Media Relations: media commentary and criticism

Saturday, April 03, 2004


-- film -- hellboy (a quick take review)

Went to see Hellboy tonight. Highly recommended. If you're a fan of the comic, it works, and if you've never read it before, you won't be lost, because they start at the beginning. In fact, they give him a somewhat different history altogether, smushing together "Seed of Destruction", "Wake the Devil", and a teensy bit of "The Corpse" and coming up with some new backstory as well. That sounds like it shouldn't work, but it does.

There are a couple mild quibbles. Trying to sell Ron Perlman as a 20-year-old anything, demon or human, is simply not going to fly, even when he's covered in red makeup. (Although I will say that for someone who's 54, he's in phenomenal shape.) And the fact that they made Rasputin actually kind of sexy was somewhat disconcerting. Plus there's the whole thing with the mallet, which should have produced something more in the way of injury. (You'll know it when you see it.)

Ebert mostly gets it right, except for the part where he misses (1) a minor plot point that they are, in fact, very careful to explain in the first ten minutes of the movie, and (2) the entire plot, apparently. (He complains about a shift in the action which happens to occur when the characters are unconscious, which would allow villains to do what they will, one would think; you can also only make that particular complaint if you've missed a few not-terribly-subtle statements along the way, including one about how the abilities of one of the characters work to produce said unconsciousness.

Nonetheless, Ebert is right in that it's loads of fun, and everyone should go see it so that del Toro and Mignola can make another one.

I do warn you, however: if you're even vaguely considering getting a cat, this will be a difficult movie to watch. Cats and utterly, desperately adorable kittens everywhere. (I'm pretty sure they must have just rolled Ron Perlman in cod liver oil at some point, given the way the cats looooooooove him. Either that, or he's violently allergic.) And it is quite violent ... although astonishingly bloodless about its violence; there's one quite deliberately bloody scene, and that's about it.

(UPDATE, April 5: Hellboy wins its opening week box office with $23 million. Since it only cost $35-$50 million to make (depending on whose figures you read, and that low cost is a true shocker), even with the normal 50% or so dropoffs in the second and third week, it should make back production costs, at least. Unfortunately, unless it somehow sustains itself around $20 million per week for a while, it doesn't look to head over $100 million, which would likely ensure a second movie. Ah well. A good first one is really more than you can expect, these days, and it was that. )

Posted by iain at 04:21 PM in category film , quick take reviews , things comickal