I haven’t read all of Mike Mignola’s cool comic books, Hellboy, but what I have read I’ve always enjoyed. The book has always been released as a series of mini-series or one shots, and Mike Mignola’s atmospheric art, while not really my thing, has always been dead on in bringing these interesting characters to light. But I have had issues with what I always refer to as “Lovecraftian” creatures. These would be creatures that are similar to creatures found in your typical H.P. Lovecraft story. They tend to have multiple eyes, and many, many appendages, most of which are tentacle like.
I’ve never been crazy about those kind of creatures.
But they abound in the comics.
Ditto, the movie.

I wanted to love Hellboy. I had been looking forward to it ever since I heard it was a possible movie, and I was even more hyped when I heard that it was gonna be Guillermo Del Toro at the helm. I totally loved his BLADE II, as well as his Spanish language ghost story, El Espinazo Del Diablo (The Devil’s Backbone). I think he is very talented, very passionate, and he obviously loves the source material.
I also LOVED the fact that he cast Ron Perlman in the lead role!
That was a gutsy move, because while Perlman’s a familiar face, he’s not your typical leading man. But these two have a rapport, evident in the fact that Perlman has now worked with Del Toro three times (Cronos, Blade II, and Hellboy). And Perlman was in fact, perfect for the role.
Quick back story. Hellboy emerges as a small, young demon from “Hell” through a portal. But because he is raised by the good guys at the good old B.P.R.D., he is a good guy. Even though he is a demon. A demon from Hell.
The movie basically relays the story from the first storyline of Hellboy’s, Seed Of Destruction, all about evil Nazi types, and their association with a resurrected Rasputin. It also throws in bits from other stories, such as a weird story called The Corpse, and the character of Liz Sherman, played by Selma Blair, and her association with Hellboy, is also vital to the movie.

I really enjoyed Perlman’s performance. He was very cool and very much the bad ass, but I don’t remember the character being such a cut up in the comics. But I guess if Del Toro portrayed him that way, it was for a reason. The direction overall was pretty cool, but it seemed that some of the special effects left something to be desired. They weren’t terrible, but I guess we’ve come to expect such perfection, that anything less than that stands out. Hellboy’s appearance was good, but close ups reminded you that you’re watching a movie, and that there was just a guy with a lot of make up and costuming standing there. Another character, Abraham Sapien, who’s like a fish man guy, he looked pretty cool, though not all that natural or real. He was portrayed by Doug Jones in the physical performance in the fish man costume, and voiced nicely by David Hyde Pierce. I would have liked for him to be in the film longer, but oh well.
Oh, and the great John Hurt, was as always, great.

Like I said, I really wanted to love Hellboy, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. The more I think of it, the better the movie seems as a faithful portrayal of the comic book…so maybe it’s the actual comics that I’m not all that crazy about?
I dunno. Maybe I’ll see the movie again. I do hope the movie succeeds. I want De Toro to be successful, because I know he’s got a lot of good things left to do.
I’d like Ron Perlman to get more work, because I dunno, he’s cool, and damn it, back in the day Beauty and The Beast was a pretty cool show!
And most importantly to me, I don’t want the “comic book movie” to go the way of the dinosaur. We need more and more, and we want better quality each time out.
We’ll see what happens with the upcoming Punisher flick, as well as the real test, Spiderman 2. If that one’s anywhere as big as the FIRST ONE, then the genre of comic book movies is safe for another couple of years. Besides, 2005 will bring us the already highly anticipated Batman Begins, and us fanboys are already drooling.