"All we freaks
have is each other"
Rescued from the aftermath of a Nazi experiment during the
Second World War, Hellboy (Perlman) is raised by Professor Trevor 'Broom'
Bruttenholm (Hurt) in US, becoming a key Agent in the Bureau for Paranormal
Research and Defence. Sixty years later the threat is back as the same evil
returns to reclaim the Earth for the forces of darkness. Now it is up to
Hellboy and his fellow members of the BPRD, telepathic Mer-Man Abe Sapien
(Hyde Pierce), the pyrokinetic Liz Sherman (Blair) and rookie FBI agent
John Myers (Evans) to stop them before they start the apocalypse.
What comic book movies need are a director, cast and crew
that are passionate about the character and the material. Hellboy gets just
Writer/director Guillermo del Toro and his team bring Mike
Mignola's cult comic to life and they do it with respect for the material
and a real passion for the character. Fans will rejoice at seeing there
beloved characters brought so vividly to life by some of the best makeup
and visual effects to ever grace the genre. This is all backed up by a character
driven plot that allows Hellboy virgins to discover the characters and backstory
and hardened fans the chance to see their favourite heroes brought to life.
In a refreshing approach, the story is punctuated by action
sequences. This makes a chance from the usual Hollywood stance that the
plot should only be a small vehicle to takes you to the next big expensive
action sequence. The story itself covers everything from reincarnation,
destiny, unrequited love, duty and the power of evil, all packaged with
some entertaining dialogue and the underlying message of fitting in. While
it does seems to lose a little of its essence in the finale, making way
for the big confrontation, the script is solid throughout and above all,
Bringing this entertaining script to life is an excellent
ensemble cast. John Hurt brings some class to the proceedings as Professor
Trevor 'Broom' Bruttenholm. He is the man behind the BPRD and surrogate
father to Hellboy. This is the kind of character that Hurt excels in by
breathing life into a role that is pivot to the story. Rupert Evans is good
as rookie John Myers, the man been groomed by the elderly Professor as his
replacement. For people discovering the characters, you are seeing the world
of Hellboy through his innocent eyes and Evans's performance reflects this
perfectly. Salma Blair continues to add to her reputation as an actress
to watch. As the troubled Liz Sherman the character is riddled with guilt
as the demons from her past threaten to consume her. Blair portrays this
angst superbly, as you really believe that she can't control the power that
the character possesses.
It is Ron Perlman who steals the show however. A character
actor who you'll recognise but never put a name to, Perlman gets the chance
to shine as the anti-hero who just wants to be accepted into society. The
role brings out the best in the actor as he delivers Hellboy's trademark
one-liners and putdowns with great comic timing. This is the character that
Perlman will be known for but as Hellboy, he probably won't mind at all.
No stranger to the genre, director Guillermo del Toro (Blade
II) weaves a pattern of technical delights to create Hellboy's universe.
The makeup effects by Rick Baker and his team are some of his best work,
even by his illustrious standards. The Abe Sapien and Kroenen makeups are
astounding. The digital effects are also first rate, especially when Hellboy
takes on the many monsters of the piece. But it the way that del Toro brings
all of this together to produce a classic comic book movie that makes Hellboy
such an enjoyable experience for fans and newcomers to the characters alike.
Hellboy is another fine example of how a comic book movie
should be made. With great characters, a riveting, vibrant script and a
director, cast and crew that are truly passionate about the concept, Hellboy
is a franchise in the making. Expect to see more of Big Red.
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen with a Dolby Digital
5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is very good, as you'd expect from a modern
movie. The picture quality is first rate, bringing Hellboy's world to life
and highlighting the fantastic cinematography and visual effects. The sound
quality is also extremely good, especially during the energetic action sequences.
Introduction (0.25 mins)
Director Guillermo del Toro introduces the first disc of Hellboy and outlines
the features on the DVD. There is also a hidden Easter egg where he apologises
for how poor the intro was, which is very funny.
Creator Commentary: Guillermo del Toro and Mike Mignola
This chatty and fun commentary comes from two people who have a real passion
for the movie and the material. The screenwriter/director and the creator
of Hellboy outline the differences between the comic world and the world
created for the movie, revealing the differences in the settings, characters
and relationships. The both talk about the look of the film with Mignola
revealing how much influence he had in the look and feel of the film and
del Toro outlines how big a resource the graphic novels were on the movie.
This is an extremely good commentary track from two people devoted to Hellboy.
Cast Commentary: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Jeffery Tambor
and Rupert Evans
This extremely funny and very chatty commentary track comes from a cast
that you can tell, really enjoyed working on the movie. All four reveal
how they got involved in the film and each of them talk about their characters.
Ron Perlman talks about the lengthy makeup process he had to go through
for the part and they all talk about working in the Czech Republic. This
is a fun and chatty commentary from a group of people who really enjoyed
working together and the characters they portrayed.
