Preview by: Jack Foley
ONE of next year's exciting prospects looks to be Hellboy, a
surreal mix of detective story, pulp horror and cult comic.
The film centres around the Satan-spawned Hellboy of the title,
who has been stolen and reformed into a Force for Good, by the
Americans, with a view to righting the wrongs of the world.
Ron Perlman (of Alien: Resurrection
fame) stars as the red-faced crime-fighter in question, while
Selma Blair joins him as a flame-throwing pyrokinetic agent.
Their foe take the form of so-called Mecha-Nazis.
The film is directed by Guillermo Del Toro, the expert behind
Blade 2 (seen by many as a
vast improvement on the original) and cult Mexican horror, The
Devil's Backbone, and is already amassing a cult following
online, where the director posts something new virtually every
day (we are told).
When asked about the project, the director has stated, in interview,
that he believes Hellboy will take the place of Blade 2 'as the
more pulpish comic-book oriented type of fantasy', and insists
he would not have done it at all, had he not been able to cast
Perlman in the central role.
Describing Perlman as one of 'the last tough actors, 'like Lee
Marvin', he states that the star's best role came in Sean Connery's
In The Name of the Rose, as well as mentioning his sarcastic,
hard-man with a heart of gold turn in Alien: Resurrection.
Perlman, for his part, remains tremendously grateful for the
opportunity to headline the film, stating in an interview with
MTV Movies that Guillermo had let him read the first draft four
years ago, when he revealed that it would be 'his dream' to do
"It's very difficult to get a movie as big as this [made]
with a guy who's not a bankable movie star," he acknowledged.
"I'm not ashamed to say I've never been a bankable movie
star. I'm just a character actor.
"And that's probably one of the most amazing aspects of
this - that [del Toro] was able to pull it off. It's a huge gamble
for a studio to raise the amount of money that you need to do
a picture like this without having, you know, a Tom Cruise."
The movie is due for a US release in April 2004, with a UK date
to follow on April 16.
THE comic book genre has seldom seemed healthier, what with the
success of Spider-Man,
its forthcoming sequel, and the likes of the X-Men
The latest, Hellboy, from Blade
2 director, Guillermo del Toro, has opened to critical acclaim
in America (on Friday, April 2).
Ron Perlman stars as the eponymous hero, who, according to the
publicity, was born in the flames of hell and brought to Earth
to perpetrate evil, but who was rescued from sinister forces by
the benevolent Professor Broom, who raised him to be a hero.
Leading the acclaim is the New York Times, which wrote
that Guillermo del Toro lets loose with a vaudevillian rambunctiousness
that makes his adaptation of the Hellboy comic book series daffy,
loose and lovable.
While Rolling Stone wrote that Hellboy is on fire
with scares and laughs and del Toro's visionary dazzle.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, meanwhile, wrote: "Faithful
to its pulp roots and lacking the cumbersome self-seriousness
of many a comic-book adaptation, Hellboy is, well, hellacious
Equally note-worthy are the comments from the San Jose Mercury
News, which opined that it is the most successful transformation
from pulp page to big screen since Tim Burton's Batman in 1989.
While Hollywood Reporter felt that the sheer ingenuity
and obvious joy del Toro puts into the major action sequences
lifts the movie out of the mundane.
Entertainment Weeklys critic wrote that I
enjoyed myself for most of Hellboy, yet the movie, a highly derivative
compendium of geek dreams, is little more than a well-executed
The Los Angeles Times, however, referred to it as more
a triumph of design over meaning, while less positive
was USA Today, which felt that it was a fiery action
picture destined to please fans of other comics-turned-adventure
flicks such as X-Men. The rest of us will find ourselves left
out in the cold.
Slant Magazine, however, confessed that Ive
never laid an eye on Mignolas comic, but I know a good del
Toro film when I see it.
And Newsday wrote that it is a fully formed, funny,
smart and briskly entertaining horror show.
But the Chicago Tribune felt that the movie feels
at odds with itself, embracing the comics' idiosyncratic creations
without an idiosyncratic worldview.
The best summary of it, however, seems to come from Supercala.com,
which concluded that Ron Perlman as Hellboy might be the
best casting ever of a superhero...he's cooler than the movie