Hellboy (***1/2)

hellboy & company(2004) Guillermo del Toro – w/ Ron Perlman, John Hurt, Selma Blair, Rupert Evans, and Doug Jones, Brian Steele & Ladislav Berain in roles as characters you’d never ever recognize in any other film, ever

Synopsis: You’ve got yer evil, last ditch Nazi plot to unleash demons, etc., which is oh-so-fortuitiously interrupted before too much evil can be unleashed. A demon’s unleashed, but it’s only a wee sprout, and it’s plucked up by the Allies and raised to fight on the side of good. This good demon is the eponymous Hellboy, raised and nurtured under the aegis of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. This set-up brings you maybe 10 or 15 minutes into the movie; from there on out it’s present-day USA, with Hellboy fighting evil alongside the likes of telepathic fish-man Abe Sapien [Doug Jones, completely unrecognizable under all the costumey goop] and his FBI caretakers. Throw in FBI newbie John Myers [Rupert Evans], Hellboy love-interest and firestarter (pyrokinetic) Selma Blair [Liz Sherman], and old foes stirred up from the past, and you have ‘Hellboy’, the movie.

Review: ‘Hellboy’ is not the most brilliant movie you’ll ever see.

(I hope I didn’t startle you too much.)

kroenenIt’s decent. As long as you accept the initial premise—which, as movies like this go, is the unspoken requirement—the rest of the movie isn’t that bad, and in fact is not a waste of 125 minutes, generally speaking. The monsters and various bad guys (particularly Sammael and Kroenen) are fun to watch, and the dialogue is rarely awful. I know that the fact of dialogue being “rarely awful” doesn’t sound like high praise, but I didn’t start out with terribly high expectations. All things considered, I was pleasantly surprised. Also, the movie’s not raucously funny, but there are a few dryly comedic parts (and other less dry parts) that helped to improve the overall quality of the movie. Watch for a fun gag after the credits (or part way between, I couldn’t say for sure which). In a less charitable mood, I might rate a movie like Hellboy at only 3 star-type-things, but as-is, I’m giving it 3 1/2.

Rating: [•••½] out of [•••••]