Hellboy (2004) – Guillermo del Toro

del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth is the next big recommendation from DK Canada’s The Movie Book, and the What Else to Watch list is filled with his titles as well, all of which I’ve had the opportunity to watch and review prior to this. And then I saw Hellboy listed in there as well and had a moment of elation, as I hadn’t watched this one for the blog yet, and had been looking for a chance to revisit it.

Mike Mignola’s fantastic creation, Hellboy, comes to the screen in this fun adaptation that doesn’t quite get as out there as some of the comics Big Red has been featured in (that happens more in the sequel) but serves as a really nice entry into the world of Hellboy and the BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense).

Ron Perlman is perfectly cast as Hellboy, and brings a working class attitude to the demon who has been raised by Bruttenholm (John Hurt) since the events of World War II when he was summoned as a baby during a Nazi occult ceremony led by Rasputin (Karel Roden).

Raised to fight the darkness, instead of embracing his own, he leads a team against evil. He’s joined by firestarter Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), who he has a thing for, and an amphibious humanoid, Abe Sapien (Doug Jones though he is voiced in the first film by David Hyde Pierce).

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The trio joined by a new, young agent, John Myers (Rupert Evans) must stop a resurrected Rasputin, and his Nazi aides as they attempt to free the Old Gods, the Ogdru Jahad, and unleash a hell on earth. Myers serves as the gateway into the unusual and the story for the audience who may not be familiar with the occult-infused reality the comics bright to life.

del Toro’s visual style, his attention to detail, the makeup and physical effects, and his storytelling serve Mignola’s creations perfectly translating the images from page to screen.

In fact, it was del Toro’s version of Hellboy that brought me into the comics (which I have eagerly devoured) and I can still remember the first time I saw it. I was wowed by the imagery. I enjoy the laughs, action sequences and character designs, even as I realized how wrapped up in the story I got.

And while the screenplay and directing our a huge part of that, Perlman’s performance is so on point that you can’t help but love his incarnation of the character. This is a great film, a wonderful introduction to the character, and the sequel is even better!

Don’t believe me? Check it out! or one of del Toro’s other films listed in The Movie Book available from DK Books. Discover a new to you classic tonight!

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