Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Man, I'm lazy

Not really. Life has been busy lately, and with me trying to pay my car off, work has been keeping me away from home for the most part. So, apologies for the lack of updates, but I assure you I have a ton o' stuff to throw on you.

There's a few comics that I've been meaning to weigh in on, along with a few movies, and quite a few interesting columns I've discovered.

I think I'll talk movies first, starting with a film that's fresh in my mind:


Man, wasn't Ron Perlman perfect for this part?

Yes, yes he was.

There may be some spoilers coming up, so be advised.....

Okay, I'll start at the beginning. It (the beginning) was goofy as hell, and it immediately looked as if the movie were going to be a letdown. The biggest problem at the start? The Nazis don't speak German. Yeah. What the hell? But, it can be forgiven, unfortuantely the "origin" of Hellboy comes off as one cheesy sequence of events, and just lets you down.

Cut to the present day, and fortunately it gets better. The revelation that Broom is dying seemd cliched, and in the end, completely unimportant, not to mention pointless. Not exactly sure why it was left in, but it can be ovelooked. John Hurt gives a great performance overall, and it's truly ashame he wasn't around longer.

From here we meet Agent Myers, played splendidly by Rupert Evans. Now, I see why and how this character was meant to be important to the plot. He's the new guy, the outsider, and as such is the viewers eyes and ears into the world of the B.P.R.D. Unfortunately, like alot of the movie, this isn't achieved well. Mostly, like some of the audience, Myers gets completely lost in the story, and seems to spend a good portion of it confused.

Now, Myers was brought in as Hellboy's new "caretaker" since Broom is dying (yeah, I know that's why that info was left in, but I'm still not sure why the scenes explaining it were.) and his introduction and subsequent reaction to Big Red is obviously meant to mirror our own feelings, unfortunately, for me at least, it didn't.

I think the fact that Hellboy is mentally still a child wasn't played up enough in the film, as it definitely would've made the audience understand alot of his actions more. There are a few really good moments between Myers and HB at the beginning, and while the one liners may come off a bit cheesy, I kept in mind that that's kind of what a fourteen year old would say to his new "step-father" and in that context I think it works out fine.

Now, as for Abe Sapien, (who Myers meets first, oddly enough) his character came off without a hitch. He was vulnerable, yet you stil felt like he was heroic. Despite knowing he was indeed weak, Abe still strove to do the right thing, and take whatever good or bad came his way. This was not played up enough in the film. I think an audience could really connect on an emotional level with a character like this, and sadly he doesn't get near enough screen time.

I think Meyers reaction to Abe was much more accurate than his towards Hellboy. Abe is quite scary when you think about it. He knows everything, he's smarter than you'll ever be, his origins and motivations are a mystery for the most part, and he can read your mind. On top of all that he's a walking, talking fish. Yeah, imagine meeting someone like that, and you would be a bit scared.

Fortunately, unlike Myers, the audience does get a bit more bonding time with Abe, but not nearly enough.

Moving on...

Ah, the villians. What can be said about the villians? Not much unfortunately. Frome head to toe, a complete cliche, and outside of Kroenen, not interesting in the least. This could've been rectified, but it would've added much more length to the film, which I'm sure the studio wouldn't accept. Ladislov Beran plays Kroenen to a T, and like Perlman, was perfect for the part. Unfortunately he follows in Abe's footsteps and has too little screen time. (Side not, he reminded me of Ray Park's Darth Maul. A villian that ends up being one of the coolest aspects of the movie, only to get shafted on screen time, and dispatched entirely too easy.)

Rasputin is every madman who's ever tried his hand at world domination, and Ilsa is his beloved, who will follow him to the ends of the Earth, and to Hell and back. Why are they doing this? We don't know. Now, the mystical villians they are trying to conjure are quite cool, but downplayed alot, and aside from a few mentions of who they are, they never get explained.

This is definitely the weakest aspect of the film, in my opinion. The most important thing to remember about villians is that they never think they are the villian(s). Look at M. Night's Unbreakable. That's how a villian should be written. But, they serve their purpose, like most action movie/sci-fi bad guys, and just give the heroe(s) someone to beat up.

The other major character, Liz Sherman, played by the oddly semi-attractive Selma Blair, is quite possibly the most pointless addition to a cast since Storm in the first X-Men film. Liz could very well have been a great character, even with someone as untalented as Blair playing the part, but much like the villians, she lacks the emotinal depth one needs to really connect with her.

Like most female parts in action films, she's there to give the hero someone to love and rescue. Cliche, cliche, cliche. This movie suffers from many of them. I did think that Big Red's feeling towards her came off fantastic, and Perlman played it perfectly. Remember what it was like to be in love at 14? When you practically stalked the girl, and thought every guy she talked to was her next boyfriend. Yeah, it came off perfectly, and quite frankly, funny as hell.

Jeffrey Tambor gives a hell (no pun intended) of a performance as Dr. Manning, who basically oversees the B.P.R.D. His scenes with Hellboy are fantastic and just flat out funny. Their love/hate relationship plays out great, and it was a true surprise in the film.

The plot itself was a bit off, in my opinion. However, I did like Hellboys point of view, or attitude towards most of it. He's a kid who's practically invinceable, and he knows it. He'll throw himself off building, wrestle monsters, punch cars, endanger bystanders, all to get the job done. IUn the end, that's the way he sees it. This is his job, this is what he does. Everyday is the end of the world for him, and he doesn't treat this particular case with any kind of awe or amazement. It's just another day. He's 14, and he's certain there will be a tomorrow. After all, he's invinceable.

I think alot of people didn't understand that for the most part. The movie doesn't come off as important in the scheme of things, and aside from the fact that Rasputin is out to ruin HB's life and take out a few of his friends, it really isn't. It's just like every other day (or week/month, etc.) of his life, and he treats it as such.

To wrap it up, all in all, Hellboy is a standard action/sci-fi flick. Enjoyable for the most part, lacking in alot of areas though. A few solid performances make it worthwhile, and I honestly hope there's a sequel. Remember how much X-Men sucked compared to it's successor? Not every film can be a masterpiece, sometimes you just have to settle for getting your point across, and I for one think Del Toro and company did a decent enough job that we should applaud their bullseye's and accept their misses for what they are, and not beat them over the head with them.

Wow, that was lengthy, and it's well past my bedtime. More tomorrow.


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