Do you know how old Hellboy is? No, not the character, just the first movie. 15 years old. 15 years have gone by. This movie could’ve been born and is now attending high school, and yet…I’ve never seen it. Not once. What has held me back? Well, a number of factors. When it was first released, I was still living at home, continuing on with my sheltered youth. It wasn’t until later when I started branching out and started looking into everything I wasn’t allowed to watch when I was younger, but Hellboy never really interested me, even though people did talk about it as if it were legend. Given that the 2019 remake releases on digital this week, I thought I’d get myself acquainted with the character once and for all, and put the question to bed on if it really is worthwhile. Well, is it? Let’s find out.
Hellboy, a demon raised from infancy after being conjured by and rescued from the Nazis, grows up to become a defender against the forces of darkness.IMDb
The way films were made in 2004 vastly differ from how they are made today, especially when it comes down to the visuals. This movie is somewhat known for how things look, whether it be makeup design or even diverse landscapes and set designs found throughout the film, but not so much with the computer graphics. The aged CGI actually brings down that impressive scenery to something technically just fine, which is somewhat disappointing, as is anything that ends up getting aged over such a short period of time. Even with disappointing CGI, people usually talk about the character of Hellboy, and how he is incredibly iconic, which theoretically forgives any bad the visuals may or may not have. Do I agree with that assessment, though? To a degree, yes.
From a strictly shallow viewpoint, Hellboy is definitely iconic. You would be able to tell this just by muting the television, or heck, even by pausing the movie. The way he looks is iconic enough, but with the sound on, it gets even more iconic with the way he sounds and acts. He is an original character by all counts, and he isn’t the only one. Most of the other characters are equally as memorable, iconic, and important to the overall progression of the story. They work together well as a team, with chemistry that is decent, albeit nothing revolutionary. There’s nothing wrong in the people category. I wouldn’t really say I felt like these actors were the only people who could pull off the characters, like most would claim, though. I would argue instead that problems arise in the storytelling.
As a superhero film, whether that character is or is not traditional, the story isn’t very concrete or clear as a whole. In general, this story seems to be a “business-as-usual” situation for Hellboy’s character, which turns out to be more difficult than imagined, and the rest of the movie is just Hellboy finishing the job that he didn’t finish earlier on, so it’s a lot of repetitive sequences, in my opinion. So, in general, there’s not really a plan of action on how to defeat the big bad, even though a big bad does exist. The progression in this film is often situational and not so much by design.
When looking at the movie as a whole, I can at the very least say the movie surprised me, since it is worthwhile…to a degree. Even if the story is crap, which it’s not, you still have a group of iconic characters, which actually gives me hope for the 2019 remake. People have been slandering that like nothing else, which worried me. But seeing how several characters are memorable in their own right, it’s hard not to hold out hope for greatness in other movies. Time will tell though. As it is, this movie was decent, albeit average.
TOTAL SCORE – 75%
Current 2004 Rankings:
15th Place out of 47 Movies
8th Place out of 15 Movies
3rd Place out of 8 Movies
PEOPLE SCORE (16/20)
Acting (2/4) | Characters (4/4) | Casting (3/4) | Importance (4/4) | Chemistry (3/4)
WRITING SCORE (6/10)
Dialogue (1/2) | Balance (1/2) | Story Depth (0/2) | Originality (2/2) | Concept (2/2)
BEHIND-THE-SCENES SCORE (6/10)
Visuals (1/2) | Cinematography (1/2) | Editing (1/2) | Advertising (2/2) | Music & Sound (1/2)
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE (7/10)
Introduction (2/2) | Inciting Incident (1/2) | Obstacles (1/2) | Climax (2/2) | Resolution (1/2)
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE (5/10)
Rewatchability (1/2) | Fun Experience (2/2) | Impulse to Buy or Own (0/2) | Impulse to Talk About or Recommend (1/2) | Engaging & Riveting (1/2)
SPECIALTY SCORE (35/40)
Hellboy Character (10/10) | Action (5/10) | Adaptation (10/10) | Halfway Decent (10/10)