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movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Hellboy

Starring: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair
Director: Guillermo Del Toro
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 132 Minutes
Release Date: April 2004
Genres: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Doug Jones, John Hurt, Rupert Evans, Corey Johnson, Karel Roden, Brian Caspe, James Babson, Biddy Hodson, Jeffrey Tambor, Santiago Segura

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

Egad! It's April and the monster-mash comic-book movies have already burst into bloom. Six comic book adaptations are scheduled for release this year, including "The Punisher," "Catwoman," "Spider-Man 2," "Man-Thing" and "Blade: Trinity." Let's start with "Hellboy."

According to Mike Mignola's Dark Horse Comics, Hellboy (Ron Perlman) was born as the spawn of Satan 60 years ago, during World War II. He was brought to Earth by the maniacal monk Grigori Rasputin (Karel Roden). Destined to be a harbinger of the apocalypse, Hellboy was rescued by Professor Trevor Broom (John Hurt), founder of the FBI's secret B.P.R.D. (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense), who raised him like a son, nurtured his super-hero gifts and convinced him to join the good guys against Rasputin, whose evil warriors include Hitler's assassin Kroenen (Ladislav Beran) and the indestructible Sammael (Brian Steele). While Hellboy is fond of cats and chocolate bars, he's cared for by a conflicted new recruit, Agent John Myer (Rupert Evans), and his cohorts include a telepathic amphibian, Abe Sapien (Doug Jones, using David Hyde Pierce's voice), and a troubled pyrokinetic, Liz Sherman (Selma Blair).

Combining CG with matte paintings, models and animatronics, writer/director Guillermo del Toro fosters the fun and ingenuity that fuel this often-confusing horror fantasy. There are cinematic influences from "X-Men," "The X-Files," "Star Wars" and Ron Perlman's own "Beauty and the Beast" TV series. Yet it's Perlman who steals the show, evoking the humanity and humor beneath the leathery prosthetics and grungy appendages. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Hellboy" is a grotesque, violent, demonic 7 - for its target audience. Expect a sequel.

Copyright 2004 Susan Granger

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