Since Hellboy 2: The Golden Army comes out on DVD next week, it’s time for me to watch the first movie, Hellboy, for the first time.

Overall, I liked it, but I don’t have much to say about it. It’s very true to the comic book in its visuals, perhaps just as much as Sin City, although in a much more subtle way. Like the comic book, the point is what you see, not so much the story, which is fairly minimal: stop the demonic bad guys, hope Hellboy gets the girl.

(Did they explain how Rasputin returned after getting sucked into the vortex in the flashback? I admit, I wasn’t giving the movie 100% of my attention.)


Ron Perlman is immensely impressive, especially when you consider that he was in his mid-50s and still carrying a stunt-heavy, costume role. That life experience gives him the world-weariness the character needs. I was most taken, though, by the combined performance of Doug Jones and David Hyde-Pierce (I could listen to his voice a long time) as Abe Sapien. Jones, especially, is astounding in playing an underwater creature with his fluid movements.

Selma Blair was a disappointment, a flatness where a performance should be. Since most of her role is being wanted by various guys (maybe because she’s the only girl around?), it’s not as big a detriment as it might otherwise be. This is taken to its extreme near the end, when she’s just a body being fought over by the two sides.

The movie is striking in its effects, but I’m not sure I’ll ever rewatch it, and the extras — storyboards, production films, an extremely self-indulgent cast commentary where Blair is even more annoying — struck me as overkill. In a first-time viewing, though, director Guillermo del Toro did a great job bringing Mike Mignola’s strongly imaginative world to the screen.

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