Hellboy (2019) Recap

Jamie

Hellboy is going through some serious existential shit at the same time that an evil witch, Nimue, is resurrected with the goal of bringing about death and destruction. Can Hellboy come to grips with the idea that he is a monster who has been chosen to live while all other monsters are doomed to death (oh and also save the world) before it’s too late? Find out in… Hellboy.

How?! When Hellboy goes off to find a missing friend in Mexico he finds him turned into a vampire and is forced to kill him. Let’s just say this isn’t ideal and causes him to spiral into an existential crisis as he realizes that he, a monster from Hell, is somehow allowed to be part of the BPRD’s occult crime-fighting biz, while other monsters are killed with little remorse. This unfortunately also coincides with the resurrection of a powerful witch named Nimue in England. Hellboy is sent there under the guise of fighting some giants with the Osiris Club, but is ambushed and nearly killed. Fortunately a psychic girl, Alice, who he saved in his past, is able to find and rescue him. The BPRD swoop in and team Hellboy up with MI11 and they go back to the Osiris Club to see what up with that ambush shit. Turns out they’re all dead and the spirit of the Osiris Club’s seer tells Hellboy that he is the key to Nimue’s plans so he better watch out. Hellboy’s real moody now that he knows all about his origin and how gritty it is and tries to walk out but is instead transported to Baba Yaga’s house (and she’s extra gross). She expounds some serious exposition on us and tells Hellboy the whole plan. Using this info they are able to confront Nimue right when she’s resurrected, but she is able to poison Alice and escape and start destroying the world. Hellboy takes Alice to a extremely old Merlin (Jesus this is complicated) and is like “bro, save her.” He’s like sure (and does) but is then like “take Excalibur and become all powerful, baby.” But Hellboy refuses because he’s a monster and Merlin turns to dust. Going back to confront Nimue again he becomes enraged when Nimue kills his adoptive father. This time he takes Excalibur and seems to be on the verge of causing the apocalypse until Alice channels his dad and he uses the rage to instead kill Nimue and dispose of Excalibur. After that they are a great team and ready to fight in a bunch of sequels. THE END.

Why?! Lot to unpack in this one. Not for the bad guy, she’s just evil and wants to end humanity. Hellboy though is Mopey McMoperson the whole time because he can’t come to grips with who he is. He sees himself as a monster and yet he goes around killing all the other monsters in the world… so why is he any better? Why was he the one that was saved? Because he can’t figure this out and no one wants to talk about it he becomes more and more angry. Only at the end when the gh-gh-gh-ghost of his father tells him why he was saved is he able to put that conflict behind him so that they don’t have to deal with that shit in the sequel.

Who?! So much potential in this film in some of our favorite categories, but none to be seen really. I should probably point out that this film was one of the latest examples of a film getting in hot water over casting. They originally cast Ed Skrein as Daimio, which was met with outrage as the character in the comic books is of Asian decent. As a result Skrein dropped out and Daniel Dae Kim jumped in. Kim was good, so worked out fine I think.

What?! As Patrick mentions, I’m sure there are some product placements here, but it’s hard to notice those in a Live film unless it’s a Mark Wahlberg film where he’s contractually obligated to drink Bud Light on screen for at least 30 seconds. I will give Excalibur a little MacGuffin shoutout, just because this magical sword popped up no less than three times in the film. Nimue gets killed by Excalibur twice! Twice! If you already got killed by Excalibur once before you probably shouldn’t use it in your latest plan to take over the world… because they will probably just use it to kill you again.

Where?! After starting off with a bang in Mexico and Colorado, Hellboy flies to England to take on the witch and basically stays there the rest of the time… kinda like The Mummy. Everything comes back to The Mummy. Now that I think about it Tom Cruise was kinda taking on a similar type of witch/mummy character in that one. Are we sure these weren’t the same scripts? I’m gonna put it up to an A- because they incorporated Excalibur and Merlin… are we sure this also wasn’t the same script as Transformers: The Last Knight?

When?! Middle of August actually. Usually when I watch something in the theaters it’s 50-50 whether I catch the temporal setting. This time, though, you see that the wrestling match he interrupts in Mexico takes place near the beginning of August. Later there is an August calendar visible, so I’m pretty confident in the setting. C+.

