tek's rating: ½

Hellboy (PG-13)
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I'm not terribly familiar with the Hellboy comics, but I do think he's a kinda cool character and the world he inhabits is also a pretty cool concept. Anyway... it all starts in 1944. A young man named Professor Trevor Bruttenholm (pronounced "Broom") is an advisor to President Roosevelt in paranormal matters. In the movie, Prof. Bruttenholm is accompanying a small team of Allied soldiers, who encounter a group of Nazis. With the Nazis is Grigori Rasputin, who should be dead. But anyway, he knows a great deal about the occult, and has a plan to create a portal to free the Ogdru Jahad, or seven gods of chaos, who were imprisoned in some kind of abyss, long ago. Um... anyway, the good guys end up beating the bad guys, more or less, and closing the portal. But then they discover that something had come through before it closed, a red, sort of monkeylike baby boy. Or whatever. And one of his hands is really big. And made of stone, I guess. Professor Bruttenholm decides to sort of adopt this boy, who he and the soldiers call "Hellboy." (I always thought the portal was into Hell, but here it looked more like outer space.) Anyway, Bruttenholm starts a group called the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, which will fight supernatural monsters, and stuff.

The movie then flashes forward 60 years, to 2004. A young FBI agent named John Myers is transferred to the BPRD, to become a liaison for Hellboy (Ron Perlman), who is now an agent of the organization. (Bruttenholm is an old man now, played by John Hurt. But Hellboy, though 60 years old, is by our standards more like a 30 year old.) We also meet an amphibious, psychic humanoid named Abe Sapien (Doug Jones), who works for the BPRD. Aside from Hellboy and Abe, it seems like there are only ordinary people working for the group. Though after awhile we also see a woman named Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), who has pyrokinetic powers that in the past have been beyond her control, which often led to incidents where she'd inadvertently cause terrible fires, and then black out. She grew up with Hellboy, and they're good friends (possibly more), but she left some time ago, trying to learn to control her power. Meanwhile, Rasputin and at least a couple people who'd been working with him now return, looking the same as ever, pretty much. And they want to finish what they started. The BPRD spend some time fighting some monsters before learning of the connection to Rasputin and all... but eventually it all ties together. I guess.

I really don't want to reveal any more of the plot. I dunno what to say... I saw this movie once on TV, and I thought it was okay, but didn't feel a need to see it again, and never got around to writing a review. But later there were a couple of animated movies, Sword of Storms and Blood and Iron, which were fairly good, and the voice actors for the main characters are the same people who played the characters in this movie. And later still there was another live-action movie called Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Anyway, I decided I should see the first movie again, so I eventually got it on DVD. Maybe I liked it better this time. It's really hard to say... I like the characters. I think it's a drily amusing movie and interesting concepts. It's just really cool, in a way that's at once dark and twisted, and yet also sort of casual, nonchalant, flippant, ironic, whatever. Hellboy's this big, tough, sort of demonic kinda monster, who also happens to be one of the good guys, but he's also just sort of this... guy, y'know? No matter what he looks like or how strong he is, he's basically a normal guy with normal problems, just on a greater scale. His job sucks and he has relationship problems. These are things to which people can relate, but... it's more complicated for him. Yet somehow, he mostly treats everything pretty... normally. (As for his job, his attitude seems this constantly shifting mix of boredom, irritation, and fun. Also he gets hurt a lot. I mean, a lot. But nothing ever really phases him.) Still, in addition to the action and the supernatural stuff and the humor, there's also some genuine drama, some feeling. The only problem I really have with the movie is the basic plot vis a vis the bad guys was kind of disjointed. I don't really think it made much sense, but... it was still kinda neat. Yeah, this time I definitely think it's something I'd like to watch again someday, but still... eh. It's a little too much about the characters, which normally I think movies aren't enough about the characters, so... I can't really complain, in this case. I guess.

comic book movies