Reviewed by: William Foote
David Hyde Pierce
|Director||Guillermo del Toro—“Blade II,” “Mimic”|
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “…a supernatural, action-adventure based on Mike Magnolia’s acclaimed Dark Horse Comics series of the same name. Born in the flames of hell 60 years ago during World War II, Hellboy was brought to Earth by evil madman Grigori Rasputin to perpetrate evil. Destined to be a harbinger of the apocalypse, Hellboy was rescued by Allied Forces led by Professor Broom, founder of the clandestine B.P.R.D. (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense), who raised him like a son and developed his extraordinary paranormal gifts. Despite his dark origins, Hellboy becomes an unlikely champion of good, battling the evil forces that threaten our world.”
Well, once again Hitler and his Nazi henchmen are blamed (or at east used) for the attempted loosing of unspeakable evil upon the world, as at the height of World War II, Hitler’s evil occultist, Kroenen gives up his soul by aiding the unkillable and very evil Grigari Rasputin to unlock the Gate of Hell and usher the hosts of Satan into the world.
Fortunately for humanity, a brave band of GI’s thwart the evil plans and close the portal, but not before one baby demon (affectionatly named Hellboy) slips through. He is lovingly raised by Professor Trevor Broom, founder of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD). Teaming up with Liz Sherman, a human who has the power to turn into a human fire ball, Abe Sapien, a mer-man creature with psychic powers, and a very human FBI agent John Meyers, Hellboy becomes the champion of good as he battles the evil forces eventually released upon the world by Rasputin and Kroenen.
Unfortunately, Hellboy continues the same humanistic world view theme that we have seen so frequently in recent comic book movies (The Hulk, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), i.e., man is morally good and has the power to prevail over evil.
According to Hellboy, the evil “all began in 1944.” (In reality, God’s Word said it all began before the foundations of the world were laid when Satan was filled with pride over his own beauty and God cast him out of Heaven along with his fellow fallen angels (now demons) according to Ezk. 28:16-17. See Relevant Issues section of this page.)
The closest the movie came to any Biblical reference of righteousness was from an off screen narrator who intoned, “In the absense of light darkness prevails.” As believers, we should remember that Christ was “the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4-5).
Occultic themes run rampant through out the movie. Although there is a universal acceptance of supernatural evil, demons and Hell, the token reference to God comes in the negative as one evil character intones, “Your God chooses to remain silent, mine lives.” As believers we need to remember that God is not silent, in fact he “has spoken” (Psalm 50). Further references to Christ, angels or heaven are undeniably missing.
For a short period there is an unspoken reliance by Professor Broom (and later by Agent Meyers) on the implied saving power of a Rosary string which somehow seems to save Meyers, but not the professor, from death at the hands of the evil Kroenen.
The movie is extremely violent throughout, including shootings, stabbings and burnings, however, gore is minimal. There is no sex or nudity at all. And although present, the use of profanity is surprisingly infrequent. I counted 3 uses of Jesus name, 2 “Oh my G*d,” 1 G*d D*mn, 1 G*d, 1 cr*p. Hellboy smokes a lit cigar throughout most of the movie.
The movie does portray evil as totally undesirable, and all of the evil characters are eventually done away with by the movie’s end. Goodness and love are portrayed as desirable and are exemplified in the character of Hellboy in his relationship with his human father and his friends. The producers and director apparently took a cue from the failure of “The Hulk” and cast a live actor, Ron Pearlman for the part. Good move. He stole the show. Even though the story line was very predictable, it was well acted. The special effects, on set and computer generated, were top notch and the casting/acting made the movie work.
As an adult, I enjoyed the subtle humor most of which was scripted to Hellboy—like taking counsel on his love relationship with Liz Sherman from a young boy over cookies and milk. After pensively considering the boy’s counsel, he returned to his senses, reminding himself and the boy that “your only 9 years old.”
This is a guy movie. Hellboy will certainly appeal to young teen age boys and possibly some older fans of Dark Horse Comic books from whence the Hellboy fame came. If your teens see this film, I suggest that you spend some time afterwards sharing the real truth about Evil and Righteousness from God’s Word.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: None