At least so it seems.
This weekend we have the release of the “reboot” of Hellboy. Gone are director Guillermo Del Toro and star Ron Perlman and in their places we have director Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent, Doomsday, among others), David Harbour (Stranger Things) in the titular role, and Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil) as the evil Blood Queen.
Unlike many out there, I was no HUGE fan of the original two Del Toro Hellboy movies. To me, the first one seemed like it was heavily studio mandated and, frankly, was kinda bland. The second, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, felt to me like a case of having waaaaaay too much going on. While clearly a superior film to the first in almost all ways, it featured too many “big” set-pieces/climaxes. By the time we got to the movie’s actual climax, I was exhausted.
And yet, I’m a fan of Hellboy. I feel Mike Mignola’s comic books featuring the character are among the most brilliant modern comics out there.
So when I heard that the new Hellboy movie was in the works, and that Mr. Mignola was involved in the screenplay, I was intrigued. Perhaps, I felt, this time around they could fine tune the formula and make a movie that really “works” around the quirky character.
Unfortunately, as the trailers for the film appeared, my hopes quickly faded and, when the “red band” trailer appeared, they were all but dashed…
This… this just didn’t look at all like what I was hoping. Cheap CGI effects, cheap makeup effects (sorry, but Mr. Harbour’s Hellboy makeup looks like a major step down from what was used on Ron Perlman in the original two films), and jokey Ash vs The Evil Dead type humor/gore.
Now, mind you, I really enjoyed Ash vs The Evil Dead, but that was very much its own thing and it’s depressing to see the makers of this movie seem to have wanted to crib a little (who knows just how much) of that into their own version of Hellboy. That isn’t what the character was ever about.
Seeing the trailers, I realized this new film was most certainly not looking like something I was going to invest my time in, at least not until it reached the home video market. I still hoped it would be a decent film, if Hellboy only in name.
Welp, it appears that critics who have seen the film aren’t impressed with what they’ve witnessed, either. If you go over to its listing on rottentomatoes.com (you can click here) the film is currently tracking along a truly bad 12% positive among 58 professional reviews (the number of reviews isn’t sufficient, yet, to get a consensus for rottentomatoes, though I suspect when such a consensus is drawn it won’t be all that much -if at all!- better).
A real shame and something that gives me no pleasure at all in seeing.
Maybe we’ll eventually get a third, better incarnation (ouch) of the character at some point in the future?