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Hellboy
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148 of 154 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
I'll be discussing both the two disc and three disc edition of "Hellboy" here. Unfortunately, the automated systemed won't allow me to post this as a separate review so, just in case the review shows up under both, I'll include both.

TWO DISC EDITION:
It must be hell to have horns and a stone hand. Rasputin the mad monk who manipulated the Russian royalty prior to the Russian Revolution never died. He not only survived being stabbed, shot, poisoned and drowning but during World War II he worked for the Nazis. Hitler hoped that Rasputin might be able to unleash the 7 Gods of Chaos to help Hitler win the war and dominate the world. The only thing that can stop Hitler and Rasputin's minions which includes a nasty masochistic half mechanical man named Kroenen (Ladislav Beran in some scenes)is Professor Broom (Kevin Trainor as the young Bloom) who has studied the occult. He and a group of American soldiers storm Rasputin's castle stopping the 7 Gods of Chaos from entering our world. In the process Rasputin is sucked into the other strange realm and a tiny red monkey like creature that looks like Satan with a stone hand is released into our world.

Sixty years later Rasputin's minions revive him bringing him back from the other side. Meanwhile Professor Broom (Hurt) has established a paranormal division of the F.B.I with Hellboy (Perlman) and Abe Sapien (Doug Jones but voiced by David Hyde Pierce of "Fraiser" fame) a half human/half sea creature and Liz (Blair) a human with the ability to control fire. With the addition of a new assistant John Myers (Evans) recruited from the F.B.I. these five are all that stand between us and chaos. The only problem is that Rasputin has plans for using Hellboy himself to help release the 7 Gods of Chaos himself.

"Hellboy" looks surprisingly sharp and vivid capturing all the primary colors that percolated beneath the surface of Mike Mignola's comic book. The film does suffer a little bit due to all the extras included on the first disc and could have benefited from concentrating only on picture and sound quality of the film on the first disc and all the extras on the second.

The two disc set clearly went on an eating binge. How else to explain all the wonderful extras packed on this great set. To begin with we have a nice introduction by the director. On the first disc featuring the feature film there are branching behind the scenes sequences you can access while watching the film itself and then return to where you were. It's a fascinating glimpse behind the movie almost giving you the experience as if you were on the set then watching the assembled dailies the next same day.

THREE DISC DIRECTOR'S CUT:
There are some subtle and not so subtle differences in "Hellboy-The Director's Cut". The big difference involves how Rasputin was changed when he came back from the other side. There's also a number of dramatic moments such as Professor Broom discovery of his cancer as well as some fight sequences that have been extended in minor but subtle ways. That said, it's essentially the same film but richer for the include of the 15 or so minutes of additional footage.

The first disc has a brand new commentary by director del Toro and a commentary/isolated score by composer Beltram. The storyboard track now has new images added to it (quite a bit more as a matter of fact).The "branching comics" feature is much more extensive than the previous one but the features on the first disc remain pretty close to the previous edition.

The second disc has the bulk of what disc two of the two disc set had but there are a couple of additions worth noting. There's also a multi-angle storyboard comparison (which I believe to be new). I couldn't find the UPA cartoons on the original but haven't had a chance to investigate all the noons and crannies of the three disc set.

Disc three has a new video introduction by Ron Perlman. Here we get a video and audio commentary by the main actors(in fact it's the same as the audio commentary from the previous edition only this time we see the actors as they recorded their commentary and also see the movie as their watching it in a picture-in-picture mode). There's production workshops also included here, make up and lighting tests (although all involve the final make up for Hellboy), "A Quick Guide to Understanding Comics with Scott McCloud"--a featurette. Mike Mignola is absent from the commentary track but his pre-production artwork is included here. Ther's also the director's notebook (again--it's on two discs here for some strange reason), conceptual art galleries and comic book artists pin-ups on the last disc as well. Personally, I would have put the actors in pip mode vs. the movie as the version they're commenting on it is the theatrical release not the Director's Cut. Not sure why Columbia chose not to do this. Aside from that minor complaint (and not being able to find the UPA cartoons), this is the ultimate fan boy edition. Oh, there's also a reproduction of part of Rasputin's diary by Mignola as well included in paperback form.

