What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie contains frightening images, a dark and at times macabre tone, and the sad death of a central character. There is a great deal of violence in the fight scenes, which are at times bloody, and characters must wrestle with the deadly consequences of their actions. A scary character is addicted to self-surgery, while one of the creatures summoned by the Nazis is a Hell-hound that will frighten younger audiences. Several characters (including one major character) die violent deaths. The inability of one of the characters to control her powers causes the off-screen death of innocents, which might frighten even the most mature of audiences.
What's the story?
Based on Mike Mignola's comic book series, HELLBOY centers on the titular anti-hero, who has the body of a Hell-spawned demon and the heart of a human. The film depicts how Hellboy made it to Earth as a child, then forwards to the present, in which the adult Hellboy is the supersized ward of Dr. Broom and the Bureau for Paranomal Research and Defense (BPRD). Cigar-munching, cat-loving Hellboy (Ron Perlman) has a huge stone hand and forearm that help him to pummel baddies. He is their most famous inmate, despite the fact that the U.S. government does its best to deny that Hellboy exists. When evil Russian villain Rasputin, his goons, and some rather nasty Hounds of Hell try to bring the Gods of Chaos to Earth, it's time to call in Hellboy & Co. Hellboy is endearingly human, with a penchant for wiseguy understatement and his love for his adopted family of misfits at the Bureau, especially doe-eyed and dangerous Liz Sherman (Selma Blair). They seem literally made for each other as the woman who has trouble controlling her pyrotechnics wouldn't want a boyfriend who wasn't fireproof.
Is it any good?
Director Guillermo Del Toro's Blade 2 blazed with whirling swords, back-flipping vampires and frenetic action, at times rendering the fights an incomprehensible blur. Del Toro does not make that error again, introducing a comparatively sleepy pace for Hellboy that seems to stretch its 132 minute length into a much longer movie, padded in parts by unnecessary and cliched scenes and overkill in the squiggly monsters in dripping cavernous cellars category.
To his credit, he captures some of the visual color, tone, and, yes, beauty of the comic book, but he sometimes makes you feel like you are reading it over someone else's shoulder and that person takes too long to finish a page.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the father-son bond between Dr. Broom and Hellboy, why they fight and how this relationship impacts both of their characters. The movie touches on an issue that runs throughout the comic book series, that of Hellboy's commitment to defense of humans despite his demon form. What does being human mean for Hellboy? Where does he have the power of choice?