Movie Review
Hellboy poster
By Gareth Von Kallenbach     Published April 2, 2004
US Release: April 2, 2004

Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Ron Perlman , Doug Jones , Selma Blair , John Hurt

Running Time: 132 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $59,035,000
At best a renter and for the average movie viewer, something that should be banished to another dimension.
In a remote, rain-soaked location in Scotland, a group of Nazis are attempting to change the tide of World War II and in the process doom the world. Through the evil working of Grigory Rasputin (Karel Roden), a portal to a dimension of darkness and evil has been opened in order to allow the dark forces that lurk within to walk the earth unleashing destruction and chaos. This plan is thwarted thanks to the intervention of American troops under the guidance of Professor Bruttenholm (John Hurt), a specialist in the paranormal who knows the menace that the Nazis are attempting to summon.

While the Nazis are defeated in their attempt, the portal was open long enough for something to pass through; in this case, a small creature that the soldiers name Hellboy. The film moves forward to the modern day where Hellboy (Ron Perlman) has become the stuff of urban legend and tabloid fodder. Working for an agency based on paranormal defense, Hellboy is dispatched to combat all manner of supernatural foes whenever they should arise. Assisting him is a mutant named Abe Sapien (Doug Jones & David Hyde Pierce) who is able to decipher all texts and is a great analytical for the organization.

A series of events soon reveal that Rasputin has returned and is preparing to once again open the portal and destroy earth. In a race against time to save the day, Hellboy, Abe Sapien, and pyrokinetic Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) are forced to battle for their very survival as well as for the future of the Earth.

Sadly, there is not much to ?Hellboy? after its promising opening. There are fleeting moments of promise such as an early mission for Hellboy and a very good Nazi assassin who comes complete with a gas mask visage and a deadly array of bladed weapons. However, the few good moments come early in the film and viewers are left with long spans with little to fill the time aside from Hellboy bemoaning his inability to confess his affections for Liz. And when the finale of the film arrives, it is a very matter of fact fashion completely void of suspense, as there is no grand lead up or event ? it just happens.

As under-whelming as the finale is, the FX in the film leaves a lot to be desired. The CGI creatures are very obvious and they stand out for all of the wrong reasons. I am not expecting CGI demons to be lifelike but I don?t think it is too much to expect them not to look like pixilated cartoons. Perlman does his best to infuse some humor into the role, but the script and direction by Guillermo del Torro is so stagnate that many of the jokes and puns fall painfully flat.

More than a few people in the press screening uttered many of the same complaints upon the film?s completion, leaving me to conclude that ?Hellboy? is at best a renter and for the average movie viewer, something that should be banished to another dimension.
Gareth's Grade: C-
Gareth's Overall Grading: 50 graded movies
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