Saturday, August 10, 2019

Movie Reviews: Hellboy

directed by Neil Marshall
Neil Marshall directed Dog Soldiers which you really should see and this film which you really should not. Marshall also directed HBO's A Game of Thrones episodes "Blackwater" and "Watchers on the Wall" so it's not as if he's not a talented director with both work he's written and that which he didn't. Marshall's presence is the reason I decided to give this film a look see. 

However there's really no better way than to describe this film than as rancid. If a film could smell this smells like a puppy's crate accident mixed with spoiled Limburger cheese and rotting Durian fruit. Having thought about this for a while I am surprised that after reviewing the finished product the studio and/or producers didn't just tell everyone involved thanks for your work, here's your check but there's no way we can release this film. 

I think the major problem is that this is a reboot of something that didn't really need to be rebooted. The original Hellboy was very much a personal vision of baroque/gothic/steampunkish Lovecraftian horror fantasy lovingly and lavishly created for the screen by director Guillermo Del Toro and interpreted by hulking everyman actor Ron Perlman. When the studio couldn't come to terms with both of those men for another sequel they went to reboot mode.

In this film Hellboy is played by David Harbour, who plays the title character somewhat similarly to Perlman's interpretation but with some key differences. Whereas Perlman's Hellboy was in a routine bad mood precisely because of unrequited love, awareness that he was ugly, and fear that he might go bad in the end, there was always a hint of kindness beneath the gruff exterior. 

Harbour's Hellboy just comes across as a thug who is always yelling just to be yelling. His sarcasm, even when he's trying to channel Perlman, just struck me as too self-serving and self-pitying. So instead of humor, which is never far from Del Toro's version, this film serves up a lot of violence. It earns every bit of its R rating. The plot is not really worth discussing that much. The evil witch-Queen Nimue (Milla Jovovich) wishes to destroy the world, for reasons. She was stopped once before by King Arthur but he lacked the ability to truly destroy her, having to settle for chopping her apart and burying her remains in different places. 

Well you can't keep a good witch down. Nimue is putting the band back together, along with her body, and intends to, yes, once again wipe humanity from existence. Nimue's checked her prophecies. The prophecies are quite clear that Hellboy is to be Nimue's special rider and the one who opens the gates, her gates, Hell's gates, all gates.

In the meantime Hellboy finds that Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane), an Irish medium, is connected to some incidents in his past and may well be important to the approaching end times. Hijinks ensue. The special effects were ok but they tended to dominate the film and not in a good way. I didn't care about a single one of the characters, nor was I impressed with or interested in their struggles. Skip this film.

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