FIRST LOOK AT HELLBOY
Even though Guillermo del Toro's recent surgery prevented the writer/director from attending the FANGORIA's Weekend of Horrors held this past weekend ('I feel fine!' del Toro jokes), he still invited Fango to his offices in the Sherman Oaks Galleria today to catch a sneak peek at an unfinished assembly of his new film HELLBOY, set to hit theaters from Sony and Revolution Studios April 2.
The impressive-looking film is lavishly shot in shades of gold, blue and grays depending on the section of the movie, and has one of the most beautiful looks thus far given to a comic book adaptation. The color palette, meant to reflect the Mike Mignola comic book (del Toro showed Fango a 'visual notes' memo he compiled at the beginning of the shoot to pass out to everyone, with specific HELLBOY comic panels highlighted for their color schemes), provides a vivid backdrop to the 'big red guy'?Hellboy himself, whose own color is constantly being highlighted or muted by his surroundings.
The plot borrows a bit from the first HELLBOY comic series, Seed of Destruction, in which Hellboy is born during World War II and summoned by Nazis, but ultimately rescued by the Americans (with the help of a Baby Ruth candy bar, no less) and Dr. Broom (John Hurt), who adopts the little guy. Over the next few decades, Hellboy (Ron Perlman) ages far slower than his human counterparts, so he still has the mindset of a teenager, though he looks like a man. Locked away in the BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) and only let out to do battle with the various monsters that exist in the mortal plane, Hellboy pines for his love, the pyro-enhanced Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), who has never quite come to terms with her ability to create fire and, well, explode. When Rasputin (Karel Roden), the aged Russian prophet who helped the Nazis conjure Hellboy in the first place, comes a-calling to try and use Hellboy to take over/destroy the Earth, many monsters are released, Hellboy is forced to kick a lot of ass and...well, we won't give away too much of the plot.
The Rick Baker Hellboy makeup, as seen in the already-in-theaters trailer, is pretty remarkable, and Perlman is unrecognizable, effectively becoming Hellboy for the film. The character's 'look' changes from scene to scene, sometimes with the demon wearing his trademark trenchcoat and no shirt, sometimes with a shirt and trenchcoat and sometimes bare-chested. Though Hellboy keeps his horns sanded down in the film?as in the comic?there are scenes in the movie that show Hellboy with full horns. On top of that, Abe Sapien (Doug Jones, voiced by David Hyde Pierce) is also a full body makeup job that works rather well, whether underwater or walking around on land.
Though there are other monsters, including the recurring and ever-able-to-reproduce-ad-infinitum Sammael and then a Cthulhu-like behemoth, the breakout character from HELLBOY would have to be Kroenen, a Nazi assassin played alternately in the film by a dancer, a contortionist and a martial artist/stuntman. The multi-talented Kroenen is Rasputin's main henchman, a silent, masked semi-cyborg who was almost killed decades before, but has replaced his hand and parts of his body with clockwork parts and is now more powerful than ever. He wields twin police-style nightsticks that he's able to use with great aplomb.
Though the film's FX weren't completely done in this version, enough were completed to provide a look at a number of trademark HELLBOY shots, such as the title hero fighting against great Cthulhu-inspired tentacles ('I haven't seen a great tentacle fight since 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA,' explains del Toro) while wielding a giant sword. On top of that, the punchy, short-breathed Hellboy dialogue ('Aw, crap') is all here and uttered with a constantly annoyed delivery by Perlman that is pitch-perfect to what you'd imagine Hellboy's personality to be from the comic.
With two and a half months to go to complete the CGI and looping and put on the score, HELLBOY looks remarkably complete, likely due to the number of in-camera FX del Toro chose to use in the film. All in all, the movie looks like a truly great bit of monstermaking with a really strong and well-executed story, multidimensional characterizations, some amazing creature designs, a lot of Mignola-style dark humor and a truly beautiful look.
Courtesy of Fangoria