Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hellboy (2004)

Movie quotes:
"In the absence of light, darkness prevails. There are things that go bump in the night, Agent Myers. Make no mistake about that. And we are the ones who bump back."
- Professor Trevor Bruttenholm (John Hurt)

"I wish I could do something about this. But I can't. But I can promise you two things. One: I'll always look this good. Two: I'll never give up on you... ever."
- Hellboy (Ron Perlman) to Liz (Selma Blair)

Abe Sapien (Doug Jones): Remind me why I do this again.
Hellboy: Rotten eggs and the safety of mankind.

[nearby phone rings as Hellboy fights Sammael]
Hellboy: It’s for you.
[Hellboy hits Sammael with the phone]

Hellboy: Hey Myers, you're a talker. What's a good word, a solid word for "need"?
John Myers: Well, "need" is a good, solid word.
Hellboy: Nah. Too needy.

"What you having? Six library guards, raw, plus belts and boots. Man, you're gonna need some heavy fiber to move that out."
- Hellboy (to Sammael while he is eating)

At a glance:
Director Guillermo del Toro creates a lower budget and basically perfect take on the comic book hero movie, with Ron Perlman brilliant as an unlikely but appealing horn-filing devil beast named Hellboy

Our review:
A Nazi plot to open a rift and invite in seven evil demons is foiled, but not before a little red horned devil baby with an oversized rock-like arm makes it through. 60 years later, ‘Hellboy’ (Ron Perlman) is a prisoner/volunteer for a secret American paranormal branch of the FBI, where he fights the good fight against evil, including the same diabolical enemies that opened the rift the first time. Perlman is probably the best-suited (perhaps only-suited) actor for this role, and he makes Hellboy not only believable, but appealing. Hellboy’s action hero wisecracks are top shelf, too – the script has lots of memorable quotes. Director Guillermo del Toro uses lighting to great effect, softening some scenes to create what at times is a very beautiful film – even when tentacled monsters are attacking. del Toro also has a welcome feel for pacing; the film moves along briskly, flowing from scene to scene in a way that makes it smooth, palatable, and yet still exciting.

Note: For years, I avoided this film, basically because I assumed that any movie titled "Hellboy" would be too violent for my taste. As a matter of fact, the violence is toned down to avoid an R rating, and it was well within the range that I can tolerate. And so, because of this misunderstanding, I denied myself for many years my first glimpse at director del Toro – and of Selma Blair. Rating: 3 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"Del Toro, in love with his source but never overawed by it, keeps things moving; Perlman ties it together with some of the driest witticisms this side of Indiana Jones. Like we said: fun."
- Time Out

"Del Toro and Perlman essentially make you forget that Hellboy's this bizarre creature because Perlman invests him with such humanity. And maybe what makes him most human are his flaws."
- Beth Accomando (

"Perlman has not only the towering body, sculpted face, and commanding voice for such a role, he exudes a very humane heart."
- Steve Crum (Kansas City Kansan)

"Perlman, at age 53, strides in like a hungry young actor itching to prove something, only with 22 years of experience lending him charisma and confidence."
- Rob Gonsalves (

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