Wednesday, May 27, 2009

!~~~ Hell or heaven for comic fans? ~~~!

I love watching cartoons - I generally prefer the animated variety, but sometimes the ones in real life provide much more entertainment

When a movie on a superhero is made, the obvious audience would be the people who have read the storybook / comic book. But very few superhero movies do ’real’ justice to their fans. The most common ’sin’ committed - if I may use the word - is to chop off parts of the story - or to twist some facts to suit the director. If the story is intact, the animation isn’t surreal because it is ’too detailed’ for the big screen - all this is done in the name of ’appealing’ to the movie going audience.

This is such a downer because while making the movie, they forget one important thing - the target ’audience’ for superhero movies is people who like reading the comic books - it is people who like the attention to details. In ordinary words - they are ’nerds’ like me !

So how does Hellboy fare in my exacting standards? Read on people...... read on !

First things first - I have to confess that I have not read the ’Hellboy’ comic book, but I have read enough comic books to know comic books. And knowing comic books is vital to review a super hero movie because the ’nerd’ in me knows what to look out for in such a movie.

It is the final days
of World War II, the Germans and Russians combine modern science and ancient evil and build a machine to open a portal to the ’other’ world to bring forth the destruction of Earth. Ofcourse, if we have Russians and Germans colluding, the Americans can’t be far behind now, can they! The movie opens with a battalion of U.S. soldiers and a scientist/professor traveling together to thwart the evil plan of their enemies. Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, who is the American expert on magic and sorcery is at first mocked by the US military who think all this is just mumbo-jumbo. However as they reach the Island in Scotland that houses the device, the young professor is shocked to see Grigori Rasputin. His presence signifies something even more big than what he had anticipated.

Grigori Rasputin is a Russian mystic who plans awaken the Ogdru Jahad - The Seven monstrous Gods of Chaos. Helping him are his aides Ilsa von Haupstein and Karl Ruprecht Kroenen. Karl is a much touted killer in Hitler’s military! This man is seemingly invincible and many attempts to kill him, including shooting him in the head, have been futile. Just before operating the machine, Ilsa is made immortal with everlasting youth and beauty by Rasputin in exchange for eternal servitude.

When the machine starts, the Americans soldiers are awestuck by the spectacle that they witness. Not realising the gravity of the situation, they start whispering and they are found out. A fight erupts just when Rasputin starts to open the portal to the other world!
What will happen next?

Will the Americans be able to save the destruction of the Earth at the hands of the evil Rasputin? or will Rasputin succeed in his scheme and be able to awaken the Ogdru Jahad? Does Rasputin have any other vested plans? Who is Karl Ruprecht Kroenen? Is he really invincible? Who is Hellboy and how does he figure in this scheme of things? Watch this movie to know the answers....

What I loved about this movie is that Mexican director Guillermo del Toro has done complete justice to the Dark Horse Comic book - Hellboy: Seed of Destruction by Mike Mignola.

What I didn’t like about the movie?
I didn’t like the attempts of the central character at humor and wit ! He is like that guy who tries too much to get the girl of his dreams that his wheels are spinning in place - he generates a lot of smoke without any fire - those of you who have seen the movie will know what I’m talking about... the rest can remember these lines and try to recollect them when they do see the movie :-)

Clearly if every guy in hell has the wit and charm like the hero of our book/movie, I’d say the girls who like guys should start being good - they certainly don’t wanna go to hell, bcoz they’d be bored out of their wits! But then its hell - maybe that is God’s way of punishing them evil girls :D

Why am I recommending a movie whose central character lacks suave? Read the next para !!

The feel that one gets while enjoying the comic book like reading the dialogs in the voice bubbles, reading the narration written at the top to enhance the description of the scene, the various shadows cast by the animators to create suspense and fear, the elaborate attention to various minute details in the plot that the reader can see after reading the comic umpteen number of times, the rich feel of the vibrant colours in the book, various characters like a group of policemen - some big and burly while others a little old with a family background (the ones you feel sad when they are killed), the gruesome creatures that make you cringe and wonder - Can the superhero survive this fearsome invincible thing?

All of these aspects - that make a good comic book have been authentically recreated in the movie without any compromise. I felt like I am reading a comic book on the screen !! For this satiating experience to the nerd in me, I give the director and the animators 10/10 !
If you worship comics and want to see justice being done to your religion, don’t miss this movie !

An important point to note is that none of the actors are well-known celebs. For comic based movies, getting big names in quite unnecessary because besides the actors being covered in a veil of costumes and makeup, the story is the main hero. Almost all the actors in the movie have a biography of similar movies. Full points to Jeremy Zimmermann for casting aptly.

The Art direction in the movie is A+ as are the costumes. It is due to this that the authentic comic book feel has been successfully retained. Full points to Marco Bittner Rosser, Peter Francis and James Hambidge for the Art and to Wendy Partridge for the Costumes.

For a list of complete cast, please see

The movie won the 2004 Best Director - Feature Film - Imagen Award and the 2005 Saturn Award for
Best Make-Up. Both were well deserved, IMO.
For other nominations please visit

my verdict?

For the average movie audience it is a 3 star movie. For someone big on comic books, it is a 4 star movie. For someone who loved to see justice being done to comics in movies, it is a 5 star movie !!
You know who you are...

!! Spike !!

This review was first published here by me.


sujata said...

From Action to Comic book Action on screen..quite a lot of reviews. Liked the reviews of the Three films in between. thanks for joining the blog.

Vyzz said...

i really like hellboy..wat fun!



Serendipity said...

:D F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C Review!

I love Hellboy!!


well .. i dont hav too much interest in comic n such type of movies..
still its a 3 star movie for me.. :D

PurpleHeart said...

Superman was the only super-hero comic I have read. I later switched to lighter stuff.The movie spiderman was a revelation, though.NIce review there, but I guess my interests have long diverted from super heros, but definitely not from comics!

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Sujata,
Yep.. I love writing movie reviews. Your blog makes for an interesting read. Very different for me :-)

Hi Vyzz,
yea.. it is.

Hi B,

Hi Sahityika,
Have you watched it?

Hi Sandy,
Interesting comment. Have you watched the batman movie, Dark Knight?

AD said...

i m not even close to being a fan but this is actually WOW

eye-in-sty-in said...

really? You seem to have watched it :-) I'm impressed.

avdi said...

This one I will see only if bambino drags me to it..

eye-in-sty-in said...

lol @ bambino :-)

Anonymous said...

I recall this review in MS.
I had a special mention in that :)
Good to read it again.
Btw, have you seen Watchmen ?

eye-in-sty-in said...

Yep - its from there. word 4 word. I have not seen Watchmen. Am I missing a nice movie? I heard contradicting things about it!!