Hellboy — single drama review

Premièred by Columbia Pictures
By Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro fans asking about Hellboy III seems to be an inevitable factor of this industry. Hellboy is very much like Marvel’s the Avengers (Joss Whedon) in that it’s not just part of a comic book franchise, but also a crossover between it and the auteur’s own personal franchise.

Having seen both El espinaza del diablo (Toro, Antonio Trashorras and David Muñoz) and El laberinto del fauno (Toro), Hellboy has the same elements as other Toro productions, particularly because he’s very familiar with how to speak the language of film. El espinaza del diablo is definitely one of the most intellectual horror films, but Hellboy follows the same path as taken with El laberinto del fauno, which is roughly what happened when Tim Burton directed his own version of Alice in Wonderland – there’s so much substance that it collapses-in on itself and becomes totally stylised to the point of making the audience apathetic.

Hellboy’s a very interesting character, but unfortunately, that’s the only word I have for him. A guy who has to file-down his horns every morning to hold back his own inner evil. That’s even addressed in one part, when his horns become complete and he turns totally demonic. Clearly, this is a guy who has issues and an internal darkness to fight. But none of that is ever brought-up. Instead, the character of Hellboy is a wise-cracking dead-pan everyhero. His origins are an imaginative twist on his genre, and his appearance is the most well-realised element of Hellboy. But the origin is extended out over such a long period, and the prologue spends so much time introducing characters that there’s no time for anything other than an adventure that feels like an extended episode of a television series, having now done a miniature pilot. Toro approaches the Hellboy mythology with such a check-list style that he forgets when to begin the story.

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