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Hellboy: Blood & Iron
Writen by Tectonic
Posted on June 12, 2007 at 12:47:19 am

Hellboy: Blood & Iron

by Tectonic

June 10, 2007

 

With anticipation rising for the release of Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, “Hellboy: Blood & Iron” is a great way to take the edge off.  For those craving more big-fisted brawling from our favorite Beast of the Apocalypse, “Blood & Iron” is a sure way to get your fix.

For those that enjoyed the movie but might not be avid readers of the comic, know that all the major voice talent is carrying over into the animated endeavors.  Yes, that’s right: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, John Hurt – all credited right on the cover, so if you enjoyed the classic verbal banter from the movie, you can be sure to find more.  For the diehard fans, Mike Mignola (creator of Hellboy) and Guillermo Del Toro (writer/director of the Hellboy movie) helmed the project personally, so you can expect their determination for greatness.

While not boasting the best of animation qualities, the fact that they crammed in as many extras as possible into the DVD, this is a must-buy for all Hellboy fans.

 

The Story

Hellboy, Liz, and Abe venture to a millionaire’s new estate he claims is haunted.  Suspecting an old vampire ‘friend’ from the past is behind it, Bruttenholm ventures to the house with them.  But don’t worry – the professor may be old but he’s not stupid; armed with a wooden steak, holy water, and calculated determinedness, the eldest member of the BRPD is going to be sure she stays dead this time.

 

While you might think this is too easy an assignment for Hellboy and crew, you’ll find yourself sadly mistaken when Hecate, the Goddess of Witches, emerges to tempt Hellboy.  If he can’t be tempted, she’s come prepared to serve unholy judgment on the demon spawn-turned-demon killer.  Hellboy, bored from playing Ghostbusters, is more than up for the challenge.

 

            What’s great about this plot is that the story starts off like a classic horror B-film out of the 70s or 80s.  The BRPD gang file into the house, set up the heat sensors and motion cameras, but these guys have seen it all so they start joking about poltergeists and cold spots.  Bruttenholm’s original run-in with this particular vampire priestess is woven into the story ala Memento, and while it starts off by feeding the classic cinema approach, it gets tiresome near the end of the film.  Thankfully, by then guns are blazing, Liz is blazing, and big red fists are being swung around, so it only at worst gives you a break between action scenes.


 

The Art

While obviously not as pretty looking as the comic itself (hey, it’s animated – whatcha gonna do?) the mystic feel of the comic is still intact.  Backdrops are beautifully painted in rich dark colors, so to really enjoy this movie, drop the blinds, cut the lights and turn up the bass.  Otherwise, it’s actually kind of hard to see what’s going on.

 

Each character is shaped so drastically different from the next, that it’s great to see them all in one room together.  Mignola obviously took his time making sure that each character was very distinguishable from the next even though he couldn’t take his time with each shot.

 

The one problem?  This movie seems to suffer from being under-budgeted – which is crazy as it’s a great investment as a lead up to the next Hellboy feature film due next year.  The problem is that they’re so under-budgeted it makes the action scenes look bad.  Not super-bad, it just seems outdated, like it was made in the 90s.  Mignola and Del Toro did a great job with the funds they got, but if you were expecting beautifully done action scenes, best to wait for the next feature film.

 

Does this make the film un-enjoyable?  Dear me, no.  Just watching Hellboy beat Hecate’s obnoxious face in as she continues to spew Bond-villain quality one-liners makes up for the lack of fluid motion.  Everything else about this movie is done so artfully, you might not even notice.

 

 …And The Package
           Though this DVD is selling for standard prices, it’s packed with as many extras as a special edition!  Expect typical features like commentary, behind-the-scenes, and even Professor Bruttenholm’s story told in chronological order, but there’s much more than that.  Inside there’s a short bit of action called “Iron Shoes” with an introduction by Mike.  Also there’s an E-Comic exclusive called “The Pananggalan” and a short paper comic inside the box called “The Yearning”.

 

 Overall Impression
           While not as spectacular as the feature film, “Hellboy: Blood & Iron” is worth purchasing for any fan of the comics, and certainly worth at least renting for any fan of the movies.



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