Hellboy - the Director's Cut - on DVD
If movies were named appropriately, Hellboy would have been called Heckboy.
Its a good, well-made movie, but its not quite as badass as it
would have you believe.
The three-disc Director's Cut features an extra 12 minutes of footage and a
bonus disc of extras. The audio and video of the movie itself appear to be the
same as on the previous version, with the new scenes brought into the mix flawlessly.
The 12 extra minutes include some more character development with Myers (Rupert
Evans) and Liz (Selma Blair), a few seconds here and there of random stuff,
and plenty more fun with Rasputin. The Rasputin character is filled-out a little
more here, and comes across as more of a tortured soul than just a typical bad
guy. Even though we were often unsure of whether or not a scene was new or old,
we found the Directors Cut to be a better film than the original. It felt
more complete, with fewer unanswered questions.
During World War II, Rasputin (yeah, the Russian dude), working with the Nazis,
opened a portal to a very nasty place. During the time the portal was open,
something came through. That something turns out to be Hellboy (Ron
Perlman), the spawn of the dark lord, whose destiny is to bring about the Apocalypse.
Fortunately, before the bad guys can get to him, hes discovered and then
raised by Professor Broom (John Hurt), one of the bigwigs in the Bureau for
Paranormal Research and Defense. This takes the evil edge off him and makes
him as much of a "real boy" as you could hope for considering who and what he
Years later, as Hellboy sightings continue, Rasputin (Karel Roden) returns
for another crack at Apocalyptic-style hellraising. Hellboys all grown
up now and has a bit of an attitude problem, but hes the only one who
can take care of all the wacky stuff thats going on. He works together
with Abe Sapien (voiced by David Hyde Pierce), a fish man with some wicked ESP,
Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), a pyrokinetic, and John Myers (Rupert Evans), his
Before they battle Rasputin, they must fight Kroenen and the hounds of resurrection
and save the helpless kittens from almost certain doom.
The movie is pretty good, but you cant deny the fact that youd
expect a lot more out of a character named Hellboy. Sure hes tough, and
hes got an arm made out of concrete, but he doesnt have nearly the
kind of power a boy from hell should. His battles generally consist of him getting
thrown around a lot, but doing something at the last second that takes care
of the bad guy.
Even the action scenes are sub par. The only really cool parts are also in
the trailer, in which he punches an SUV and it flips several times before landing
behind him, and he says the words how big could it be? as a huge
tentacle grabs him and pulls him away. Other than that, everything is pretty
Its still kind of fun though, due to the extreme comic-style story and
One might say that the idea of Rasputin working with the Nazis to open a portal
that will bring about the Apocalypse is rather absurd, not to mention the fact
that he gets resurrected from a pool of blood and theres a dude full of
sand with no lips or eyelids. But, if youre willing to accept it for what
it is and just have a good time, its a pretty good little "super hero"
The movie barely made back more that it cost, but despite that Hellboy still
gets the best special edition to come from Columbia Tristar in many moons. Presented
in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the picture quality is outstanding, with rich
and brilliant colors and no grain. There are plenty of dark bits, but you never
have trouble making out the smallest details. The movie looks great, and the
DVD makes it look even better.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is a bit disappointing. Theres too much
bass, and the surrounds dont do much at all. Even though theres
plenty of action, the rear speakers seem turned down to about a tenth the volume
of the front channels.
At least the separation in the front speakers is done well enough that there
are no other complaints.
Disc two is identical to disc two in the two-disc version, and disc one is
the same with the exception of a new audio commentary by director/screenwriter
Guillermo Del Toro. Hes not the most engaging speaker, but theres
no doubt he loves Hellboy (the comic and the movie) and is very pleased with
the end result.
Disc one starts off with a 25 second introduction by screenwriter/director
Guillermo Del Toro, in which he tells us whats on disc one. He also teams
up with Mike Mignola, the creator of the comic book, for an audio commentary.
The two discuss the origins of the character, differences between the two media,
casting, special effects, and all that jazz.
The second audio commentary features Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor
and Rupert Evans, in which they talk about everything related and non-related
to the movie. Disc one also features some branching DVD comics drawn by Mike
Mignola, some Right Hand of Doom set visits, a storyboard track
and some Gerald McBoing Boing animated shorts.
Disc two begins with an equally short introduction by Selma Blair, who seems
like shed rather be anywhere else. Hellboy: The Seeds of Creation
is a 2 ½ hour making-of documentary thats almost better than the
movie. Theres not a single aspect of production (pre, post, or otherwise)
you wont find covered here, and its great for aspiring filmmakers.
There are a few deleted scenes with optional commentary by Del Toro. They
total about seven minutes, with varying results. Del Toro also wrote some character
bios for the disc, and rounding things out are some animatics, storyboard comparisons,
3-D sculptures video gallery, poster explorations, and trailers.
Disc three begins with a 25-second introduction by Ron Perlman, in which he
briefly goes through whats on the disc. There is a cast video commentary
that includes Perlman, Blair, Evans, and Jeffrey Tambor, and it's fun but forgettable.
Twenty minutes of production workshops are included, which focus on makeup,
lighting techniques, and special effects. Probably the best extra is the 23-minute
Q & A with Del Toro, Perlman, and creator Mike Mignola at the 2002 ComicCon.
It took place before shooting of the film began, so its just a heartfelt
chat with the principal players in which they discuss their plans for bringing
the comic to the big screen. Finally, theres a Quick Guide to Understanding
Comics with Scott McCloud, a directors notebook, photo galleries, art
galleries, and some trailers.
If you dont already own Hellboy, this is the version to buy. The extra
footage makes for a better movie than the theatrical version, but the bonus
disc doesnt feature anything too exciting.
Hellboy: Directors Cut, from Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
132 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor, Karel Roden, Rupert Evans
and John Hurt
Produced by Lawrence Gordon, Mike Richardson, Lloyd Levin
Screenplay by Guillermo Del Toro, Directed by Guillermo Del Toro
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