ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The comic geek perspective
By Christopher Hodge
You know you’re in trouble when you’re watching the film adaptation
of the comic book Hellboy and you realize you’ve become the comic book
guy from The Simpsons. “Worst adaptation ever,” you mutter as you
watch Hollywood butcher another comic book.
If you’re a fan of the original comic series, Hellboy delivers a lot
of smoke, but no fire. It’s a failed attempt to translate a great comic — with
a small but loyal following — into a big Hollywood blockbuster.
This isn’t to suggest that the problem stems from bad casting. Far from
it — Perlman was born to play Hellboy. But without a decent screenplay,
even the best cast can’t keep a plot this full of holes afloat.
The problem with Hellboy is that it fails to capture the gothic feel of the
original series. It’s too full of CGI special effects, and too polished
to do the premise justice. If the creators understood what made the original
work, they would have known that an airy shadow is a million times more effective
than a bug-eyed computer generated monster; which is surprising considering
the comic’s creator Mike Mignola has an associate producer credit.
There are a few other notable flaws in the film. In the comic, Professor Bruttenholm
doesn’t make it past page 15. Plus, Dr. Kroenen is not a super Nazi ninja
goon; he’s an evil scientist.
In fact, almost none of the original plot from “Seed of Destruction” is
used. And again, this might have something to do with where director del Toro
wanted to take the Hellboy franchise. It’s remarkably similar in appearance
to his previous attempt at a film inspired by a comic book, Blade II.
However, the oddest discrepancy between the two is the relationship between
Hellboy and Liz Sherman (Blair). In the comic, there was never any attempt
to establish a fling between Hellboy and Liz — yet for some reason, it’s
in the film. Perhaps the creators of the film felt it would give Hellboy more
depth; that it might appeal to those in the audience who like a little lovin’ in
their demonic superhero stories.
Whatever the reason, the romance just doesn’t work. Hellboy’s
infatuation with Liz is like the scene in Howard the Duck where Lea Thompson
makes out with a jive-talking duck; it’s just too strange.