A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
Based on Michael Mignola's popular comic book series about a secret military unit that battles evil supernatural forces, the animated HELLBOY: SWORD OF STORMS follows the team to Japan, where a professor has become possessed by the twin demons of thunder and lightning, who were imprisoned long ago within a magical sword. The title character, Hellboy (voiced by Ron Perlman, who also starred in the live-action film), is the team's strongest member and its biggest secret, because he's a real demon, captured as a baby and raised to fight for good. With bright red skin, horns, a resistance to flame, and plenty of attitude, Hellboy has no patience for evil spirits. When Hellboy picks up the weapon, he's transported to a mystical land populated by monsters straight out of Japanese mythology who urge him to break the sword and free the demons. Though doing just that is Hellboy's only way back to the real world, the two vindictive spirits will almost certainly destroy the planet if loosed.
Is it any good?
This highly entertaining animated film is true to the spirit of Mignola's brooding comic series, and the writers have clearly done their homework when it comes to Japanese folklore. But don't make the mistake of thinking that since it's a cartoon, it must be for children. Though the violence is stylized and comic-like, the film has some complex themes, and the overall mood is pretty dark, making it a good fit for older tweens and up.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it means to be good. The main character, Hellboy, is -- quite literally -- a demon. And although he's been raised by the good guys and taught from birth to combat dark forces, there's no getting around the fact that he looks like the quintessential demonic spirit, with bright red skin, an oversized fist just perfect for smashing things, and a seriously grumpy attitude. How do others perceive him? Why is it important not to judge people based on how they look on the outside? Families who've seen the live-action Hellboy movie can also compare the two films -- which is a better representation of the original comic? Why?
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