The packaging is nice with three slimline DVD holders highlight Red, Blue and Liz. Personally, I would also like to have had a booklet similar to the one that came with the two discs set. Also, I'm unclear why the "seamlessly branching" DVD technology wasn't here to allow both the director's cut and the theatrical editions (much like "Alien" and "Aliens"). I don't have any use for keeping the previous edition (it was traded in) just for the theatrical cut (and I personally feel the Director's Cut is a superior version of the movie even though most of the changes are fairly minor overall).

Overall, this is a terrific boxed set that has some minor flaws. Hopefully Columbia will learn from this mistake and correct any future releases of Director's Cuts vs. theatrical editions. Also, releasing both at the same time so fans can make a choice (vs. being double dipped) would be the right thing to do from a customer service stand point. Plus, there wouldn't be all those used copies eating away at their sales of the set.
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2004
Format: DVD
The Director's Cut release completes with an unrated, extended cut of the film, in total about 132 minutes (10 min. more than the special edition). This DVD comes with 3 discs, most of them are same as the 2-disc special edition (feel free to read my review on Hellboy Two-Disc Special Edition), but this adds alot of extra brand new special features, all new director's commentary, production design, workshops, deleted scenes, etc. This edition details are roughly shown below:

[Disc 1]
- Director's Commentary: new commentary from Guillermo del Toro, exclusively for the Director's Cut DVD
- Composer's Commentary with isolated score
- Video Introduction to Disc 1 by Guillermo del Toro
- DVD ROM: Director's Notebook, Printable Script and expanded Script Supervisor's Book
- Eight Branching DVD Comics by Mike Mignola: A never-been-done DVD feature containing eight Branching DVD comics by Mike Mignola - an onscreen look at Hellboy comic books with all new expanded text from Guillermo del Toro
- Right Hand of Doom: Set Visits and Factoids
- Expanded Storyboards: picture-in-picture storyboard track plays simultaneously with the film
- Anamorphic Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1)

[Disc 2]
- Hellboy: The Seeds of Creation
- Four Animatics - computer-generated animated scene breakdowns. The next level in storyboarding. Director's use them to help visualize what some of the more complicated shots will look like.
- Five Board-A-Matics: side-by-side comparison of scenes with the animated storyboards
- Weblink: Hellboy merchandise
- Three deleted scenes with optional commentary
- Scene deconstruction: director Guillermo del Toro walks us through the evolution of a scene from his sketches to the storyboards to the finished scene
- Kroenen's Lair: four storyboard to film comparisons
- Maquette Rotations Gallery
- Poster Explorations for the Hellboy theatrical campaign
- Filmographies
- Previews

[Disc 3]
- Cast Video Commentary with Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor and Rupert Evans
- Production Workshop featurettes
- Q&A Archive: Comic Con 2002 featuring Guillermo del Toro, Ron Perlman and Mike Mignola
- A Quick Guide to Understanding Comics with Scott McCloud
- Video Introduction to Disc 3 by Ron Perlman
- Production Design Photo Gallery
- Mike Mignola Pre-Production Artwork
- Conceptual Art Galleries

Overall, it is a great movie with lots of extra freebies features. If you are the Hellboy comic fans, go for it! If you already own a copy of the 2-Disc Special Edition, you may not find this worth the money, but if you don't have a copy yet, this is a no-wrong choice!

*** Otto Yuen's DVD Special Rating for Hellboy (Director's Cut) ***
1. Film Rewatchability: MEDIUM-LOW
2. DVD Featurability: EXCELLENT
3. Picture Quality: EXCELLENT
4. Sound Quality: EXCELLENT

