Movie Poster
Guillermo del Toro
Ron Perlman, John Hurt, Selma Blair, Rupert Evans, Karel Roden, Jeffery Tambor
125 min.


With Hellboy doing well at the box office (and The Punisher not yet tanking), one wonders how long the glut of comic book movies will continue. Hopefully long enough for the studios to get around to botching a Johnny The Homicidal Maniac: The Movie.

Until then, we've got Hellboy, the sass-talking, cigar-chomping, badguy-killing, plays-by-his-own-set-of-hules hero ofthe movie that bears his name. What separates Hellboy from a thousand other films that fit the same description is that they fight supernatural bad guys: a cavalcade of Lovecraft-esque demons. And Hellboy himself is a demon (this spells internal conflict), raised by humans.

The story is weak, but it's really incidental, serving (comic-book style) only as an excuse for the action and the characters. Both of which are pretty solid. It becomes apparent while watching Hellboy that it is more about the characters than it is about what they do. The demon killing plot turns out just to be around to add drama to the love-interest plot, instead of the other way around. That having been said, it's kind of disappointing that Selma Blair and the Other Man are not afforded more (or less blandly industry-standard) development. That time is instead devoted to Hellboy's sass. And, boy, has he got sass. Hellboy has sass in places most superheroes haven't even heard of (He calls one of the demons "Stinky"!) (Twice!). The problem is that half of the time it is funny and the other half of the time you can practically smell the panel of clammy bespectacled screenwriters (sweet mother of Jesus I hate people with glasses) nervously studying a Power Point of focus group findings and desparately trying to inject 50% more attitude.

But the closing credits are real nice: big orange-tinted block letters. Classy.

The overall impression Hellboy left me with was a sort of H.P. Lovecraft meets Lilo and Stitch. Which I have neither read nor seen.

Pat Jackson