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Category: Horror News

HELLBOY TEASER TRAILER DETAILS

Steven Davies Posted: 18 November, 2003 at 10:14 AM GMT
Author: Steven Davies

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HELLBOY TEASER TRAILER DETAILS

The crew at CountingDown is happy to present you with a first description of the trailer for 'Hellboy'! Here's a clip from the full article, describing how much you'll see of Abe Sapien in the trailer:

'David 'Typhon24' Server here once again, with yet another update on Guillermo del Toro's upcoming 'Hellboy' movie. As you should all know pretty well by now, I'm damn excited for this flick. Much like many other devoted Hell-fans out there, I love the unique style and utter bizarreness of Mike Mignola's 'Hellboy' comics, and think that it's both crazy and pretty darned amazing that Hollywood decided to take a chance on Big Red...and a $60 million dollar chance at that! I've been covering the movie pretty heavily, and everything I've seen and heard tells me that this movie is being done right and then some. So when I was offered an early look at the upcoming trailer for the film (set to be attached to 'The Missing' on November 26th), y'know how I replied? Say it with me...HELL YEAH!!!

Now that I've seen it, what can I say but...wow. It's a doozy, I've gotta say. I did not take down a shot-by-shot list of the whole trailer, so as not to spoil *everything*, but I will attempt to give my most thorough impressions of what I saw. I really dug it. Not much of a surprise, I know, but I think you guys will agree with me on this one when you see it. I could spend a paragraph typing in hyperbole all in caps, but I think I will sidestep that part for all your sakes (you're welcome) and get to actual descriptions of what I saw, along with some commentary, as well as the occasional nugget provided exclusively to CountingDown.com by the film's director, Guillermo del Toro. First and foremost, as a blanket observation, it's worth noting that the trailer is aimed more towards the uninitiated because, let's face it, that's pretty much everybody. We Hellboy fans are few and far between, and hopefully the film will change that. But the trailer centers more around where Hellboy works, the government organization entitled the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD for short), more so than Hellboy's origin and his personal arc in the film.

It starts off with FBI Agent John Meyers (Rupert Evans) approaching the steel gates of a nondescript government complex. As a retinal scanner checks him in at the gate, the monitor flashes quickly to the Revolution Studios logo, and then grants Meyers access to the building. Moving his way down a long silver-gray hallway and onto a square floor panel with a circular logo of a hand holding a sword, Meyers is told by a security guard to 'watch your arms and elbows'. Meyers looks confused, and then startled as the panel begins to descend and reveals itself as a secret elevator, bringing him to the lower levels of the Bureau. Interspersed with this footage are titles (superimposed over a spinning silver BPRD logo) which explain that the BPRD is a secret government organization that protects humanity from the paranormal. 'There are things that go bump in the night, Agent Meyers,' says the elderly Professor Broom (John Hurt), Hellboy's caretaker and 'father' in the film. 'We are the ones who bump back.' All very cool so far. I was a little surprised at the fact that the trailer frames the story much more around the BPRD than Hellboy (for the record, he is a demon summoned by the Russian Monk Rasputin and the Nazis during WWII, who has flipped over to the US Government), but del Toro explained that it was determined that there is enough weird stuff going on in this movie that using the BPRD angle in the theatrical trailer would make things less complicated for general audiences' first exposure to the material. Makes sense -- the trailer brings to mind shades of 'Men in Black' or 'X-Files' in concept, which should be easy for most mainstream folks to relate to, no matter how weird the characters are (and they're plenty weird). To make sure that all angles of the film are dealt with in the advertising campaign, however, the plan is to eventually have 4 specific TV spots, each dealing with a different aspect of the film's narrative: one dealing with Hellboy's personal story, one dealing with the strained romantic relationship between Hellboy (Ron Perlman) and Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), one dealing with the horror elements of the film (probably by using the villains), and a final one playing up the heroes of the BPRD team. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a Superbowl spot for the flick, intended for spreading the word to as many folks as possible.

