||DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1
COLUMBIA TRISTAR has released “HELLBOY” as a “Special Edition”.
While having no expectations after seeing an ineffective theatrical
trailer, this reviewer was extremely surprised to find a comic book
adaptation so filled with originality, passion, and tight direction,
that it ranks up there with “X MEN” and “SPIDERMAN” among the best
comic-book adaptations so far. The phenomenal opening sequence
revolves around allies in WW2, whom with the assistance of paranormal
investigator Profess Bruttenhom, thwart a Nazi experiment to open a
portal to Hell with the assistance of the “undead” Grigori Rasputin.
Before the allies manage to take down most of the Nazis, the portal
is open long enough for a small, red demon to make it through the
dimension. The allies are the ones to find it and name it “HELLBOY”.
We move ahead to modern time and find the , Professor has been
raising it all these years, while leading the “BUREAU FOR PARANORMAL
RESEARCH AND DEFENSE.” The Professor is aging, and concerned for
Hellboy’s well-being, as he tries to pass on his responsibilities to
a younger FBI agent. Creating some conflict is the arrival of Liz,
whom Hellboy has carried a torch for from a far. She also has the
abilities to “torch” things with her mental powers. While various
relationships and internal struggles play out, a plot by Nazis to
create a new, supernatural, invincible Reich, formed with the help of
the “again” revived Rasputin! It’s up to Hellboy, Liz and other
characters connected with the Bureau to save the world from the
Armageddon that’s approaching.
In spite of the poorly constructed trailer, the film plays out
ingeniously! While complicated at times, it’s never dull and, even
with a premise and characters that could be easily laughed off, it
never seems silly!
COLUMBIA TRISTAR has preserved the film’s 1.85:1 aspect ratio, with
16:9 enhancement. Colors are solid and vibrant in every single
instance. Contrast is perfect, with deep blacks and grays. The detail
is flawless throughout. Fleshtones appear natural.
COLUMBIA TRISTAR has provided an excellent soundmix for this release.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is extremely aggressive, offering a wide
array of directional, panning effects from beginning to end. Many
scenes are layered with effects, dramatic music and dialogue. Still,
these moments are never compromised in terms of clarity. Dialogue is
always intelligible and free from distortion.
Two commentaries are offered as options with the film on the first
disc. One commentary is with most of the cast. The 2nd commentary
features del Toro and producer Mike Mignola. Both are entertaining,
but Del Toro’s offers the most technical insight into the film’s
development and production.
“Branching DVD Comics” are offered here as well, and can be viewed
either during the film or as a separate option. An option to view
storyboards within the film is also offered. Perhaps the best
feature is the “HELLBOY RECOMMENDS” segment, offering four cartoons,
A trailer for an upcoming sci-fi film, starring Julianne Moore,
titled “FORGOTTEN,” is also offered, and it looks incredible! And,
this is just what’s on the “FIRST” of two discs!
The 2nd disc offers an introduction by Selma Blair, followed by two
documentaries. One of which runs nearly 2 ½ hours! There are also
three deleted scenes, which are worth being viewed within their
natural envisioned order.
Several storyboards and more are included as well! A GREAT