickly as you and me) working for the BPRD division of the FBI, handling supernatural threats to the United States. But Rasputin's lover, whom he blessed with long life and youth, and the clockwork assassin have brought the mad monk back, and he intends to pick up where he left off. But to do that, he apparently needs to draw Hellboy out, releasing a frog demon into a New York museum and causing a setback in his friend Liz's attempt to control her powers.

Hellboy's world is well-realized. This should be no surprise; both del Toro and Mignola (who serves as an associate producer and design consultant) are perhaps best known for their visual styles. The effects are very good, maybe a little less polished than you'd get from Star Wars, but mostly believable and solid looking (though nobody has yet gotten the "digital stuntman" quite right). It's got its moments of comic-book absurdity (where are the giant pendulums that smash a catwalk coming from?), but it all fits together, too.

It fits together, mostly, because of Ron Perlman's performance in the title role. An old hand at working under a lot of prosthetic makeup, Perlman knows how to exaggerate his body language just enough to make up for having so much of his face covered up without entering ham territory. Despite being an actor in his fifties playing a sixty-year-old demon, he portrays Hellboy as emotionally in his late teens; he has a temper, clashes with his adopted father (John Hurt), and has a crush on Liz, amusingly following her and Myers when they go out for coffee. Indeed, that scene where he's watching her while talking to a nine-year-old boy he meets up on the roof is the fulcrum on which the movie rests; he looks like the devil himself but is in many ways a confused kid struggling to become a man his father can be proud of.

I hope Hellboy makes a ridiculous amount of money, enough to get everyone back to do "Wake The Devil", sell a bunch of comic book collections, get me action figures to put on my shelf, and allow more fantasies with this amount of imagination to be made. It's a hugely entertaining movie.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=9069&reviewer=371
originally posted: 06/03/04 04:47:32
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User Comments

