When I heard that Hellboy was going to be given a reboot, my initial mood was disappointment. The original Hellboy films by Guillermo Del Toro were fantastic and strange, with standout performances by Ron Perlman as the titular character and Doug Jones as Abe Sapien.
Unfortunately, they were never more than modest hits at the box office so a conclusion to that film series was hopeful optimism at best. Hollywood tends to love reboots regardless of when the original was initially released, but it was honestly surprising to see that Hellboy would be given the reboot treatment, with the selling point being that it would be a hard “R” and faithful to its source material.
(Credit to Lionsgate)
Good news is, it looks like the humor and charm will be retained from the original film series. David Harbour is an underrated actor and even though he has the tough task of following Ron Perlman, I think he is a great choice for the character with his deadpan delivery. Even though Hellboy looks pretty strange in the reboot, mostly his face, I’ve no doubt that that David Harbour will carry the torch admirably. He tends to thrive in these types of tortured and conflicted roles, see Stranger Things for example and you’ll understand.
Bad news is, this trailer makes the film seem woefully generic. An ancient evil awakens threatening the sanctity of the world, and the BRPD will be there to put a stop to it. Chaos, havoc, and the potential destruction of major metropolitan cities have been done before in a number of comic book films, and Hellboy looks to be following suit. This also looks to be a CGI-fest, which is also disappointing because of the practical effects used in the original.
Neil Marshall, whose made a name in the horror industry with films like The Descent and Doomsday, will take the reins from Del Toro, and hopefully he’ll inject some tension and horror into the film. The trailer highlights the action for the most part, but outside of a few monsters and what looks to be a generic portal scene, the horror aspect was lacking. Hellboy isn’t your average superhero, he is practically a supernatural detective and it would’ve been nice to emphasize the horror aspects of the film, if there are any.
If this Hellboy reboot happens to be a generic comic book film, then this would obviously be a massive disappointment. Obscure series tend to have a difficult time at the box office, because they might be too weird or they were marketed incorrectly. This trailer, just seems to project your run-of-the-mill comic book film that just happens to be rated R. No amount of gore would save this film from flopping, a strong performance by the central cast would just be wasted.
I’ve always felt that Hellboy worked best as a series, there are so many stories that could be told about him and the other members of the BRPD, that one film could never do the character justice. Some of the best stories are those that focus on the characters themselves as they try to understand their place in the world, as they are supernatural oddities that don’t quite fit in.
Hopefully, this film will be more than just a generic action film. I expect with Neil Marshall at the helm that there will be more horror aspects and surprises in store for audiences as there has to be more under the surface. Some trailers tend to showcase the general vibe of the movie and if that’s unfortunately the case, then Hellboy could fall flat on its face upon release. This of course, would then beg the question as to why Del Toro was never given the opportunity to finish his take on series and while that type of drama would be appreciated, it may put the series in limbo. Nobody wants that, Hellboy is awesome.
Hellboy drops on April 12.