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(Review originally written at 5 March 2005)

Director Guillermo del Toro already showed with his previous movies that he has a great visual style. "Hellboy" is no exception and it has a great dark comic book atmosphere. Too bad that the story and most of the characters don't really work out the way they're supposed to.

The character of Hellboy self works out just great! This is thanks to mainly Ron Perlman but also to the very convincing make-up effects. The rest of the characters feel like they are only put in the movie to fill up the screen. Selma Blair is very boring as Liz Sherman and it never became clear to me in the movie why professor Bloom, out of all people picked John Myers. Not really a good character either. The two characters Abe Sapien and Tom Manning (Jeffrey Tambor is wonderful!), who were about the two most entertaining characters, disappear way too soon out of the movie. But most disappointing are the villains which are often the most important in 'super-hero' movies like these. Having Rasputin as the main villain of course is already a ridiculous idea itself but on top of that he simply isn't a very good and convincing villain. Uber-Nazi Karl Ruprect Kroenen is a way more interesting villain. He is the kind of villain I love in movies, cool outfit, awesome weapons, he can't seem to die and he has no lines. Excellent, scary, cool and mysterious all in one. Not bad for a 107 year old. He also was way more better than the most of the time, special effects monsters.

The special effects were at times good, mediocre and just at times unconvincing.

The action also was somewhat disappointing. I think this is due to the wrong offbeat pace in the movie. Everything is happening way too fast. One moment Hellboy is giving away some great, fun and cool one-liners and the next he's fighting a monster in the subway. Because everything is happening so fast, the story also isn't always easy to follow. The movie wasn't as entertaining as I had hoped and expected. I'm sure that when I read the script I would like the story better than I did while watching the movie.

It still is a somewhat entertaining movie to watch but not one that I would recommend to everyone. However I'm still looking forward to "Hellboy 2" also because 'superhero' sequels are only getting better and better these last couple of years ("Spider-Man 2", "X2"). Hopefully the title will be; "Hellboy 2: The Return of Kroenen"? One could only wish for...

6/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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