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Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Canada

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Hellboy

Chris Campbell

Comic books are fertile ground for film adaptation now. With the development of special effects and the success of some recent big-budget comic book films there are a lot out there so Hellboy is emerging into a crowded field. Ten years ago Mike Mignola's Hellboy premiered as a comic. I've only looked at some of the online comics, but it's a distinctive comic with a great central character. Now Guillermo del Toro has brought Hellboy to the screen and I had a great time. What makes the film so successful though is Ron Perlman's performance as the red hero. While buried under makeup and in a muscle suit, he still brings a lot to the role. He's a bit complex and lovable. How couldn't you love a hero who has Tom Waits playing in the background when we first see him. Being the first Hellboy movie (I'm sure that there will be more), we have the origin story which means the first part of the film is heavy on exposition. But when John Hurt appears it helps things out a lot. It's important when things are a bit implausible to have a solid British actor to take the edge off. Hurt is great and with Perlman it brings a lot more to the whole package than simply an adaptation. With a comic book film there are lots of things that can fall flat, but Hellboy does a great job at pulling everything together into a fun package. In Perlman's capable hands it doesn't feel like he's throwing out clever lines on cue, but they're part of his character and he rises above the guy in a suit and makeup that this type of film is always in danger of becoming. One other thing that I loved about the film was the music...which wasn't the generic superhero orchestral mix but a bit funkier with Tom Waits and a version of a Nick Cave song that made it fun to listen to as well.