Hellboy
Runtime: 2 h 2 min
Rated: PG-13
Released: 02 Apr 2004
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Guillermo del Toro
Actors: Ron Perlman, Doug Jones, Selma Blair, John Hurt
DVD release: 27 Jul 2004
Box Office: $59.0M
Company: Sony Pictures
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Tomato user meter: 65%
Tomato consensus: With wit, humor and Guillermo del Toro's fantastic visuals, the entertaining Hellboy transcends the derivative nature of the genre.

Hellboy

2004
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
A demon, raised from infancy after being conjured by and rescued from the Nazis, grows up to become a defender against the forces of darkness.
6.8IMDB
81%Rotten Tomatoes
    All subtitles
    TRAILER:
    REVIEWS:
    • One of the best comic book filmsTowards the end of World War II, the Nazis engage in efforts to win the war through means of invoking the paranormal. They attempt to open a "portal" for seven beings who are meant to invoke the apocalypse on Earth, but a U.S. Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense is on hand to stop them before they get too far. They do not stop them as quickly as they'd like, however, and the U.S. troops soon discover that a bizarre infant, part devil, part man, red, with horns and the demonic works, with a large right hand made of indestructible stone, has gotten through. They acquire the infant, we go forward in time to the late 20th Century, and most of the film concerns an adult Hellboy still working in conjunction with the U.S. government to help battle monsters and the paranormal.

      Hellboy was a 10 out of 10 for me, but there are a number of criteria for any viewer to have such a high opinion of it. One, even though director Guillermo del Toro is a big fan of the Hellboy comic books and many comments have been made by him, comic creator Mike Mignola and others that the film is faithful to the books, they've also said they've changed it to suit the context of the film, so you have to not be a purist about source material to screen translations (or current screen instantiations). Two, you have to have a taste for fantasy where the creators are not very concerned with making the material coherent with or plausible in the actual world. Three, you have to enjoy your fantasy both very dark (on the horror side) and humorous/sarcastic at the same time. Four, you have to like an epic, sprawling feel to your fantasy. And Five, you have to not hate cgi creatures. I meet all of those criteria. How many you meet will likely determine how well you'll like Hellboy.

      What worked best for me was the material that showed Hellboy, portrayed exquisitely by Ron Perlman, as just a regular guy cum sassy detective. Even though he's half demon, a large part of the comics, at least--and this is hinted at in the film, particularly in the climax--is a continual nature versus nurture "debate". He was raised by humans who were as normal as they could be, being government agents in a bureau dedicated to the paranormal. So he has a large number of human-like quirks, including a love of old music, beer, cats, pancakes, chili, and so on. He's also a cigar-smoking, smart-assed detective. Hellboy is at its best when it focuses on these characteristics.

      But everything else works well, too. Hellboy has a monster-like counterpart, Abe Sapien (Doug Jones), and a "freak" love interest, Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), who are almost as fascinating as he is. The villain and neutral creatures (such as the "half-creature" with a speaking role towards the end) are just as captivating. There are also other characters providing enjoyable comic relief, most notably Tom Manning (Jeffrey Tambor). His adopted father, Professor Trevor "Broom" Bruttenholm (John Hurt) is intriguing. And newly recruited "caretaker" John Myers (Rupert Evans) shows promise, even if we do not get to spend much time with him here. Like many films of this type, I'd love to see all of these characters further explored in prequels, sequels and spinoffs. That's a good sign, because it shows that del Toro and fellow writers Mignola and Peter Briggs have successfully conveyed a world with "deep" characters who have extensive histories.

      Also worth noting is the cinematography/lighting/production and set design, which is consistently beautiful, and ranges from the popular recent trend of more monochromatic textures (blue is the color of choice here), to the strong chiaroscuro of the comic books, to striking contrasts, such as a mostly monochromatic scene which is suddenly penetrated by a supersaturated red stream of blood. The sets are all engaging, from exteriors (one hilariously claimed to be in Newark, New Jersey) to interiors, urban to expansive countryside and even outer space environments.

      As for effects, which are a large part of the film, I can't for the life of me imagine someone claiming that cgi looks "fake" compared to mechanicals, practicals, stop motion (ala Harryhausen), and so on after they see this film. For my money, these are some of the most impressive cgi creations yet, including some great cgi fight scenes.

      Hellboy is captivating, suspenseful and humorous. It is well worth watching for anyone with a taste for fantasy.
      show full movie reviewsource10/10
    • Hell of a Movie!Alright, so seeing as how I'm comment #430, I don't imagine that anyone is going to read my review, or that anyone will be encouraged to watch Hellboy because of anything that I'll say. There are others who have written short novels on IMDb about what a great movie this is, so there's no point in me doing more of the same.

      Suffice it to say that this movie is beautifully shot, well acted (with the exception of the kid who plays the FBI agent) and directed by masterful Guillermo Del Toro with style and grace. It's not for everyone, and those who are fans of the comic will probably enjoy it more than your average moviegoer. But if you like movies like The Crow or Darkman, this one is right down your dark little alley.
      show full movie reviewsource7/10
    • Hellboy, not perfect, but entertaining.Let's be blunt, the movie is, in essence, a little lumbering and flawed and has a rather odd climax. The beginning is overlong and vaguely too fantastical, but once you realize this is a very different world, a comic book really, and normal rules don't apply, it can be forgiven. In fact most of the flaws can be forgiven because of Ron Perlman and what he brought to the picture.