Getting back to the footage, we are then introduced to the various heroes of the BPRD as Broom invites Meyers to 'meet the rest of the team'. First off, we have Liz Sherman (Blair), a woman who can create and control fire. Her powers are not explained, but are shown. 'Don't worry -- she'll take care of you', Hellboy chides Meyers. Two shots of Liz that stuck out the most were a quiet introspective moment when a gentle blue flame runs slowly up her hand, and in contrast, a much more 'kick-ass' money shot where both her fists are blazing full power flame-jets -- Pyro from the X-Men should watch his ass. Next we come to the psychic half-fish/half-man Abe Sapien (Doug Jones), Hellboy's friend and fellow freak. We get some very nice shots of Abe, one quick flash of him swimming through murky green water, and one shot of him floating upside down in a tank at BPRD HQ. There's also a pretty cool shot of Abe's huge fish-eyes 'blinking', which is achieved via computer generated imagery -- a nifty effect. Abe also speaks a little in the trailer; 'If there's trouble, all us freaks have is each other,' Abe tells Liz. In another shot, Abe grazes a large museum door with his palm, 'scanning' it telepathically, and informs Hellboy, 'Behind this door...ancient evil!' However, it is not the voice of actor/mime Doug Jones, who provides Abe's physical performance in the film, but the voice of actor David Hyde Pierce (Niles on 'Frasier'), who literally just took on the vocal portion of the role a few weeks ago. I asked del Toro what Hyde-Pierce thought of the obviously strange role, and he told me that the actor loved Abe Sapien (his personality and his character design), especially his relationship with Hellboy. He was surprised by how much emotion there was in the script, because these types of movies are usually all-action. He's also been somewhat of a perfectionist in his voice-recording sessions so far, making sure that his deliveries are pure Abe, and not too 'Niles Crane-sounding'. From what little is revealed in the trailer, Doug Jones' physical skills and Hyde-Pierce's vocal talent should combine to create a wonderful depiction of the character. Finally, we come to Hellboy himself, played by Ron Perlman. As previously noted, the trailer doesn't feature him as heavily as you might expect, what with him being the title character and all, but even this brief amount of footage here reinforces del Toro's adamant support of Perlman getting the role over such bigger name actors as Vin Diesel or The Rock. Hellboy looks and sounds great -- larger than life and twice as cranky. Perlman seems to have the swagger down pat, and there are also some awesome CG enhanced shots off Hellboy jumping from rooftop to rooftop through the misty smog of New York City, his trench coat and tail fluttering behind him, and then landing and slamming the Right Hand of Doom into the ground, rumbling the camera. Now *that's* Hellboy, folks -- things that go bump in the night beware.

Next we come to the villains, the mad monk Rasputin and his evil henchmen. They are more or less downplayed in the trailer, opting to provide each of them one great, clear shot, but never explaining who they are or what their evil plot is. There's a great, VERY Mignola-esque shot of Rasputin, completely surrounded in shadows, as well as one quick shot of him with his Mecha-Glove on (the technology he uses to summon Hellboy as a baby during the film's opening sequence), crackling with blue energy. There are also a couple of quick shots of the gas-mask clad Nazi henchman Kroenen, where he's swinging his nifty dual-bladed nightstick weapons (don't know what they're called). One of my favorite things in the trailer would have to be the brief but GREAT shots of Hellboy's demonic opponent, Sammael. He's a savage drooling beastie created by a combination of computer graphics, puppetry, and costume-work, and he's been largely kept under wraps so far...he looks utterly fantastic! I like to think of him as one part gorilla, and one part crocodile, and one part Cthulu demon. There's one shot of him roaring at passing cars in the middle of a crowded street which lets you see him in all his glory for the first time in the film's ad campaign. He's clearly going to be a breakaway element in the flick, and he just jumped to the top of the list of things I'm most excited for. In terms of the villains' plan, other than the fact that 'they tried to destroy the world over 50 years ago and now they're back', the specifics of who they are and what they're trying to do are left mysterious. We do see a quick shot of Rasputin and Kroenen activating the 'Ragnarok Engine', but most of you who haven't read the comic books probably have no idea what that means, so basically all you can tell about what they're planning is that it involves a huge whirly metal machine and a lot of sinister bright blue energy. What little they show looks good, but they are definitely underplayed here in favor of the good guys. Del Toro seems really pleased with how the villains are looking with the aid of post-production tweaks, especially Sammael, whose various parts (elements filmed on set now being augmented with computer graphics) are coming together really effectively -- he is to 'Hellboy' what the Reapers were to 'Blade II'. And we all remember how cool those Reapers were, so that's really saying something.

