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: 22.56%
Worth A Look40.51%
Average: 16.92%
Pretty Bad: 11.28%
Total Crap: 8.72%

13 reviews, 117 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Hal by Jay Seaver

I, Origins by Greg Ursic

Boyhood by Daniel Kelly

Uzumasa Limelight by Jay Seaver

Goal of the Dead by Jay Seaver

Yasmine by Jay Seaver

Mr. Go by Jay Seaver

Hercules (2014) by Brett Gallman

Wish I Was Here by Jaycie

Predestination by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


Hellboy
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Rob Gonsalves

"See it for Perlman, but del Toro is capable of better."
4 stars

Ron Perlman has made a career out of projecting humanity through latex -- the closest he's come to mainstream stardom was his starring role on TV's 'Beauty and the Beast' -- and 'Hellboy' could almost be his doctoral thesis.

Carrying a $66 million fantasy-adventure, Perlman, at age 53, strides in like a hungry young actor itching to prove something, only with 22 years of experience lending him charisma and confidence. It's a star-making performance, full of surly wit and understated pathos, and should qualify him for high-profile roles without make-up (I still remember with pleasure his unadorned work in 1995's The Last Supper).

Aside from Perlman, Hellboy is a fun if rather cluttered affair. As directed by Guillermo del Toro, it's a bottomless bowl of eye candy, but you know what they say about too much candy. Del Toro, a genuinely gifted filmmaker, has shown us two faces: In his native Mexico, he crafts subtle and original horror dramas (Cronos, The Devil's Backbone); in Hollywood, he has a little too much fun with the pricey toys (Blade II and the abortive Mimic, which its studio Miramax diddled with). Hellboy falls somewhere in between -- it has moments of inspiration, and you can feel del Toro's glee at working on a large-scale comic-book canvas. Still, I prefer del Toro's smaller works; it's the difference between a nice tray of sushi and a tub of popcorn -- both suit a particular mood, but del Toro prepares sushi too well to settle for popping popcorn.

Hellboy (Perlman) is a demon, brought here through an interdimensional portal during World War II and raised by paranormal expert Professor Bruttenholm (John Hurt); he works for the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, sniffing out otherworldly nasties and eliminating them. The idea, by way of Mike Mignola's comic book of the same name, smacks of a zillion movies (and comics), and the movie's plot -- Hellboy and various other BPRD recruits pursue the still-living Rasputin (Karel Roden) and his cohorts, who want to hand the world over to Lovecraftian evil gods -- is essentially unsurprising. The film unavoidably becomes a string of set pieces wherein Hellboy faces off against some many-tentacled monster or another, and there's much pulp-movie posturing (the bad guys aren't just occult villains, they're Nazis) and special-effects wizardry that might feel more magical if we didn't suspect the art had peaked with the Lord of the Rings series.

Del Toro also tries to make room for a love story between Hellboy (who, deep down, is a big softy -- he loves kittens, for instance, and seems to keep dozens of them in his quarters) and a pyrokinetic loner named Liz (Selma Blair, taking on the difficult task of playing a woman who's drugged out of most emotion for the bulk of the movie). A sequence in which Liz goes out for coffee with a BPRD newbie (Rupert Evans), while a jealous Hellboy hops from roof to roof following them, feels both necessary and unnecessary: It certainly doesn't move the plot (or what passes for it) forward, but it shows us a different side of Hellboy, particularly when he sits and listens, not especially patiently, to the advice of a nine-year-old boy on the subject of unrequited love.

Bits like that made me wish the whole movie could've been about Hellboy and Liz, and how their relationship might (or might not) work. Del Toro achieves a formidable lyricism towards the end, when the demon (who is fireproof) and the fiery woman join in a kiss, enveloped by pulsing blue flame. Most of Hellboy, though, is preoccupied with the stuff that too many fanboy dreams are made of -- bashing and explosions and spooky-nasty zombie Nazis with blades that cut through stone. Guillermo del Toro can do this stuff with more ease than many Hollywood hacks, but at some level it's still hackwork -- a Saturday-matinee escapist cruddiness compromises its power as a visionary fantasy.

Del Toro may be one of those directors who work better on lower budgets: 'Hellboy' at best is entertaining, but del Toro has been, and can be, more than a studio-financed magician pulling expensive rabbits out of expensive hats.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=9069&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/10/07 08:48:01
[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
7/19/07 Tyler Sciortino Ten tons of fun. 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
  N/A

Australia
  19-Aug-2004




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 1997-2014, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast