Rakesh's movie talk
Hellboy (2004)

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Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Written by Guillermo del Toro and Peter Briggs (based on comic by Mike Mignola
Starring Ron Perlman, Selma Blair and John Hurt


This movie is known as Super Sapiens in Malaysia. But nobody was surprised. They banned the Daredevil movie, although the content is normal good versus evil schtick. The banning allowed pirate VCD vendors enjoy good business.


Hellboy was given a greenlight for release when the distributors agreed to change the title. Maybe the censor board morons thought they had won the battle. They had the last laugh. But poor dudes, little does they know that the movie is actually about a demon who struggles in the right side, and the whole movie is about Satanism and the descend of humanity to hell. Sometimes it pays to have members of the censor board who possess intellect of a hamster.


Okay, back to the movie.


One rare thing happened to this movie - or to the reaction towards this movie. Critics unanimously applauded its honesty in sticking to comic book presentation and what the hell, so did the audience.


I never knew the existence of this comic book hero until the announcement on the movie. I bet most movie goers wouldn't have known either - only a handful who are enthusiastic comic book lovers as well. So, this sort of eliminates any form of anticipation, unlike Batman or Superman where we have already been exposed to the comic, cartoon, TV series etc.


The best thing about Hellboy is its lead performer - Ron Perlman. This is perhaps the best stereotyping to come out of Hollywood. He is our modern day Boris Karloff. He had played monsters and beasts so often (check TV series Beauty and The Beast, The Name of The Rose, The Island of Dr. Moreau among others), that this role is so damned easy. Of course, there is prosthetics involved, but apart from that, Perlman is so much at ease with Hellboy.


Apart from Perlman's performance, the most beautiful thing about the movie is its design. It is dark, but not morose. The vision of hell is beautifully horrifying. And the use of CG is aptly bad - sticking very much to the absurdities of comic book visuals.


The script is very relaxed. There is no unnecessary brooding ala the recent stinker (for me) Hulk. There is no over emphasis on the virtues and morality of a superhero ala Spider-Man. Hellboy is no Data of Star Trek. He never tries too hard to be human. But he finds himself often falling into the pitfalls of human - smoking cigars on and falling in love with Selma Blair, another misfit. There is a scene involving his love affair in this movie, which makes this movie very special.


Oh yeah, Blair is a babe. I want her.


This is easily best comic book movie since the first two Batman movies. Yeah, I like it better than Spider-Man or X-Man. Why? The honesty and the modesty. I hope they don't screw up in the sequels - which I bet there will be (oh, just got a news confirming a sequel).