More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

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


Latest Reviews

Fortress, The (2017) by Jay Seaver

MFA by Jay Seaver

You Only Live Once by Jay Seaver

November (2017) by Jay Seaver

Friendly Beast by Jay Seaver

Foreigner, The (2017) by Jay Seaver

Tom of Finland by Rob Gonsalves

Happy Death Day by Jay Seaver

78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene by Jay Seaver

Death Note: Light Up the New World by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


Hellboy
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Mel Valentin

"An unexpected misfire from a talented genre filmmaker."
3 stars

"Hellboy," "Hellboy," "Hellboy," where did you go wrong? Let me count the ways: CGI-heavy/dependent action set pieces left me on the sidelines, emotionally unengaged with the characters or the action. For me, CGI set pieces are just scrambled pixels, no one, let alone a stuntman standing in for a lead actor, is at any risk at any time. Consequently, CGI set pieces are devoid of tension or suspense, lacking emotional identification with the characters and their individual or collective circumstances. CGI-set pieces aren’t analogous to playing a video game (which misses the point of video games, which are all about identification and emotional engagement with on screen avatars), but with watching someone else playing a video game.

That was, in a nutshell, Hellboy. Too many CGI-set pieces, including a misguided, misconceived climax (featuring the Hellboy's “Right Hand of Doom” vs. the “Giant CGI Squid Monster of Despair,” a monster straight out of the justly maligned Deep Rising, but just as likely inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's fiction). Story? Some convoluted mess about portals, resurrection hellhounds, Nazis (yes, Nazis: the overlong prologue reminded me of the climax of Raiders of the Lost Ark), Rasputin, the mad Russian monk somehow allying himself with the Nazis, and well, another near-apocalypse (something we’ve seen far too many times on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer or Angel). No surprise then that the combination of all of these by now tired genre elements did little for me. Entertained? No, more like looking at my watch.

Don't get me wrong, Hellboy wasn't all bad. It did have the occasional inventive visual or composition (e.g., the nighttime conversation between Hellboy and Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) in a winter garden); Ron Perlman perfectly cast as Hellboy, using one of his greatest assets as an actor, his voice, to full, plaintive effect; the stabs at humor, which sometimes worked, and sometimes fell flat (e.g., the overuse of the phrase "Aw, crap" comes to mind); the portrayal of Hellboy as a disaffected, neurotic and lovelorn misfit, an outsider (yes, like the X-Men), more "human," more flawed than the other human characters in the film.

Now, I'm not even a casual fan of the Hellboy comic book, but I've flipped through it at the local comic book store, and pronounced it "cool" looking. I did grow up as a solid comic book/graphic novel fan, however, and felt Hellboy would, at minimum, give me a nostalgic vibe. The comments from fans of the Hellboy comic book are telling: even if the overall story arc wasn't compelling, there were enough visualized elements drawn from the series that del Toro put on screen for them to enjoy. Another filmgoer mentioned the piggybacking corpse sequence that was apparently lifted straight from the comic book; it's just too bad del Toro didn’t include more macabre humor strategically interspersed throughout his film.

I generally don’t have a problem with CGI per se, just the overdependence on every plot turn, every act climax, on a CGI-effects driven scene, where Hellboy is often relegated to just pixels on the screen. With X-Men, Bryan Singer complained publicly about not having enough money to fully visualize the set pieces in the first film (the success of X-Men led, of course, to a bigger budget, and bigger set-pieces). He was forced to work within the limitations of the budget, and the end result was a solid, highly enjoyable first film. Even with the bigger budget/bigger effects present in the second X-Men film, Singer still kept his characters front and center, not buried beneath a mountain of makeup or special effects (and CGI monsters).

Hopefully, del Toro will take my advice and go in the opposite direction, not toward bigger budgets, but smaller ones, where story problems can't be solved with another EFX set piece, but with a renewed emphasis on plot and characters at the center of the action. In other words, del Toro should direct another "Chronos" or "The Devil's Backbone."

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=9069&reviewer=402
originally posted: 06/05/05 08:19:14
[printer] printer-friendly format  

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!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  02-Apr-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 19-Oct-2004

UK
  02-Sep-2004 (12A)

Australia
  19-Aug-2004 (M)




Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast