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“Hellboy”: A movie in a hell of it’s own

David Eckstein

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Based on the Dark Horse comic series by Mike Mignola, Hellboy is a character who battles monsters and supernatural forces for the B.P.R.D. (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense). The comic series over the years has received a huge following with its unique premise and creative sense of flair.

The character has been brought to the big screen twice before by visionary director Guillermo del Toro and actor Ron Perlman. Both films have been well received by both audiences and critics. However, there was difficulty funding the next film, so “Hellboy 3” was cancelled and it was decided a reboot would happen instead.

After years of speculation and rumors, does the new film hold up? Having seen the film I am sad to say: no, it doesn’t.

Courtesy of Lionsgate.

Within the first half hour, I could tell that this film was botched in the editing room. It’s almost as if there was so much drama behind the scenes that multiple visions collided into each other.

The story, or lack thereof, is really choppy as it just goes from one thing to the next, sometimes with little to no connection. The pacing is non-existent. The result? Watching the film feels like going from one scene to the next, rather than watching a coherent story. Making it Rated R doesn’t really add much to the film either. It does have a ton of gore and sometimes the action can look interesting but it’s at the expense of a story that’s not really there. It also doesn’t help that these sequences are scored by a soundtrack that was cobbled together by out of touch studio execs.

The film covers the bases the first Hellboy did in 2004, though not as well. In the new instalment, much of the story is told in more narrated flashbacks than I can count. Every time they bring in a new character or have any conversation with one another, their dialogue is nothing but their own individual backgrounds and needless exposition. Everything, and I mean everything, is explained in explicit detail constantly throughout the film. In terms of performances, Harbour as Hellboy is the only good standout in the film. Harbour tries for the life of him to keep this film afloat with his humor and charm, but even he’s not enough to save the movie.

The special effects range from really good to really pathetic. One of the few positives to take away from the film is the makeup work, which I think is amazing. Harbour as Hellboy is especially spectacular to look at. The production value in this film is on point as we get a lot of creative designs with the creatures and setting. I feel like they’re overreaching at times, however, as there are some scenes where I’m looking at the screen and feel like nothing’s there. The CGI is not SyFy channel movie of the week bad, but it gets close in a number of scenes.

I thought this film had potential. I can tell there was a lot of effort put into it. I just think the script is nonexistent. Nothing in this movie feels like it flows or has any rhyme or reason. Characters just go from place to place in the fastest way possible just so they can get to the next scene. But when we get to the next scene, it makes the previous scene feel pointless.

Writing this review hurts, because I have seen this character done well before. Even if you become invested in some of the performances and visuals, it is hard to argue that this film is not a mess. From the choices made to the story and pacing you can’t help but see the man behind the curtain. This reboot wasn’t the worst by any means, though it’s definitely not good either. If you’re looking for a turn your brain off movie with tons of monster and violence, this will suit you fine. As for me, all I’m thinking in my head is, “Come back del Toro, COME BACK!”

Rating: 2 out of 5 sails

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“Hellboy”: A movie in a hell of it’s own