Give Evil Hell

We stayed in our motel after two tiring days of sightseeing in Dublin. We were "spent" or we just didn't feel like taking a walk anymore. Last night of our trip (the 23rd of September), we (Grim, Frederik, Dimitri and I) decided to go to the movies. We had already seen various billboards advertising the local cinema, so off we were. I had hyped "Hellboy" the last few days. Indeed, after several X-, Bat- and Spider-Men yet another comic-turned-into-movie. No commonly known Marvel-comic this time, but Mike Mignola's "Hellboy" (a Dark Horse publication). A fair amount of American fans had bought a ticket, but still Sony (the producers) had hoped for more boxoffice-gold. Truth to be told, "The Passion Of The Christ" did attract a massive crowd. Theatres were not very keen to place "Hell" next to "The Passion".

Anyway, it made enough dough for a break-even, worldwide-sales not yet included. The movie does deserve its audience, keeping in mind that this is an absolute no-brainer of a flick. You love it or loathe it. You'll read this remark more than once in reviews, but it is totally justified in this case. Don't dare to go and see "Hellboy" if you like intellectual, old-fashioned, art house or artistic films. "Hellboy" isn't spiritual and is no milestone in movie-history la "Ben-Hur" or "Citizen Kane". It's no sledgehammer blow. What is "Hellboy" then? Simple : pure, unbridled fun!

Guillermo Del Toro, Mexico's coolest chubby who previously treated comic-fans with "Blade II" (I haven't see that one), is a worthy director. This film is his labour of love. He has been devoting himself to this since 1996, but not till he showed the doubting executives what he's capable of with the aforementioned Blade II, had/has he been given the go-ahead (iz thiz Inglisj?). He even dropped out of directing Harry Potter III for this, so he wasn't doing this for the money. It's due to Del Toro's choice of the leading man that the movie could be made with a relative small budget. A Vin Diesel or Bruce Willis would have increased the costs, but who is "Ron Perlman"?! Well, I know him, but ask ten people on the street who mr. Perlman is and you get my point. He's a character actor who has now been given his first blockbuster starring-role. Does he deliver? No. He really delivers!

Baby Hellboy was brought to earth during World War II to aid The Germans. But good-hearted people interfered and raised him to be good and kind. Sixty years later, the Bad Dudes seek revenge and Hellboy has to choose: will he fight with or against them?

The story is rather complicated who those who have never read a Hellboy-comic and I too have to see it again to understand all the subtleties. After all, there were no subtitles in Dublin. But Perlman and William Hurt (as Hellboy's adoptive father) are captivating, the movie is fresh, smartly cut and the music is fantastic!

I had a hell of a good time. A fat, red must-see!

Julian De Backer, 5 November 2004