Hellboy * Guillermo del Toro * 2004

For some reason I thought that the title referred to some Japanese action film, but nothing is less true. Now with the new film of Del Toro in the cinemas, attention is drawn to his older work. I saw a trailer of the new “El Laberinto del Fauno” (strangely translated as “Pan’s Labyrinth” for the international release), first thought that it was some kind of fantasy for children, but when I later read the reviews, it seems that it is actually an impressive fantasy for adults. The same can be said about “Hellboy”. If I had to tag the film, it would be something like: “a (political) sci-fi fantasy comedy”. A what? “Political” is between brackets. The Nazis are dragged it, but I don’t think that the film as a whole has much of a message. “Sci-fi” because of the laboratory, etc. “Fantasy” is obvious and “comedy” because the film has a wonderfull sense of humour and more than just a random joke here and there. The story then. The Nazis open a gate to another world and this in order to get forces here for the destruction of the world. A little red ape falls in the hands of a (good) scientist who later has some secret monster division of the FBI, monsters fighting monsters. There is a nice thick layer of religion and occultism in the film (but not really ‘deep going’), great costumes and stages and a simple but effective story with good scenes and acting. “Hellboy” is unlike almost any other film and in this regard refreshing; maybe not a brilliant top-film, but definately very enjoyable.

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