Written by Guillermo del Toro and drawn by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola,
these mini, onscreen comics outline information about 'Ragnarok: The Gate
of the Dragon', 'Abe Sapien', 'The Samaritan', 'Hellboy's belt: The Talisman's',
'Hellboy's scrapbook', 'Rasputin: A short Biography' and 'Kroenen'. They
can be viewed individually or at strategic times during the movie.
'The Right Hand of Doom' set visits (18.26 mins)
These eight behind the scenes featurettes entitled 'Abbey Ruins', 'Broom's
Office', 'Machen Library Alley', 'Subway Station', 'Subway Tunnels', 'Kroenen's
Lair', 'Egg Chamber' and 'Catacombs', show you the preparation and work
that goes into producing a scene. They can be viewed individually or at
strategic times during the movie. Storyboard Track Activate this option
and Simeon Wilkins' storyboards for certain scenes will be displayed during
'From the Den' Hellboy Recommends…
Entitled 'Gerald McBoing Boing' 'Gerald McBoing! Boing! on Planet Moo',
'How now Boing! Boing!' and 'The Tell-Tale Heart', this is your chance to
watch the cartoons that are playing in Hellboy's den.
Introduction (0.32 mins)
Star Selma Blair introduces the second disc of Hellboy and outlines the
features on the DVD.
Deleted Scenes (4.28 mins)
With optional commentary by Guillermo del Toro, these three deleted scenes
entitled 'Breaking the Ice Wall', 'Cab ride' and 'Russian Warehouse' add
little to the movie and two of them, in short incantations, make it into
the director's cut of the movie (Hopefully released in the UK later in 2005).
Documentary (2hrs 22.53 mins)
Writer/Director Guillermo del Toro, Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, producers
Lloyd Levin and Mike Richardson, makeup effects supervisor Mike Elizade,
production designer Stephen Scott, director of photography Guillermo Navarro,
stunt coordinator Monty Simons, sound designer Steve Boeddeker, costume
designer Wendy Partridge and stars Ron Perlman, John Hurt, Selma Blair,
Rupert Evans and Doug Jones take you through pre-production, principle photography
and post-production for Hellboy. Split into 40 parts, the documentary covers
every aspect of the film's production including adapting the comic book,
creating the look of the film, casting and creating characters, makeup effects,
visual effects, computer generated effects, sound creation and costume design.
All of these accompanied by behind the scenes footage and interviews with
the cast and crew involved in the covered aspects. This is fascinating material
for a film enthusiast, as it covers every aspect of a major film's production.
Filmographies & Character Biographies
You chance to read biographies for writer/director Guillermo del Toro, Hellboy
creator Mike Mignola, producers Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Mike Richardson
and Patrick Palmer, composer Marco Beltrami and stars Ron Perlman, Selma
Blair, John Hurt, Rupert Evans, Jeffery Tambor and Karel Roden.
Scene Progression: Ogdru Jahad (1.43 mins)
With an introduction by writer/director Guillermo del Toro, this shows you
the different design elements that come together to complete a scene.
With an introduction by writer/director Guillermo del Toro you can watch
the combination of animated storyboards and computer animation for the scenes
'Hellboy & Sammael (Westside street)', 'Hellboy & Sammael (Subway), 'Hellboy
& Abe (Underwater chamber) and 'Behemoth'
With an introduction by writer/director Guillermo del Toro, you can watch
a comparison between the animated storyboards and final footage for 'B.P.R.D.
lift', 'Bellamie Hospital', 'The Bridge', 'Hellboy (Roof top)' and 'Supported
Your chance to compare the storyboards and the finished footage, either
on screen or individually (using your 'Angle' button) for the scenes 'Ragnarok',
'Machen Library', 'Hellboy & Sammael (Subway platform), 'The Corpse' and
a hidden comparison. Marquette Video Gallery View the pre-production Marquette
designs for 'Baby Hellboy', 'Abe Sapien', 'Sammael', 'Ogdru Jahad', 'The
Corpse' and 'Behemoth'
Theatrical Trailers & TV Spots
Your chance to watch the two theatrical trailers and nine TV spots used
to promote Hellboy.
Your chance to view the different posters designed for the promotional campaign
and the final ones that where chosen.
Previews of Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, Boa
vs. Python, Frankenfish and Spider-Man 2.
A great superhero movie gets a fantastic DVD treatment from
Columbia/Tristar. Every aspect of the film's production is covered in the
extensive extras and Hellboy fans should rejoice. When you add in the two
excellent commentary tracks, you have an exceptional example of how a 2-disc
DVD set should be produced. This is a must buy for all Hellboy fans and
hopefully we will also get the Director's Cut of the film that was released
in the US.
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