Thursday, April 18, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 7
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
BINGEABLE: RUSSIAN DOLL
BLAST FROM THE PAST: GODSPELL
BREAKTHROUGH
DUMBO
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
HELLBOY
SHAZAM!
THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA
THE MUSTANG
UNDERRATED: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL
UNPLANNED

HELLBOY

PHOTO BY SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT

HELLBOY


Where is it playing?: Movies Lompoc, Parks Plaza

What's it rated?: R

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent, Doomsday) directs this R-rated franchise reboot based on Mike Mignola’s graphic novels about well-meaning half-demon, Hellboy (David Harbour), who this time around battles an undead sorceress (Milla Jovovich) bent on destroying the world.

This third live-action Hellboy film features a script by Mignola and Andrew Cosby. The first two films—Hellboy (2004; PG-13) and Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008; PG-13)—featured Guillermo del Toro as the writer-director. He apparently wasn’t offered full creative control on this new film, so he didn’t participate. Ron Perlman, Hellboy in the first two films, refused to come back without del Toro. As far as most film critics are concerned, this was a huge mistake, but I disagree.

It’s true that del Toro’s singular vision brought Hellboy to life on the big screen, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Perlman was better in the role than Harbour, but this reboot is a lot of fun if you like serious gore and violence. The splatter fest certainly earns its R rating. The biggest problem with the film is its so-so story, which would appear to be counterintuitive since graphic novel creator Mignola is on board as screenwriter, but there’s something flat and predictable about the whole affair.

Some of the backstory is familiar, for instance how Hellboy is the spawn of a Nazi experiment, but they also weave in some stuff about his human mother being from King Arthur’s bloodline, and the sword Excalibur shows up as he fights Nimue the Blood Queen (Jovovich). Since I haven’t read the graphic novels, I have no idea if this story lines up with those, but some relationships don’t feel well-developed. The one between Hellboy and his adoptive father, Professor Broom (Ian McShane), seems very glossed over.

McShane is typically awesome. He could read the ingredient list off a box of cereal and I’d be mesmerized, but he’s underutilized here. Harbour’s performance, on the other hand, feels very reserved. Hellboy is a wiseacre, but Harbour’s one-liners don’t have the same zing as Perlman’s. Jovovich is given little to do as Nimue other than look hot and act cruel.

Without a doubt, the film’s best and most creative component is its special effects and creature effects. The dismembering, skewering, and disemboweling are very inventive, and Hellboy looks positively gross—greasy and waxy like the fetal pig you had to dissect in eighth grade. Harbour’s deep-set eyes make him look even more disturbing.

Everything you need to know about this film can be summed up in its rottentomoatoes.com score, which is 15 percent critics’ score and 63 percent audience score. If you’re a Hellboy fanboy, you’ll probably dig it. If you’re more on the critical side, you’re going to miss del Toro’s presence immensely. (120 min.)

—Glen




Weekly Poll
What do you think of the county's new permitting process for hoop houses?

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