(Reviewed by Otto Yuen, 14-Aug-2004)
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 19, 2004
Not being knowledgable with the comic series, I was a bit nervous about going to see this one. I've seen most of the comicbook-to-film movies, so I thought I would give this one a shot, too. Besides, I happen to be a Ron Perlman fan of sorts, so that was further impetus to me.
I was actually shocked! It was very well done! I shouldn't have been too shocked, though, as the director is Guillermo Del Toro, the one who gave us Blade 2 (say what you will about it, but I found it was a shade better than the first even and I liked the first). He's definitely experienced enough now to turn a comic book movie into real cinema and he has no problem making the characters of Hellboy believable.
I think if I had to choose a complaint, it would be this. There are a good number of characters, but due to the amount of them, it's difficult to give much development to them all. Still, given the time the movie runs, all the characters do get a fair treatment and all of them have at least some development, if not a good amount (as Hellboy or Myers). Also, only one or two of the lines struck me as entirely cheesy or campy, and on the whole the writing was great.
The action flowed nicely and there was a good amount of it, though not too much where it can be overwhelming. The plot was interesting and kept the audience involved. Sure, it's not believable, but let's be serious: it's a movie based on a comic, how true-to-life do you WANT the plot to be? The villains are well done and very good at their parts. The CGI doesn't distract too much from the film as they blend that with the rest of the movie very seemlessly. They definitely did their homework and took their time with this one.
Also, on a side note, the PG-13 rating it totally deserved and goes to show how good a movie can be without an overdose of gore, sex, or foul language (the worst word in it being 'ass' I believe). The gore and bloodshed are kept very low (yes, people still die, but aside from one particular scene, the sight of blood is almost non-existent). It's not Puritanical, but well done without overdoing it.
It's totally worth the watch and you will definitely want to do so in the theater. You really need to get that full effect. It will most likely be added to my collection on DVD when it comes out. Enjoy!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
"There lived a certain man in Russia long ago
He was big and strong, in his eyes a flaming glow"
("Rasputin" by Boney M)

Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):

1. German military says "Ra Ra Rasputin" , and tries to open a portal to another dimension
2. US Army shows up and all Hellboy breaks loose
3. Forget music - it's a Baby Ruth that soothes a savage beast
4. Fast forward 60 years and Hellboy and his friends are attached to the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense
5. His friends include a fishy character named Abe, and a hot chick named Liz who's in denial
6. Rasputin and his gang show up and release a nasty creature named Sammael who goes forth and multiplies
7. Newbie from the FBI gets baptism by fire
8. Lots of killings follow
9. As Inigo Montoya (from Princess Bride) once said (several times) "......Prepare to die"

Lots of paranormal stuff, out-of-this-world special effects, and strong performances by Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, John Hurt, Doug Jones and Karel Roden, among others, make for an action-packed fantasy adventure in itself, and recommended viewing before watching Hellboy II

A red hot love story that's definitely not a chick flick.

Amanda Richards, July 30, 2008
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
While some good directors never quite "get it," it took Guillermo Del Toro only one misfire -- the icky, slow-paced "Blade 2" -- to get the whole comic-book adaptation thing right.

In fact, just about everything is right with "Hellboy" -- Del Toro crafted an action blockbuster with a grimy, slimy cult-movie feel and a quirky sense of humor. It's graced with excellent acting, spectacular action scenes, and the trappings of clockpunk and Lovecraftian horror -- not to mention that it stars a six-foot-tall scarlet demon with a soft spot for kittens.

In 1944, young Professor Broom accompanied an army regiment to a remote Scottish island, where the Nazis -- led by Rasputin -- were about to open a portal to another world, and allow the vast tentacled Ogru Jahad (Seven Gods of Chaos) to enter our world. Rasputin and the Nazis were destroyed, but something came through the portal -- a baby demon, whom Broom names Hellboy.

Fast-forward sixty years -- a grown Hellboy (Ron Perlman) and his fishy friend Abe (Doug Jones) are working at a paranormal government agency that specializes in policing the supernatural, with the weirded-out Agent Myers (Rupert Evans) just joining the team. Soon afterwards, Hellboy is called on to kill Sammael the Hellhound -- but it turns out that Sammael can replicate himself indefinitely.

As Hellboy and his team try to hunt down the remaining Sammaels, the dying Professor Broom (John Hurt) finds that a revived Rasputin and his immortal Nazi followers have orchestrated all this. And Rasputin is continuing to pull the strings behind the scenes -- including using Hellboy's love Liz (Selma Blair), a depressed pyrokinetic. And when Hellboy suffers a devastating loss, his journey will take him right back to his roots -- and the potential destruction of the world.

