Hellboy Film Review and 101
Directed by Guillermo Del Toro
Written by Guillermo Del Toro, Peter Briggs and Mike MIgnola
Starring Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Rupert Evans and John Hurt
It's 1944 during the Second World War and during an attempt by Gregori Rasputin to free an ancient evil is thwarted by Professor Trevor Bruttenholm. But the failed attempt opens a portal and lets a strange being in to our world, Hellboy. In the present day Hellboy is called upon to re-engage Rasputin and his cohorts as they try to destroy the world as we know it.
Hellboy, or Anung Un Rama, was discovered in 1944 when Nazi Occultists unwittingly summoned him from Hell to Earth. He was taken in by Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, who cared for the young being as his own son. He has red skin, a tail, horns, which he files down to 'fit in' and an over-sized right hand made of stone. He has super human strength, accelerated healing powers and doesn't age like a human. He also has limited psychic abilities. After being wounded by mortal weapons, it seems as though Hellboy cannot die. But his ultimate power rests within his giant stone hand.
Cursed/blessed with pyrokinetic abilities, Liz's abilities first manifested themselves at the age of 10. Raised a Catholic, Liz believed that her abilities were the result of her sin and she kept them at bay through prayer and will power. But at the age of 11 she suffered a major incident and destroyed a city block causing many deaths, deaths which included her parents. After this she was passed around family until finally being taken in by the B.P.R.D where she is a full Agent. She flits between helping them and leaving to try and find a 'cure' for her problem
Born as Langdon Everett Caul, a Victorian scientist who became involved in an occult group who believed that all knowledge came from the sea. After retrieving a strange jellyfish from a old ruin Caul became transformed into an icthyio sapien. The rest of the group sealed the developing being in a tube with water from the ruin and hid it the basement of Washington Hospital. Because of the Civil War, the group were forced to abandon there care of the being and he was undiscovered until some workmen found him in the 1970's. Abe has all the amphibian and has telepathic and psychometric abilities. He is also believed to be ageless and has superhuman healing abilities.
"In the coldest regions of space, the monstrous entities, Ogdru Jahad - the seven Gods of chaos - Slumber in their crystal prison, waiting to reclaim Earth...and burn the heavens"
It is 1944, and reaching the end of The Second World War. On a remote island of the coast of Scotland Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, an expert in Paranormal Phenomena, has joined forces with a squad of American troops to search the Island for strange activity. They find it, Grogori Rasputin has a plan to release an evil Demon on the World and he is working with Nazi Germany and has Adolf Hitler as his backer. Rasputin succeeds in opening a portal that he hopes will let in the destructive Demon to wreak havoc on the Earth. But the pan is scuppered when the troops open fire and the experiment is thrown in to disarray. Rasputin is sucked in through the portal door and disappears. But for one body that has gone in, another has come out, Hellboy.
Professor Bruttenholm takes the young Hellboy in to his care and as he grows includes him in the group that he works for, the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defence (BPRD). The group keeps the world safe from Paranormal activity and other worldly entities that would seek to cause us harm. Bruttenholm and Hellboy are not alone, Abe Sapien, a 'Fish-man' with Extra Sensory powers and sometimes, Liz Sherman, a young woman who has the ability to summon powerful explosions and fireballs, are members of the team as well.
When the other members of Rasputin's team discover a way to bring him back, they are still driven by the same goal, to bring forth the Destroyer Ogdru Jahad. To do this, they summon a Demon called Sammael, when Sammael makes his first appearance the BPRD are called in to action and after an initial battle they believe they have sent Sammael back to the underworld. But Sammael is a resurrection entity and one dies two come back.
Rasputin's ultimate goal is to lure Hellboy in to a trap, as he believes he is the key to unlocking the crystal prison that holds Ogdru Jahad. But to do this he must stet a trap for Big Red, that he cannot resist.
There are many Director/Actor combos out there, Ridley Scott has Russell Crowe, Martin Scorsese has Leonardo DiCaprio and here we have Guillermo Del Toro and Ron Perlman. Del Toro is a comic book fan and it shows in his films, Blade 2 and Hellboy are faithful to the characters and keep all the little foibles that make them who they are. Hellboy isn't the greatest brain out there and this shows, but he makes up for it in his dedication to his 'father' and his love for the fire starter, Liz Sherman. Del Toro keeps the film moving along a good pace with plenty of action and interesting characters. Hellboy keeps us entertained with his 'Ah Crap' admitions when he knows a big hit is coming, but warms us to him with his love of cats. His feuding with the Beareau's chief, Tom Manning, brings out his passionate side, but he always gets the job done.
Hellboy is another one of those darker superheroes that I prefer to see on the screen than say a Superman or Captain America. These guys aren't bothered if there's a little collateral damage along the way, so long as the bad guy ultimately gets his just deserved. Del Toro's background with his first films, showed his prowess in bringing these sorts of characters to life, think Pan'sLabyrinth.
All in all, a fun watch, and a loyal potrayl of the character that was born in Dark Horse comics.