From visionary writer/director Guillermo del Toro (director of Blade II, The Devil's Backbone) comes Hellboy, a supernatural action adventure based on Mike Mignola's popular Dark Horse Comics series of the same name. Born in the flames of hell and brought to Earth as an infant to perpetrate evil, Hellboy (Ron Perlman) was rescued from sinister forces by the benevolent Dr. Broom (John Hurt), who raised him to be a hero. In Dr. Broom's secret Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, Hellboy creates an unlikely family consisting of the telepathic "Mer-Man" Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) and Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), the woman he loves who can control fire. Hidden from the very society that theyprotect, they stand as the key line of defense against an evil madman who seeks to reclaim Hellboy to the dark side and use his powers to destroy mankind.
two-disc set is as loaded as our hero's Samaritan handgun. On the first commentary track, director Guillermo del Toro offers a lot of interesting information on the filming and background of the movie. Mike Mignola, creator of the comic book, is also on hand but seems content to wear his co-executive producer hat in support of del Toro rather than provide deep insight. Perhaps even more listenable is the actors' commentary, with Ron Perlman particularly good. Also on the disc are eight DVD comics (most of which are merely a screen of panels accompanied by rolling text) and behind-the-scenes footage--both of which are accessible through icons while the movie plays, or (thankfully) through separate indexes--along with storyboards and some of the "Gerald McBoing Boing" shorts that Hellboy watches in the movie.
The second disc is highlighted by a huge 147-minute making-of documentary that covers the original comic book, stunt work, visual effects, and more, separated into 27 clearly titled segments (kudos to the organization structure of Javier Soto's supplemental features). Deleted scenes, 3-D sculptures, animatics--there's too much else to mention, and yet there's more on the horizon. Enclosed is a mail-in rebate coupon good for $5 off the purchase of both this two-disc edition and a forthcoming director's cut. Yes, it's another double-dip DVD release, but give it some credit for being relatively up front about the follow-up release and for offering a rebate to those who end up buying both. --David Horiuchi