Watching "Hellboy," it's easy to see how Guillermo Del Toro because world-famous for the exquisitely dark "Pan's Labyrinth," and why he's been chosen to direct the forthcoming "Hobbit" movies. This adaptation could have just been another paint-by-numbers comic-book story, but Del Toro gives it the kind of grime, quirk, brains and heart that a lasting cult movie should have.

Part of that cult appeal is "Hellboy's" distinctive look, with Lovecraftian tentacle-gods and some steampunky details. And the action scenes are pretty spectacular -- trains, slimy hellhounds, sword-swinging Nazis with chopped-up faces, giant clock cogs, and a fiery explosion in a mental asylum. And there are some truly spectacular action scenes in a vast underground labyrinth, full of ancient hammers and collapsing bridges. There's just enough action and grossness, without going overboard.

But Del Toro is able to balance out the action with some truly touching moments, such as the aged Broom's final scenes in his firelit study. And there's a lot of dark humor here as well -- and not all of it is Hellboy's dry one-liners. The movie is liberally peppered with dark humor moments ("1945, you mean. Hitler died in '45." "DID he now?"), including some hilariously macabre scenes involving a bad-tempered Russian zombie ("This is Ivan Klimatovich. Say hi, Ivan." "Go that way, Red Monkey!").

Most importantly, Del Toro is able to give his characters little human quirks -- hair plugs, love of cats, and Hellboy sanding down his horns in the morning. Perlman is simply amazing as "Red," whose gruff scarlet exterior hides a kindly, affectionate heart. Not many actors could emote through that many prosthetics (including a very lifelike tail), but Perlman makes it look natural.

Though he's playing a ninetyish old professor, Hurt plays his role with a quiet, powerful sense of goodness. Jones and Evans also do excellent jobs, one as an erudite psychic fish-man ("We lead a charmed life," he observes as cockroaches skitter around him) and an earnest young agent. Selma Blair is the one downside -- she sort of mumbles in a monotone most of the time.

"Hellboy" is one of the best comic-book adaptations that Hollywood has turned out, primarily because of the darker, eerier aesthetic Guillermo Del Toro brings to it. Definitely a must-see.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2004
Format: DVD
Hellboy, when it was first announced as a film project, shocked me because I kept trying to figure out how it was going to be made. First I pondered the budget necessary to make a film version of Mike Migola's insanely cool comic without making it look stupid and cheap. Second I worried greatly about the director. Last, I couldn't even begin to think about who the hell would play Hellboy.

Amazing as it seems, the budget was more than adequate, the director more than capable (Guillermo del Toro), and the actor playing Hellboy (Ron Perlman) was, is, and always will be the film incarnation of the big red guy. In fact, if I had my way I'd nominate Perlman for an Academy Award (and in doing so validate those frivolities very existence). Betcha it don't happen though.

This film is the grandest presentation of a fanboy project since The Fellowship of the Ring, made all the more amazing by the fact that the source material is a borderline underground comic. Del Toro's genius is in proving that great film making can come from the semi-obscure.

Every shot with Hellboy is eyecatching, and with the special effects teams involved it's no wonder. From creature animation, to backgrounds the best of the best had there hand in this film.

While Hellboy is bad ass, Abe Sapien is perhaps one of the most beautiful creature creations brought to film ever, kind of like the Creature from the Black Lagoon with a yen for book learning instead of white bikinis. Liz, is a Firestarter that would roast Drew Barrymore like some leftover cocktail weenie.

Throw in a tick tock man made of gears and cogs who was a nazi super assassin, the mad monk Rasputin, and several demon/gods from hell and you've got an action/horror hybrid that's enough to put any SFX junkie into joy riddled convulsions.

The best part about this movie (aside from the reported sequel in the works) is that it increased the world's knowledge exponentially of the wonderful comic by Mike Mignola. People are now seeking out the haunting artwork and surreal storytelling of Hellboy and I envy anyone their first glance into Mignola's imagination.