      This is one of few movies I've ever gone to see on the opening weekend, possibly the only one. And I did so because I was already a fan of Ron Perlman and it was great to see him in a leading role, even though he's covered in makeup. Perlman is the best thing in this movie; he is perfect as Hellboy. He swaggers through it as if he'd always been a leading man. Delivering one-liners with ease and to perfection, battling monsters through subterranean sets and city streets, and giving a great comedic performance as well as a very emotional one that makes you just love the big red oaf. A great feat considering the extensive makeup he had to act through.

      And the makeup and prosthetics are the best of its kind I've ever seen. There's movement and expression in the lips at times that you would think would be impossible. You might at first think that the lips are rather stationary and unexpressive, but if you just pay attention you'll see that there is a lot of movement and subtleties to it. Rick Baker should be praised for his work in this, it's amazing.

      Doug Jones is awesome as the body of Abe Sapien. His movements are truly beautiful. And David Hyde Pierce as the voice is perfect. Abe is a very interesting and neat character that I wouldn't mind seeing more of. And his makeup is as amazing or even more so than Hellboy's.

      John Hurt is great in this, as is Jeffrey Tambor. Everyone in this does a great job. But Perlman's performance as Hellboy really holds the movie together. His character stands out and speaks to the audience better than any other.

      If you liked X-Men or Spider-Man don't expect a movie as well polished and put together, but you should be able to enjoy it and the more overt comic book feel of the movie. And unlike the aforementioned movies there is quite a bit of light humor throughout Hellboy that should garner some laughs from most anyone.

      Hellboy isn't perfect, I would have changed some things, but I had fun watching it and in the end, especially for a movie of this type, I think that's what matters most. In fact I like it more now, after seeing it again, than I did when walking out of the theater.
      show full movie reviewsource7/10
    • An awesome thrill-ride
      I'm usually pretty skeptical about comic book to film translations thanks to such esteemed turkeys as "Captain America", "Daredevil", and "Punisher" (the early 90's version with Dolph Lundgren). But this movie, which could've been bad.....real bad, somehow found a way to be ammusing and entertaining, while at the same time staying faithful to the comics original characters, storylines, and influences.

      Now this film's not gonna win any awards and isn't going to turn non-comic fans into hardcore comic maniacs but it is a great pre-summer action/adventure film with some comedy and a bit of the eccentric tossed in for good measure.

      I won't go into the usual routine and start giving away plot points and story snippits. All I will say is "Go see the movie". But before you do you must take all logic, all sarcasm and cyncism and toss those all out of the car window on the way to your local cinemas. This movie has alot of things that may contradict alot of things that most people believe in, but remember, ITS JUST A MOVIE. Thats what movies are for, they are meant to take the impossible and make it possible and so on. Like I said, this movies not going to be an award winner, and won't be on any critics ten best lists, but it will be a film that you'll laugh at, and generally have fun watching. Its a great escape from the surrealistic existence that many of us live every single day. So, take my advice, go see this movie, sit back, relax, and have some fun.
      show full movie reviewsource9/10
    • Entertaining comic book movieWhen you are watching a comic book movie you have to take certain things for granted. The superpowers, strange villains, things like that. They are there in a non-existing world; saying they are implausible is true but not relevant. What a comic book movie needs is a nice story that is set in its own world (although real existing places can be there too), an entertaining superhero played by an actor who is able to really create the character, spectacular visual effects that fit the action but most of all it needs to breath the right mood. 'Spider-Man 2' did a perfect job, 'X2', 'Blade II' and now 'Hellboy' come very close. The difference is that 'Hellboy' is the first from what will probably become a series.

      The superhero in 'Hellboy' is, of course, Hellboy (Ron Perlman). How he arrives on earth has something to do with Nazis, around 1944, which we see in the first ten minutes of the movie. Let us say he is just here, present day, on the good side, with a professor named Bruttenholm (John Hurt) as his father figure; he was there when Hellboy came from hell. The villains are the same Nazis, you learn why they are still alive, and a lot of monsters they have created. We also meet a love interest for Hellboy named Liz (Selma Blair) and his new partner, Agent Myers (Rupert Evans).

      So Hellboy will fight the Nazis and the monsters, but there is more. His father figure is close to death and the love interest, who sets on fire when she is excited, is not really interested. What makes this movie entertaining, besides the right mood we constantly feel, is the dry humor Ron Perlman brings to the character. Hellboy is supposed to be a secret for the outer world although rumors of his existence are there. When Agent Myers goes for a walk wit Liz Hellboy gets jealous and follows them over rooftops where he encounters a nine year old boy. The boy recognizes Hellboy and the scenes that follow the encounter are close to brilliant.

      There are other very fine moments. At one point a character asks why photographs of UFO's, aliens or Hellboy are always blurry, not very sharp. We see the truth in this question although ironically in a comic book world the question is very out of place; Hellboy does exist. May be this is not the best comic book movie, but entertaining it is. Compare it to another 2004 movie like 'Spider-Man 2' this one seems flawed although we can see the same amount of fun the characters have. Compare it to the dark and brutal 2004 comic book movie 'The Punisher' and this one is terrific, feels like a comic book the entire time, has an interesting hero with humor. That everything around it is pretty silly we just have to take for granted.
      show full movie reviewsource7/10