A supposed seven foot, red skinned, horns on his head and stone right hand isn’t scary right? Especially, when he is a demon from the underworld. It’s okay though, he has a soft side and favors Baby Ruth candy bars.
Based on the graphic novel, Hellboy: Seed of Destruction, the film adaptation HellBoy (2004) loosely follows the same storyline of a demon baby taken into the care of Professor Bruttenholm after coming out of a dimensional portal. Named Hellboy, he becomes a special agent of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD). Like any human being, Hellboy deals with a broken heart for a woman he loves, jealousy, slight father issues and of course saving the world from supernatural entities.
Played by Ron Perlman, Hellboy has a natural sarcastic and witty sense of humor and Perlman only adds to the character who inhibits the same type of character. His voice is also a nice touch The film also has the incredible Selma Blair as Liz Sherman, a pyrokinetic who becomes the one Hellboy must save. The film combines humor, action and the supernatural in a way that felt natural and entertaining to watch.
The film itself had good reviews with Guillermo Del Toro’s visuals adding to the witty humor and action. The sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, was also praised with it stunning visuals in a supernatural setting. The Hellboy films became an epitome representation of the red skinned comic book character.
In 2019, Hellboy was reimagined. Originally planned as a sequel to the first two installments, the film became a reboot after Del Toro was not offered the same creative role. Subsequently, Perlman refused to reprise his role if Del Toro was not involved.
The film takes a deviation from the original films by cutting out characters such as Liz Sherman (Blair) and Abe Sapien (Doug Jones). Instead, they followed a storyline introducing the blood queen Vivienne Nimue (Milla Jovovich) who wants to plague the world as she planned in 517 A.D. It is up to the BPRD, a medium and Hellboy to save the day.
Taking on the role of Hellboy is Stranger Things actor David Harbour. There were mixed reactions as people felt that Perlman was the perfect portrayal of Hellboy. The film was received with mixed reviews with Hellboy having a more defined and furrowed brow expression to his face. Despite the film dialogue still having a witty sense of humor, critics felt the film was unnecessarily gory and tried to have a darker edge that did not deliver. Critics also felt the film created a mess of combining folklore, gruesome battles and humor.
Overall, putting the films head to head seems unfair and fan bases have a clear winner. When visualizing a red demon with samurai like hair, we all picture the same film.
Hellboy (2004) Vs. Hellboy (2019): Image Credit: Columbia Pictures