Special Edition Podcast

Special Edition – Hellboy

Show Notes

Josh Flanagan is joined by… well, here’s the thing about that. Sometimes you need to do the thing because the thing needs to be done.

Hellboy is a reboot of the film franchise based on the groundbreaking comics from Mike Mignola, which anyone reading this knows about. But Josh gives his thoughts on the movie, which as well as we can determine is… a movie. About Hellboy. And it’s not a long show, because we value your time.

Running Time: 00:13:59

“(You’re the) Devil in Disguise”
Elvis Presley


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  1. Thanks for doing this show. I went to see it the day it came out – and left well before the end. But being the “Hellboy-adherent” (Do people say that in the English-speaking world?) I am, I am going to listen to this programme with great interest.

  2. First, way to go, Josh, for doing this solo! Especially for this bloody movie. Speaking of which, I do think you were massively charitable to this film. I’m not a huge fan of the comics but I’ve liked what I’ve read but I really liked Del Toro movies and this isn’t so much a step down as it is a plunge off a cliff. I thought this was genuinely, on nearly every level, awful. Harbour was fine as Hellboy and the monster designs were cool but the rest of the cast looked bored, the “edgy” overly sweary dialogue was embarrassing, the CGI was iffy, the gore and violence just felt desperate and even if the plot itself had potential, it was boringly and ploddingly executed. It also felt mean-spirited and cynical in a way that did it no favours and really puts it in a very unfavourable position to del Toro’s movies. which were clearly labours of love to, at the very least, Perlman and del Toro.

    • To be fair I think if the movie was “mean spirited and cynical” then it sort of can share that critique with the comic. I think Mignola’s art is fantastic and his team created some excellent characters, but the narrative does tend to drag on as it focuses on the suffering of these characters and piles on character deaths to magnify that suffer. It really creates this sense of slow inevitable defeat, which is not always enjoyable to read. I do continue to read some of the Hellboy titles in spite of that because I do enjoy the characters and their interactions, but I feel Del Toro’s take which added way more levity to the formula maybe wasn’t such a bad thing when you are potentially dealing with such heavy topics.

    • Yeah, I must say, one of the reasons why I never quite warmed to the Hellboy comics was that I was expecting a bit more of the humour and quirkiness of del Toro’s movies when I first read them. It’s good stuff, just not what I was expecting and a bit more dour than it needs to be. I think the movie, though, is something else entirely. My problem isn’t that the characters are put through their paces – favourite writers of mine like Ed Brubaker and Joss Whedon do it all the time – but that there’s a general level of contempt that the filmmakers (as to who is to actually blame for the film’s tone is perhaps more complicated than just laying all the blame at the feet of Neil Marshall) have for both their audience and their characters and that the general levels of grotesque violence and gore are handled in just about the most cynical ways imaginable. It’s too witless to work as solid b-movie grunginess and too callous and unimpactful as anything more serious. It’s just… ugly. Isn’t it ironic that despite having a much higher age restriction than del Toro’s films, it’s so much more juvenile? The whole thing plays out more like what a slow-witted thirteen-year-old boy thinks “maturity” is – which would be fine, I suppose, if it was actually made by a thirteen-year-old boy. The idea that adults made this bilge is nothing less than highly embarrassing.

  3. As a Hellboy fan I feel a bit embarrassed to say I haven’t gone out to see the movie yet. Something about the trailers and promotional material really took the wind out of my sails and with young kids it takes significant effort to go out and see a movie. I listened anyway because I was hoping Josh would say something to inspire me to take that extra effort. There’s something about the look and feel of those trailers that felt off. I think Josh might be touching on what it was exactly. It didn’t look offensive. It just looked unexciting and maybe unnecessary if its just a retelling of one of the comic book stories. At least the Del Toro stuff have a sort of odd electricity to them. Ultimately I will see it, but I’ll probably wait for it to go to streaming. That seems pretty bad consider I should be in the core demo for the movie.

    I also love Ian Mcshane. Totally excited that there is a new Deadwood movie coming in about a month. He seems like a weird pick for Bruttenholm though.

  4. This was awesome! Nice work Josh! You should fly solo more often (no offense Conor. We still love you!).

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