Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Hellboy (2004)

"Plus, you're nine. You're not old enough to be giving me advice!"

I cannot applaud highly enough the excellent decision to give a big Hollywood comic book blockbuster like Hellboy to art film maestro Guillermo Del Toro to direct; in his hands the film looks gorgeous, atmospheric, stylised, perfect. So much so, in fact, that it threatens to elevate a somewhat so-so script into excellence.

The basic concept isn't very original beyond the character of Hellboy himself: occult Nazis are all very Indiana Jones while the monsters look suspiciously Lovecraftian. Nor is the concept of a secret government agency gratifyingly original and, indeed, Professor Broom and his super powered team of mutants look awfully like the X-Men. But the story, and characters, are nevertheless worth following.

You don't need you to tell me how magnificent John Hurt is, but Ron Peelman is also magnificent, and the cast as a whole has nary a weak link. And the ending is particularly effective, as Myers fulfils his destiny as the virtuous Gakahad-type hero while Hellboy proves that not only can he use his free will to be a hero in spite of being a demon, but also gets the girl.

This film hasn't got an original bone in its body. But dammit, it's fun.

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