worth paying full price - Hellboy

We went to see Hellboy tonight. Though I'd never even heard of the comic book before I saw the previews for the movie, the second I learned it was directed by Guillermo del Toro, I knew I'd want to go see it just as soon as it opened. Del Toro made one of my all-time favorite ghost movies, The Devil's Backbone, as well as another creepy movie I just loved: Cronos. Plus he made Blade II and Mimic, while not the best, were nevertheless movies I liked a lot.

Damn, was Hellboy ever good!

Ron Perlman played Hellboy ... Perlman seems to land in any number of weird movies (City of Lost Children, another weirdly, superbly done, wonderful movie that comes to mind) playing a freak of nature of some kind. Pretty much great at playing slightly over the top characters. (Remember him as Vincent in Beauty and the Beast?) Here he did a good job--kind of a Bruce Willis-esque monster. You know, the wisecracking reluctant hero type ("just doin' my job.") Selma Blair played firestarter Liz Sherman -- loved her scenes of mayhem and destruction!

My favorite character, though, is Abraham Sapien, this kind of man/fish. The voice was David Hyde Pierce, and the rest was Doug Jones. Oh, and I loved Kroenen (played by some Czech guy?) -- his character alone was scarier than any of the monsters.

The movie took off right from the beginning, and somehow deftly managed to fill in the Hellboy tyros among us. John Hurt was, as usual, great as Professor Bruttenholm. Rasputin was suitably seductive and evil. This film was just made right, and I wonder if anyone else BUT Del Toro could've made it this well.

I loved the cities under the cities: the subway tunnels, both used and abandoned, under New York and the other place I won't give away, located in Moscow. The look was very noir, the story very much Dark City, the world beneath the world, and also is very strongly influenced by Metropolis, so much so that it almost seemed to be a "what-if" version of that movie as if it had been made post-WWII instead of in 1929.

As most comic book tales are, it's a tale of good and evil, growing up, making choices -- just damned good fun and beautifully filmed (by Guillermo Navarro, who also filmed The Devil's Backbone and Cronos) instead of all preachy. Del Toro clearly loves his monsters, his freaks, loving them for their defects (as John Myers, Hellboy's guide-in-training -- played very well by Rupert Evans -- phrased it).

Just go see it.

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