Some of the other stuff worth noting includes some quick footage of actor Jeffrey Tambor as Dr. Tom Manning, the reluctant director of the Bureau, complaining that Hellboy is going out in public too often, and that he's running out of lies to explain him. We briefly glimpse Manning on some kind of talk show, as the host uses a pointer to analyze a blurry photo of Hellboy jumping (a shot which was previously released on the film's official website). Despite the fact that Tambor was brought on as a last minute replacement for actor Larry Miller (who had to leave due to scheduling conflicts), del Toro says that he's thrilled with Tambor's work in the film, and that he brings a distinct approach to the cantankerous character that really pops. The fight scenes look pretty solid, too -- we glimpse a quick battle between Hellboy and Sammael in the NYC subway tunnels (which looked particularly familiar to me, and you should know why if you've checked out our set reports), where Sammael unsuccessfully swings a claw at Hellboy ('You missed!'). Monster on monster brawls are always a plus. Other groovy shots to keep an eye out for include a quiet moment between Abe Sapien and Liz while Abe floats upside down in his containment tank, and a quick series of shots of Hellboy locking and loading his weaponry in preparation for a fight ('Guess I better go say hi,' quips Hellboy as he cocks his gigantic gun, the Samaritan). Fun fact -- don't look for The Corpse (a reanimated Russian torso who briefly aids our heroes) in this trailer -- the MPAA has deemed him inappropriate for the trailer. Can't imagine why, but for whatever reason, he's absent in the footage here.

The music was not quickly familiar to me (a kinda action-with-a-hint-of-techno tune), so I checked if it was the final score from composer Marco Beltrami (Blade II), but del Toro says it's just some filler music the trailer folks dug up. It's very effective, though -- it plays up the action on display in the latter portion of the trailer very well, which is a plus because after the set-up of the BPRD, the trailer is definitely cut for adrenaline. The film looks much bigger and epic than you might expect from a $60 million dollar budget, and the trailer plays that up a lot. The film just feels big. A nice example of this: in the final shot, Agent Meyers asks Hellboy (whose horn stubs seem to have curiously grown out just a little longer at this shot) if he'll be ok. Hellboy responds, 'How big can it be?' in reference to an unseen foe. I'm gonna leave that last shot unrevealed, but you should know that A.) 'it' can be really big, and B.) Lovecraft fans are gonna be thrilled with what comes next. Oh, and the new tagline? THIS SPRING -- GIVE EVIL HELL. Much catchier than the previous one, 'From the Other Side...to Our Side', in my opinion.

Fans should breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the colors and lighting in the trailer definitely have the feel of Mike Mignola's comic book, with certain shots seeming like they were pulled right off the page (like the aforementioned shot of Rasputin in the shadows). This is no easy task to accomplish, however, according to del Toro. The film requires meticulous digital color timing, a process where you digitally correct the color palette of the film, to make sure everything is just right. As any fan of 'Hellboy' creator/artist Mike Mignola will tell you, color (especially black) can be crucial in his work, as Mignola has a tendency to bathe his characters and settings in deep black shadows. Accordingly, del Toro and his team have been busy making sure that the blacks are all appropriately rich, and that Hellboy is the exact correct shade of red (the color is an 'elusive motherf**ker' for color timing, noted del Toro). Other elements which were given special attention during the color timing process included making sure that the blue/yellow contrasts were brought out appropriately in the BPRD headquarters, and double checking that adjusting Hellboy's shade of red would never affect the darkness of the shadows cast over HB's eyes by his trademark furrowed brow.

That's all I have to say about the things which I can talk about, namely the trailer...I was shown some other stuff...It was bitchin'. But I've sworn an oath of silence, so I must cut myself off there. I wish I could say more, but suffice to say I was reduced to a giddy bubbling fanboy after all was said and done. But that's beside the point. The point is that the trailer, Hellboy's first 'reveal' to John Q. Public, is really good. I can only speak as someone who is familiar with the material, but I can verify that the movie looks like it should make us Hellboy fans proud. It would also seem to me that, in focusing on one specific aspect of the flick (namely Hellboy in relation to the BPRD) instead of trying to cover everything in 2 minutes or so, the trailer appropriately presents the odd fun of the movie without getting too confusing for your average filmgoer. Time will tell if I'm right on that count. Regardless, the film continues to look like the flick to keep an eye out for come next spring. I hope this was a sufficiently detailed rundown of what to expect from the trailer -- I guarantee that you're in for a treat next week, folks. But I sure as hell wish April 2nd were tomorrow.'

Courtesy of Counting Down

Article sponsored by: Horror Stock   Visit here for original content services for your genre site or publication.




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Steven Davies Posted: 18 November, 2003 at 10:14 AM GMT
Author: Steven Davies

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