Much like The Mummy (which I found startlingly similar to this film in tone and execution), I felt like this film is getting such bad reviews because it fumbled expectations of a new franchise. In both cases I felt like the visuals and potential for future films were actually interesting, but the writing was awful and they got bogged down with starting up a franchise rather than just making something good and worrying about that later. We spend the entire film with Hellboy trying to understand his place in the world. He really gets into it and mopes around the entire time. A film series that’s supposed to be super fun is instead just dark and brooding and gory. Still though I feel like this should have at least been appreciated for some of the visuals, in particular the Baba Yaga scene, which is straight horror and really striking. Sometimes I feel like these franchise films are graded on a binary scale. Like “they delivered what people want” or “they did not deliver.” This is certainly the latter, but I still think it has worth and I do wish the franchise would continue. And not in a “I hope they keep making Fifty Shades films for BMT’s sake,” kind of way. Like I actually wish they would because I think it has the potential to be good. But they won’t. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! After four harrowing months waiting with bated breath we did it … we watched a film in theaters, the Hellboy remake! I’m going to add a little analysis at the end related to why basically BMT is dying and everything is terrible. But for now … the recap. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I think given the odd things I had heard about Neil Marshall’s behavior during the making of the film (basically f-ing off to Bulgaria for months with his girlfriend, slapping the film together, and butting heads with David Harbour) the main thing I wanted to pay attention to was how the film kind of came together and looked in general. David Harbour also had big shoes to fill from Ron Perlman, so his performance was of great interest.

The Good – I actually like Milla Jovovich’s performance. The creature designs were really really good with a lot of thought put into even minor featured characters like the giants, the monsters that take over London in the end, Baba Yaga, and the vampire in the beginning. A lot of cool visuals from that perspective. Before completely trashing the movie in the next section I should say I liked this film more than something like The Predator, where my hatred for it grew slowly for a week after seeing it. I feel comfortable with just saying Hellboy is not good as opposed to absolutely terrible.

The Bad – The film definitely leans into the gore-for-the-sake-of-gore, and vulgarity-for-the-sake-of-vulgarity. Not as much as reviews suggested maybe, but enough that it became aggravating by the end. This movie looks like complete crap at times. Mostly in the multiple completely unnecessary and terrible flashbacks that pepper the film. There are legitimately maybe six flashbacks. You can indeed tell they had and wanted to reshoot a good chunk of this, and I would guess it didn’t pan out quite like they hoped. The film as a whole feels like a Netflix series compressed into a few hours, all the way down to the low budget cast which … most are really not very good to be honest.

The BMT – Hmmmm. If they actually somehow make the third Del Toro film this will have that as a fun note, a reboot in the middle of another series. Maybe it’ll end up as a strange note as a bad comic book film in the age of the MCU? But no, despite the online reviews and the terrible critical reviews I don’t think this has the legs to last. Then again … as you’ll see there aren’t any bad films in 2019 so maybe this will actually be the worst one out there … that would be crazy.

Roast-radamus – There was some weird product placements maybe, rewatching the trailer there are definitely some conspicuous Monster Energy cans. I won’t count it. There was probably a car, but I couldn’t see it live. There are a ton of settings, but I definitely think a Where? (Setting as a character) could go to England with the finale in St. Paul’s in London, King Arthur’s sword coming into play, and the crew traipsing across the countryside in the second half of the film. Despite King Arthur’s sword being in the film, it kind of comes in too late to be a MacGuffin, but I do think a What? (Chekov’s Blank) could go to Chekov’s Mysterious Green Liquid for the medicine which keeps the were-…leopard (?) from becoming a leopard. Spoiler, he becomes a were-leopard. And naturally this very much qualified for Live.

Live Analysis – In lieu of the street cred section (which can’t really be discussed this early) I’ll instead go a bit into why this year so far has been so concerning for bad films. In 2017 by the end of April there were 20 films released widely with less than 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2018 there were 19. In 2019? … 7. It is a problem. Replicas, Serenity, Miss Bala, A Madea Family Funeral, and Wonder Park also didn’t have coinciding US and UK releases leaving us with only two options. Glass (which barely qualifies with 37.3%) and now Hellboy. It is insane, especially considering May, June, and July had 12 and 5 qualifying films in 2017 and 2018. I have a feeling we’ll have less than 15 films seven months into 2019. And I just don’t see how we get to 52 films by the end of the year without a bumper summer crop of bad films. Needless to say we are looking into options to deal with the situation.

Live Theater Rating – I’m actually a bit embarrassed. I really only could go to a single showing after going to Scotland for a week holiday last week and once I got to the theater … it was 4D. And I paid out of the nose for it. And I didn’t really want Hellboy to be my first 4D showing. That all being said, 4D is a theater with moving seats with little puffs of air and other exciting bits and I have to be honest … it was kind of fun? I definitely felt more engaged in the action scenes. And of all the films I guess you can do worse than Hellboy which has a kind of unrelenting set of action scenes one after the other. I guess the main complaint is that it is fun in small doses, but gets tiresome quickly … and then you are stuck there for like 2 hours with your chair shaking. I liked it more than I thought I would though. I’ll grade it a B with a demerit for being way too expensive and making me sad.

That’s it! Phew, long one. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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