Hellboy (2004)

To prepare you for the new version, here’s my review of the original

The new “Hellboy” is coming to theaters this Friday, and in order to compare and contrast with it, why don’t I show you my review of the original one from 2004?

Director Guillermo del Toro directs this adaptation of Mike Mignola’s graphic novel, and everything about this is visually stunning. It features one fascinating looking creature and demon after another, and it never condescends on the Sci-Fi genre.

The movie begins in 1944 when a Nazi experiment to open up another dimension kills the German group and the Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin (Karel Roden), and an infant demon comes to this world. The scientist Trevor Bruttenholm (Kevin Trainer as the young version, and John Hurt as the elderly one) adopts him with the name “Hellboy.” And ever since, he has been the basis of a comic book series and a mysterious figure that lurks in the dark. But honestly, he has to kick some monster ass.

Ron Perlman stars as Hellboy, who loves his Baby Ruths, wisecracks, and cigars, as much as he loves killing demons. He has a right hand made of stone, a tail which can grab a case of beer from a kissing couple, and snapped-off horns. He’s obviously the star of the show with his red make-up and dialogue.

His allies in the secret government organization, known as the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) also consist of the amphibian man Abe Sapien (played by Doug Jones and voiced by an unbilled David Hyde Pierce), named after Abraham Lincoln; the newbie FBI agent John Myer (Rupert Evans), who needs to process Hellboy’s occupation; and Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), a firestarter, who’s hated her fiery powers ever since childhood.

Meanwhile, Rasputin gets resurrected, and has plans to begin the apocalypse. He also has two assistants: the blonde Nazi scientist Ilsa Haupstein (Bridget Hodson), and the gas mask-wearing and blade-slashing Karl Rupert Kroenen (Ladislav Beran). Every Kornen moment looks great, and the artistry paints him like a picture.

I didn’t understand every demonic detail in “Hellboy,” but I still caught enough to be entertained. It has comedy, drama, and action, all guided by Guillermo del Toro. Thanks to Perlman, I’m looking at a Hellboy with guts and glory. And Blair, Evans, and Hurt provide some fine supporting work.

The visuals, make-up, and set designs are beyond fascinating. They’re given details, convincing us they’re demons and not CGI creatures; and they’re drawn to complexion. Slime, blood, scales, and stone-all crafted on a fine PG-13 level.

This is one of the most ambitious fantasy films of any generation.

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

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