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April 2004

Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Director: Guillermo Del Toro
Producers: Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, & Mike Richardson
Screenwriters: Guillermo Del Toro & Mike Mignola
Cinematographer: Guillermo Navarro
Composer: Marco Beltrami
Cast: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, John Hurt, Jeffrey Tambor, Karel Roden, Rupert Evans, & Doug Jones


The thing with superhero characters that have been on the big screen already and why they are successful critically or financially is that the characters are worth responding to. Either the character is hugely established like Spiderman and Superman or storyline is well crafted like Blade. Hellboy falls in the middle of that but with good results. Pulse pounding with some comedic flair, Hellboy is an action adventure flick thatís entertaining for newcomers to the comic book genre. Guillermo Del Toro waited years to make this film because he wanted all the right elements to make the film work, and that included his choice of actors, and screenwriter, and producers. Well, his patience pays off to a winning combination.

Beginning in 1944 Scotland a group of Nazis are trying something new to aid in Hitlerís tyranny over the world. Some Americans GIs including Professor Bruttenholm (Hurt) attempt to stop the man known as Rasputin as he is about open the portal to Hell. They were able to stop him but not before a baby devil/ demon comes through and takes a like to a Baby Ruth candy bar. Raised by the Professor, the boy aka Hellboy stays in hiding from the public until immenent danger occurs. Along with other unnatural beings like Abe Sapien (Jones), an aquatic ìfish- boyî with telepathic powers and Liz Sherman, a pyrokentic, Hellboy has a team of friends to fight off creatures brought to light, which is the case when Rasputin somehow emerges from the dead and intends on making Hellboy fulfill his destiny and unleash mass destruction among Earth.

Guillermo Del Toro waited years to convince the powers that be that Perlman was his only choice to play Hellboy and he was right. Rather than cast a big name actor and have the film center around him, the film centers on the characters and Perlman does a great in making sure that Hellboy has a flawed personality. Heís comical, emotional, and never lets his fame get his way. Much like the character he played in TVís Beauty and the Beast, Perlman has injects a tender side to Hellboy that make his vulnerable yet aware of the situation. You gotta love the way his fondles his cats and drinks Red Bull. Having Mike Mignola as the screenwriter is a credit to the film because no one else would have been able to see the same vision thatís in the comic books. Guillermo, having done ìBlade 2î and ìMimicî is able to make the most of dark places and he does so again here with its Gothic look. With ìHellboyî, Del Toro puts in some dry humor not mostly seen in comic book films. Since the comic book is not as popular as Superman, Spiderman, or The Hulk, there needed to be a hook that separates Hellboy from the rest and the rest, and thatís sense of wisdom. Selma Blair brings to the film a sense of romance that punches up the storyline a bit. Every superhero needs a love interest be more human and Liz is it for Hellboy. As the only non-superhero close with Hellboy, Rupert Evans is somewhat bland in his first major role. Though his character doesnít have enough of a background, Evans doesnít do much to distinguish himself amongst the cast. As always, Rick Baker has done an amazing job with the make of Hellboy and the other creatures in the film.