A hell of a ride

Coming fifteen years after Del Toro’s amazing adaptation of dark horse book by the same name, the Hellboy reboot is upon us whether we needed one or not is, as with most reboots, completely beside the point. It’s here. Take it or leave it.

With the movie obviously condemned to be compared to the Del Toro’s versions rather than any other arbitrary set of standards, it will fail in the eyes of the critics and a good number of fans and audience. So, I will try to fall into that scale and go a little further. So, is the movie as bad as promised?

So yes and no. here’s a different Hellboy all together but with a not so different old story: He’s still the moody devil with the smart mouth, born of a Nazi experiment involving the occult and now part of the B.P.R.D (the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) His adopted dad, Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, is still equal parts paternal and chilly academic. Once again, Hellboy has partners, in the form of the spiritual medium Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane) and Major Ben Daimio (Lost‘s Daniel Dae Kim), a military man with animal magnetism. And once again, he has to save the world from an oncoming apocalypse, involving an ancient sorceress Nimue the Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich). Same story but different.

David harbor is no Ron Perlman, but he puts on the new flawed facial and arm prosthetics, slaps on the red-skin paint and the brown overcoat in just the same gore fashion. He does Hellboy justice, delivering the dry one-liners and annoyance of having to save the world as we would expect from the red man himself, the kind of performance that would help propel him from the small screen to the big league. The movie is well cast and the supporting cast cannot be faulted for any wrongs in the film.

Neil Marshall is the man behind the camera (director of Dog Soldiers, Game of Thrones, The Descent, Doomsday and Centurion) and he bring the gore, the Goth and over the top directing he could find from the source material. The biggest difference between Marshall’s take and that of Del Toro is that this one is more faithful to the books which is both a win and a loss for the movie. For the fans, it’s much easier to understand the story, but for those not too conversant with the stories, it may feel all too packed in as Characters, their background and internal fights are not introduced in details, suggesting you already know them. Creator Mike Mignola is on record saying that this version of Hellboy is closer to his comics and, quite frankly, he’s correct — for better or worse.

The CGI and vfx are a lot, and the production crew outdid themselves. Somehow the CGI was both fantastic and lackluster in some parts: Blood gushes by the gallon, ogres’ breath reeks, and ghosts’ ectoplasm is obscenely fleshy, not the normal Hellboy stuff you’d expect and this works for some and is utterly chaotic for most. While Del Toro’s films weren’t anywhere near family-friendly fare, they were colored in his sense of fun wonder to at least make them accessible to those children with the maturity to handle the more nightmarish visions within, this one is a stay away call on adventure.

The big scrapes with the film is the tone. Simultaneously trashy and dramatic, it wants to merge sarcasm with danger despite them often coming at odds tonally. The story is crammed, and by the end of the second act, we are going in different directions all together. Hellboy feels like a Marshall film cut with a producer’s edit by a studio afraid to commit to the director’s vision, a pattern all too common nowadays.

In conclusion, if too gore is not your style, you will probably hate it. If the first duology is a bible to your Hellboy knowledge, you will probably hate it. And if you like movies because of the emotional and moral lessons, you will definitely hate it. You have every reason to hate it and its okay. But if you like over the top, gore, nonstop action, I believe this is the movie for you and that is also okay.

PS. Like all comic book movies these days, don’t be in a rush. There are credit scenes, one mid and another at the end, so don’t be in a rush.

Till next time, have yourself a Hell of a time


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By NAICCON on Apr 15, 2019

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