Now for one last thing, apparently a director's cut is on the way, and while on the one hand I feel cheated, I also find myself curious. I'm having a psychic moment, it involves the future and a willfull relinquishing of hard earned funds. Hopefully it will be worth it. I know the original theatrical release was. One of the top 10 movies of 2004.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
News flash! The Nazis tried to open up hell! And that's just for starters!

What determines a man? That is the question posed at the beginning and the ending of this fun flick steeped in horror and sci-fi and poured out as a quaffable entertainment. I was pleasantly surprised.

Ron Perlman glows as Hellboy, aptly named as the only thing to survive the explosion to close the gate to Hell. Those closing it are American agents from the Bureau of the Paranormal situated in the States. After defeating the Nazis in the opening scene, they manage to capture little Hell baby who is so cute with his red skin and huge right clay hand and horn knobs on his forehead. Th agents from the Bureau of the Paranormal take him home. After all, he is, well, paranormal.

Hellboy grows up with two companions: Abe Sapiens, sort of amphibious man, and Elizabeth, a firestarter. The professor teaches each how to control and utilize their special skills. The viewer learns this during the rolling of the story. We next meet Hellboy as an adult--and here I was expecting fearful scenes, but Hellboy loves cats. That settled it for this viewer. Cats everywhere in his cozy apartment. The professor has trained Hellboy to eliminate monsters. But that is how he is trained. The question again: What manner of man is he?

The question is answered in the last action scene. John, the agent assigned as his special assistant makes the case that a man is determined by his choices, what decisions he makes. Man is not destined to be one thing or another. There has always been choice. The fact that the choice is played out in battle with a multitude of hell creatures and a hell monster makes the decision even more memorable.

This is a highly recommended film! It is campy, creepy, and with context and comraderie. It't quite different from what you might expect!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2004
I was extremely impressed with this movie. It included the comic books, it was hilarious, it was very close to the comics, and the special effects were beautifully well done. Perlman was an excellent Hellboy. The attitude was very resembling. I thought it was interesting that Hellboy and a pyro girl(I forgot her name) were in love. In all, 5 stars, 10/10, an absolute masterpiece.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2004
Ron Perlman effectively carries this film when the plot mechanics bog down the story. He's funny and violent and vulnerable, perfect. If he doesn't work, the film doesn't. One thing that I disagree with about the film is that it shouldn't be rated pg-13. There's a lot a violent and gruesome content in this film and it's combined with occultic themes, kids shouldn't be seeing this stuff, that's all. I had the same quibbles with the Lord of the Rings, they pushes R rated violence into the pg-13 territory because they wanted to make their money back. Enough of my puritanical rant, I just feel that this movie earns the R and doesn't end up getting it, that's all. By the way, kudos to Jeffrey Tambor, who plays a character who you don't like and is still OK to like at the end because he's such a obnoxious dufus. To all who've seen it, I hope you stuck around for the credits to catch a little bit more of him.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
One of the better Marvel Comic / Movie crossovers of late with a powerhouse performance by Ron Perlman in the title role, who delivers the character which such panache, you can forgive the other disappointing aspects of the movie. A typical pulp storyline finds the birth of Hellboy by a Nazi ritual interuppted by well to do professor figure who he comes to know as father, and then we are moved hence 60 odd years. Hellboy is now on our side thankfully, but we are then only to find (shock horror) that the original protagonists have re-emerged to finish their aim of World destruction yada yada yada. Top heavy on the SfX as you would expect, but the success lies in the movies persistent, and almost self effacing script; that refuses to try and overlay a topical, or politically correct message, as so many other movies of the genre have in the past. The film seems to know it's implausible and often silly beyond belief, but the acting is perfectly executed. Any moments of stale screen time are soon enlivened with some beautifully delivered lines, again by Perlman, who almost single handedly carries the whole picture. A lot of fun here for young and old, and should appeal to those outside the 14-22 demographic for whom it seems to have been intended for by the director. Your intellect won't be tested too much, but if you know that going in, you should enjoy this movie. Deserves 3.5 stars, but not quite 4.
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