Guillermo del Toro
Release: 2 Apr. 04
BY: DAVID PERRY
Based on a semi-popular spate of comics by Mike Mignola,
Hellboy continues to prove that the abilities of the much richer D.C. and
Marvel comic book empires are likely to make the only truly watchable film
adaptations (with one exception, underground comic-come-movie Ghost World).
Although Hellboy is as overdone as some comic fanboy may prefer, its charms
are lost on anyone more likely to read all 576 pages of Crime and Punishment
than the 67-page graphic novelization.
I donít necessarily mean to disregard the entire medium, but my absence of
understanding of many of the film recreations of comics comes in large part
from my ignorance to the source materialís merits. I trust that The League
of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell are great graphic novels, even if
their cinematic counterparts are crap. Hellboy, though, never even feels
like it might have a superior version sitting in some comic book haven in
the outskirts of the city. This is a dull premise with dull characters Ė-
nothing even remotely inventive seems to exist, which is opposite of
Spider-Man and X-Men, two recent reevaluations of the cross-media event
picture as blockbuster.
The historical contextualizing, I suppose, is whatís meant to linger with
Hellboy, but nothing here is smarter or wittier than The League of
Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the complexities of physics or biology seems a
distant high school memory for the people involved. Why do these films have
to be so recklessly made and haphazardly structured? Do they just think
audiences are too stupid to care, or are they still enjoying the fact that
films like these have a base audience that will keep coming back, long after
Daredevil and The Hulk?