6/24/14 Haley S. I loved this movie so much! The battles were great, and the casting was good. 5 stars
5/12/11 RLan a subpar superhero movie. 2 stars
12/21/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Not as good as I hoped, but not bad 3 stars
4/10/09 Ionicera A better script/story would have made all the difference 3 stars
11/26/08 Leo T just 'ok'...not great, not horrible...the I walked out of HB2(Sucked) 3 stars
7/24/08 Shaun Wallner Great Action!! 5 stars
6/01/08 Hemlok I enjoyed this so much... I love Ron Perlman as HB, and Doug Jones is just the biz as Abe 5 stars
5/18/08 PAUL SHORTT BIZZARE COMIC BOOK FANTASY WITH A DARK KINETIC POWER 1 stars
4/07/08 AJ Muller Comic pushed into motion; Perlman IS Hellboy. Utterly asskicking. 5 stars
12/12/07 Sil so in mimic Del Toro will make ou sleepy, now he's a wizard? make your mind up fucker 4 stars
11/13/07 Elizabeth Palladino Just like the original comic, the true story is completely in the subtext. Brilliant! 5 stars
10/09/07 breastman I like the look of the sammeal demons.Wish I owned the actual costume for my collection 4 stars
9/13/07 vaib Its a spectacular film 4 stars
7/08/07 Jubei Gets good towards the end but still an average movie for a so-so character. 3 stars
6/20/07 johnnyfog A serviceable, ok movie. Better than Superman Returns 4 stars
5/15/07 Tracey Chambers not the greatest movie but better than most comic book movies 4 stars
3/17/07 E Kennedy great watch and can,t wait for the sequeal 5 stars
12/24/06 David Pollastrini boring, dull, etc. 1 stars
12/08/06 Stanley Thai A great film with good acting, a good story, great SPFX, and even more! 4 stars
8/10/06 Dragon The Artist Pretty good for a popcorn flick;A comic book flick, but barely worth owning. 4 stars
7/02/06 Adrian Entertainment joy. 5 stars
3/25/06 Indrid Cold Great visuals + OK action + a story that makes no sense = average 3 stars
11/23/05 Quigley directing is stylish and acting all right, but the story is downright awful along with CG 1 stars
9/14/05 matt great characters, enjoyable but some cheesy effects and kinda predictable 3 stars
8/18/05 ES Not that good, left with blah feeling afterward 2 stars
7/20/05 Sir Dude Stop making comic book movies. They don't all work, idiots! This one sucks! 1 stars
6/25/05 Eric Rollins Hell of a good time! 5 stars
6/16/05 Cheryl Free Pretty cool. I always like seeing comic books turned into movies. 4 stars
6/09/05 b landers Could have done without it. 2 stars
6/07/05 Darcy They could have done so much more.... 2 stars
5/27/05 Jake Awesome. Just as great as the Punisher movie 5 stars
4/21/05 Colleen Goldrick Entertaining 4 stars
4/01/05 failingloser total crap 1 stars
3/04/05 Jon Smith Pretty Bad! 2 stars
2/19/05 Edler Ok, but nothing special. Pretty confusing story also. 3 stars
2/02/05 axe pretty cool, but what's the deal with fire marshall bill in the S&M gear? 4 stars
12/23/04 Vince Entertaining, although drags a bit at times. Better than I expected. 4 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams surprisingly good 5 stars
11/17/04 Elizabeth Palladino Not just one of the best comic book adaptations ever, but one of the best films ever made. 5 stars
11/16/04 Littlepurch Bloody hell (pun there!) how can anyone say anything good about this movie?!?!?!? 1 stars
11/06/04 michaelb14 meyers:what the hell is that thing, hellboy: let me go ask 4 stars
11/03/04 mike im with dave 1 stars
10/29/04 dave id rather watch a romantic comedy with sum pussy in it 1 stars
10/23/04 Hilary Adamson Selma Blair's downward spiral continues from DOWN TO YOU&GUY THING. See VAN HELSING instead 2 stars
10/22/04 T a fine example of a director/fan combo shooting an enjoyable movie 4 stars
10/19/04 Al Guy Very entertaining. Good humor too. 4 stars
10/17/04 Elisheva Rison Hellboy is what X-men should have been, so this movie is greater than great! And funny! 5 stars
10/15/04 eugene HELLfucking crap this movie sux the balls of hellboy himself 1 stars
10/14/04 Jack Bourbon Stupid garbage crap crap. Stinkbomb if there ever was one. 1 stars
9/24/04 Eric I was never a Hellboy fan, this has changed that. 5 stars
9/21/04 Benjamin Spicher Great Character, nice movie. 4 stars
9/09/04 Daveman Visually impressive, but its array of outlandish ideas never seem to gel. 3 stars
9/08/04 JeffK Enjoyable, fun movie. 4 stars
8/31/04 Jack What a disjointed, nonsensical movie. Man did it suck. 1 stars
8/28/04 capitalbliss I loved Hellboy, didn't think I would but it's been my favourite movie this year so far. 5 stars
8/28/04 alien assassin This beats the pants off Van Helsing !!!! 4 stars
8/28/04 Tristynn I loved this movie. I laughed, I cried.. I felt every feeling possible... wonderful 5 stars
