Canister X Movie Review #37: Hellboy (2004)
Written by Guillermo del Toro
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Runtime 122 min.
4.5 out of 5
A baby demon comes through an interdimensional portal originally created by the Nazis near the end of World War II, but is rescued by the Allies before he could fall into enemy hands. Fast forward some sixty years later to the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. The baby demon is grown up—now called “Hellboy”—and he works for the BPRD.
When an evil hellhound known as Sammael is unleashed, Hellboy and the BPRD are sent to stop it. What ensues is a supernatural battle between Good and Evil.
This movie is a superhero monster movie, two of my favorite genres rolled into one. You got Hellboy (Ron Perlman), the lone gunman type but with a heart of gold; Abe Sapien (Doug Jones), the intellectual who is a humanoid amphibian; Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), who is a distraught young woman with major issues and also has a hard time controlling her pyrokinetic abilities; and Trevor Bruttenholm (John Hurt), the scholar and father-figure who guides the group.
As an amateur scholar of the supernatural world myself and all that that entails, the idea of the BPRD really appeals to me as I think modern society is very close-minded on the subject when the very world we live in—never mind all that’s beyond it—suggests that there is much more to our existence than what we can perceive with our five senses. Too many accounts of supernatural happenings to discount that. But that’s not what this review is about, so onward.
Hellboy is an exciting movie with loads of action. Watching Hellboy fight is, well, just plain cool. Very brutal, and is sheer brawn mixed with skill. (He also wings things, too.) There’s some real good humor in this flick, as well.
With certain superhero movies you could swap out the lead with someone else and wouldn’t miss a step, but with Hellboy, Ron Perlman did such a fantastic job with the character that it’s hard to envision anyone else. Kind of like how Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark or Hugh Jackman is Wolverine. It’s difficult to picture someone else in the role. Perlman played it straight, played it tough, and played it fun all the while making you believe this big red creature is a real person with real heart.
I’m so glad they made a sequel and as of the writing of this review, there’s rumors of a third one starting up to round out the trilogy. I, for one, can’t wait to see it.