003797Reviews & Counting
DVD disk
10.05.2004 By: Indiana Sev
Hellboy order
Guillermo Del Toro

Ron Perlman
Selma Blair
John Hurt


star Printer-Friendly version
It's 1944 and a little red creature just got transported into our world when one of Hitler’s brass’ maniacal occult experiments went wrong. Fast-forward to 60 years later and the cute little hellbaby with a powerful stone hand has become a government funded crime-fighting Hellboy (in his twenties now) in New York City. Unlike other super heroes, this hip bad-ass smokes cigars, loves candy bars and nachos and is hung up on a firestarter played by Selma Blair. Based on the Dark Horse comic book.
Forget about asking whether this is a "good movie”...this is a great movie! If you’re itching for escapist fun that doesn’t delve too deep into the cliché or completely absurd, then dig into Hellboy and watch him and his sidekick Abe Sapien as they fight versus Nazi scumbags that refuse to give up their tired dream of world destruction. Hellboy’s ‘father’ is played brilliantly by actor John Hurt; who after playing in such classics as THE ELEPHANT MAN and MIDNIGHT EXPRESS still has the good sense to take a role in a fun comic book adaptation like this. What makes the character of Hellboy even more interesting is that he doesn’t take himself too seriously (he often cracks wise) and has insecurities like anybody else does - stone hand, horns or not. His main purpose, besides punishing the Nazi maniacs, is trying to win the love and acceptance of another ‘freak”-- Liz Sherman (Blair), a human with the ability to manipulate fire.

Of course, the main worry nowadays when it comes to comic book flicks is if the CGI is legit or poorly done. I’d give a thumbs up to them on this one, the only real noticeable effects are with the otherworldly creatures and even they aren’t done too badly. The character of Hellboy isn’t CGI and if this make-up and costume job doesn’t at least get an Oscar nomination at next year’s Academy awards, I’m taking a flamethrower to the Kodak Theatre! Perlman does an outstanding job showing the different layers to Hellboy - the sad, sweet and the sourpuss sides and it just makes me anticipate the second chapter to this great series all the more. Del Toro does a commendable job keeping the pace in the movie quick, yet not too dizzying. If that weren’t enough, there's also a solid message mixed in there somewhere about what makes somebody a ‘man’. Hellboy 2 is set to be released in 2006 and I’m certain you’ll be joining me in line right after you see this red devil superhero kick the living swastikas out of the bastards in this film. Enjoy…
This is a 2-disc Special Edition set.

Disc 1:

Video Introduction by Guillermo Del Toro: A short, but sweet, intro by the ultra-cool director Del Toro on what you can find on this special edition 2-disc set.

Creator Audio Commentary: Director Del Toro and executive producer and creator of the Hellboy comic books, Mike Mignola, share duties on this commentary track. As I said in my CRONOS review regarding Del Toro’s audio track for that film…Del Toro is the mack! Once again, this cool Mexican with his even cooler accent talks like a regular fan, excited and genuinely interested in discussing his latest film. Mike is a great addition as well, giving some great background info on the characters he created. Good stuff here!

Cast Audio Commentary: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor (Hank from THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW) and Rupert Evans join in on the fun on this second commentary track. Excellent track with all four actors genuinely happy to be there and enjoying one another’s company. Selma comes off pretty cute in it and I’ll be damned if Ron and Jeffrey don’t sound exactly alike at times.

Branching DVD Comics drawn by Mike Mignola: This feature allows you to access some comics drawn by Mignola and new stories written by Del Toro whenever a comic book icon appears on screen. A great idea for picky and passionate fans!

“Right Hand of Doom” Set Visits: Same deal as the above feature except this time when an icon appears you get transferred to a set visit that happened during that scene.

Storyboard Track: You activate this feature and you get to see the storyboards drawn for the film in direct correlation with the actual scene.

“From the Den” Hellboy recommends…Gerald McBoing Boing animated shorts: One of these cartoons was featured in the film so they’ve added 4 full-length versions of it on the DVD. This is very odd and trippy stuff.

DVD-ROM: This includes a printable original screenplay, the script supervisor’s book and the director’s notebook.

Disc 2:

Video Introduction by Selma Blair: Cutie-pie Blair lets us in on what to expect and where to find the features on the second disc.

Documentary “Hellboy: The Seeds of Creation”: Okay, this is 2 ½ hours long. You will discover every single detail of the world of Hellboy, from its origins as a comic book to the big screen. I have to give major props to Del Toro and the folks at Columbia pictures for giving fans of Hellboy such a beautiful, precise and intricate behind-the-scenes look into the film. From stunts to effects to comments from the filmmakers, if you liked the movie, you will become a bigger fan after watching this super cool documentary.

Deleted Scenes: 3 fairly short deleted scenes with optional commentary by the director. The only one that’s sort of interesting is “Cab Ride” which follows Liz and John in their cab ride from the institution to their headquarters.

Filmographies and Character Biographies: These character bios are very cool. This feature has some comic book illustrated (or text) bios of the characters from the film, all written by the director! You get a little more background of the people from the film in an extremely original way.

Kroenen’s Lair: Choosing this section gives you all the storyboard, animatic and board-a-matic comparisons you’ll need with the film. This stuff doesn’t interest me, but it should be a vital feature to screen for all young directors out there.

Maquette 3-D Character Sculptures Video Gallery: This is yet another cool extra for all you die-hard fanboys out there. Video sculptures that can be viewed from many angles featuring six characters from the film you can choose from. The baby hellboy one is damn sweet.

We also get Theatrical Trailers and TV Spots, the Print Campaign and Previews.
Buy it! This double-disc DVD set has everything Hellboy you’d want and more. I’d even take a chance and blind-buy this baby if I were you. It’s unlikely to disappoint anybody that still likes to escape into the world of comic books without being subjected to the corniness and infantile ways others have gone to in the past. Yes, Joel Schumacher that was directed at you!
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