Hellboy (2004) – [rate 2.0]
After watching Hellboy II on the big screen, I felt the need to rewatch Hellboy, since I’d missed the middle part the first time I watched it and never gave it a good look. One thing I immediately noticed is how much Hellboy and Hellboy II are the same. The story, the characters and even some of the visual jokes and action scenes are so much the same that, in retrospect, I should really lower the score (3.5) I gave Hellboy II.
The reason not to do so is that Hellboy II is effectively more like a decent remake of the not so great Hellboy. Although performed by the same actors and directed by the same director (and there’s many more similarities and overlap), Hellboy is slightly worse in every respect except originality. And even its originality leans heavily on what was already there in the comic series by Mike Mignola. If you’re only going to watch one of them, watch the second. If you’re watching Hellboy to find out why Liz is a firestarter, where they found Abe or whether there’s any other cool members in the BPRD, don’t bother, since hardly any information is offered that isn’t repeated in Hellboy II.
The only reason to want to see Hellboy – if you’re a fan – is to see Hellboy as a baby among the nazi’s that accidentally summon him into our world. Again, no explanation or background is offered, so you’re just doing it for the pretty pictures, but at least that’s a scene you won’t see in Hellboy II.
Another thing that doesn’t help Hellboy is that back in 2004, Guillermo del Toro hadn’t yet fully realized his strange fantastical style and as a result, the evil characters just don’t look as good. Although Hellboy certainly doesn’t look worse than most of the super hero fare that’s to be had, the characters remain underdeveloped and the plot isn’t worth mentioning and you end up watching pictures for two hours. I’m glad I missed this one in the cinemas, but if you’re a Hellboy fan it’s worth getting the DVD.