8/28/04 Al Guy Excellent costumes and make up. Very good movie. 4 stars
8/26/04 tatum Ending way too hurried 4 stars
8/17/04 Dean Enjoyable, less pc crap than most Hollywood super hero stuff 4 stars
8/16/04 Dallas Moye Decent 4 stars
8/07/04 elmanre i only have to say one thing,this movie has the coolest looking villain of all time,kroenen 5 stars
8/02/04 Phil M. Aficionado Ummmm .... "meh" (Thanks, Bryan McKay) 3 stars
7/29/04 American Slasher Goddess Very good comic book adapation, Perlman rules as Hellboy. 4 stars
7/25/04 Pure RAGE... Selma Blair is hot in this, great acting but needed a better script 5 stars
7/12/04 "Meth Lab" for Dummies Not bad, a few plot holes, Selma Blair (*HOT*) & NEEDS A SEQUEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
6/01/04 James Kustes This is a pretty good comic book movie 4 stars
5/20/04 Jeff S cheesy acting with just so so acting. 2 stars
5/14/04 mark Louis Baumgart I laughed, I cried, I wet my pants, what a ride. A just plain fun movie. 5 stars
5/08/04 Anus 1 1/2 hours of this moron fighting Sammel. WTF. 1 stars
5/07/04 Ross Me and the kids enjoyed this movie. 4 stars
4/30/04 Andrew Rosenberg somewhat confusing but Perleman is great! 4 stars
4/30/04 travis weatherhead that movie was so awesome i cant stop watching it the only thing it needs is more monsters. 5 stars
4/25/04 HorrorScribbler Very comic-booky adaptation (good for me, bad for wife.) 4 stars
4/23/04 CATHY WEL ITS SO!!!NICE MOVIE!!!IT QUITE SCARY!!!! 5 stars
4/20/04 YeahBoi Perlman heart of story 4 stars
4/18/04 Alex It has action, romance and comedy. This is a fun movie for everyone. 4 stars
4/18/04 vagile yawnfest 1 stars
4/17/04 kingchris5000 the plot was garbage except for the mean big red machine(ron Perlman of corse 3 stars
4/17/04 Steve Stupid eye candy with no redeeming qualities. Gives the comic-based movie genre a bad name 1 stars
4/15/04 Jeff MacIver Bloody good fun. The characters were pitch perfect . 5 stars
4/14/04 Jose Luis Cantu Guillermo doesn't disappoint with this film. Hellboy rocks! 4 stars
4/14/04 malcolm ron perlman was cool, as usual. i'd like to see him in more roles, w/o prosthetics. 3 stars
4/13/04 Darren Shea Possibly the most faithful comic-book-to-screen adaptation, ever. Fun from start fo finish. 5 stars
4/12/04 jarsch This movie rocked! Lovecraftian horror and cheesy, one-liner sci-fi rule. 5 stars
4/12/04 Kzoo_gal Perlman was perfect! 5 stars
4/11/04 Wildcarde1 Alot of fun not as much action as i expected but great humor and fun 4 stars
4/11/04 Anus 2 hours of Helloby fighting Sammel? What kind of shit is this? 3 stars
4/11/04 DM Not great, but a faithful and funny adaptation of a great comic book 4 stars
4/10/04 jcjs fun, awesome, loved it, lighten up, better than x-men, as good as 'Men in Black' 5 stars
4/10/04 Gobsmack I was expecting worse, I guess.... 4 stars
4/08/04 AntBee It Blows 1 stars
4/08/04 George Jung A pointless crock of shit. 2 stars
4/07/04 Christina utter shit 1 stars
4/07/04 Jean F. Pouliot Thought it was good 4 stars
4/07/04 NoRefill Don't go in with high expectations and you will enjoy the movie. 3 stars
4/07/04 Cameron Slick Fun, engaging lasting ride with some interesting characters in a nice-looking adaptation. 4 stars
4/06/04 Duckman Perlman delivers the goods. 4 stars
4/06/04 blaise A good comic ruined by continuity and poor writing 2 stars
4/05/04 Billmz A poor derivative of Ghostbusters, X-Men and Men in Black. 2 stars
4/05/04 Michaelb14 "it's my job" perlman is great is as the reluctant smartass hero 5 stars
4/05/04 Lord Jiggy enjoyable, but too much time thumping the same "monster," 4 stars
4/05/04 Titus Fun, but not great. I wouldn't pay full price for it. 3 stars
4/05/04 Mina This movie does not take itself serious, neither should you. 3 stars
4/04/04 Morally Sound Great fun at the movies. Hellboy is an adventure like no other. 4 stars
4/03/04 Vicious Excellent comic adaptation, as loyal to the comic as it should be, and great film. 5 stars
4/03/04 Wolf Very fun movie. I even cried a little at the end. 5 stars
4/03/04 Zefram Mann Wow, great stuff. Perlman manages to really act under all that makeup. 4 stars
4/03/04 Jon Great popcorn flick! 4 stars
4/03/04 Lord Chu Awesome, exciting fun. Don't mess w/ HB! 5 stars
4/03/04 AfroFett Fun, fun movie! Summer starts early this year! 4 stars
4/03/04 da hood horseshit! 1 stars
4/02/04 Brian i was honestly surprised 5 stars
3/30/04 Ganny The movie lives up to the wonderful comic 5 stars
3/30/04 Dr. Collosus Uber-cool 5 stars
3/28/04 Ray Good as hell !!! 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Apr-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 19-Oct-2004

UK
  02-Sep-2004 (12A)

Australia
  19-Aug-2004 (M)




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