R, 2h, Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi
Now available on DVD, Blu-Ray, 4K HD and all major streaming platforms
The 2019 remake of “Hellboy” is one of those movies that mildly entertains you during its two hour run time, but is forgettable almost immediately after the film ends. It makes little effort to elevate itself above the impressive production design, fancy FX and great creature makeup, with the lone exception being a solid turn as the Great Red Beast by actor David Harbour. As our local Walmart Supercenter sets out displays with hundreds of new copies of “Hellboy” 2019 to purchase, let’s dive in to see if this is a “Buy It” or “Rent It” type disc.
With a plethora of remakes of movies that are barely a decade old, the question that is posed almost immediately upon viewing is “why?” Why make this film? Especially when the creative team behind the first two “Hellboy” films (Director Guillermo del Toro, actor Ron Perlman, etc.) were actively attempting to make a third entry in the beloved original series up until just two years ago.
Apparently the gist of the story revolves around studios not wanting to pony up the $120 million budget to produce the next film in Del Toro’s trilogy. So what we got was a cliffhanger in “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” that was never paid off and a reboot that ended up losing between $75-$100 million when all advertising is considered, so it’s a wash anyway.
The new film isn’t bad per se, it’s just that it brings nothing fresh to what came before. Besides Harbour’s entertaining turn with the horns, most characters are one dimensional, the villains are stock and the story is a bit of a slog, which says a lot when you have brilliantly designed creatures, big fight sequences and blood being splattered at the camera every five minutes.
And it is bloody. Director Neil Marshall (“Doomsday”) is a known member of the “Splat Pack,” throwing as much carnage at the screen as an “R” rating will allow. It’s not particularly gross or scary this time, though. It just feels tired.
The presentation of the 4K Ultra HD disc that Lionsgate supplied us with was superb. The image is crisp, with a nice color palette that pops, even for a darker film like this.
The special features include a pre-visualization sequence as well as the 70 minute “Tales of the Wild Hunt: Hellboy Reborn” making-of documentary, which is the type of feature I wish most studios still spent the time and effort to produce. The three deleted scenes add little to the story and it makes sense they were removed from the final cut of the film. All in all, fans of this film will be happy with these special features.
The “making of” documentary points out that this film is more faithful to the source material, but that doesn’t always make a better movie. Also, the first two films had filmmaker Guillermo del Toro as their director, who is a world class filmmaker that knew how to adapt the original comic books into two successful movies. This version has some of the same issues some of the DC comics films (“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Justice League”) have struggled with, where the material is dark but the story and humanity feels empty.
The new “Hellboy” sets up a sequel, but this incarnation won’t get one.
Recommendation: Rent It.