Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hellboy: Director's Cut (2004)

Hellboy: Director's CutI'll be discussing both the two disc and three disc edition of "Hellboy" here. Unfortunately, the automated systemed won't allow me to post this as a separate review so, just in case the review shows up under both, I'll include both.


It must be hell to have horns and a stone hand. Rasputin the mad monk who manipulated the Russian royalty prior to the Russian Revolution never died. He not only survived being stabbed, shot, poisoned and drowning but during World War II he worked for the Nazis. Hitler hoped that Rasputin might be able to unleash the 7 Gods of Chaos to help Hitler win the war and dominate the world. The only thing that can stop Hitler and Rasputin's minions which includes a nasty masochistic half mechanical man named Kroenen (Ladislav Beran in some scenes)is Professor Broom (Kevin Trainor as the young Bloom) who has studied the occult. He and a group of American soldiers storm Rasputin's castle stopping the 7 Gods of Chaos from entering our world. In the process Rasputin is sucked into the other strange realm and a tiny red monkey like creature that looks like Satan with a stone hand is released into our world.

Sixty years later Rasputin's minions revive him bringing him back from the other side. Meanwhile Professor Broom (Hurt) has established a paranormal division of the F.B.I with Hellboy (Perlman) and Abe Sapien (Doug Jones but voiced by David Hyde Pierce of "Fraiser" fame) a half human/half sea creature and Liz (Blair) a human with the ability to control fire. With the addition of a new assistant John Myers (Evans) recruited from the F.B.I. these five are all that stand between us and chaos. The only problem is that Rasputin has plans for using Hellboy himself to help release the 7 Gods of Chaos himself.

"Hellboy" looks surprisingly sharp and vivid capturing all the primary colors that percolated beneath the surface of Mike Mignola's comic book. The film does suffer a little bit due to all the extras included on the first disc and could have benefited from concentrating only on picture and sound quality of the film on the first disc and all the extras on the second.

The two disc set clearly went on an eating binge. How else to explain all the wonderful extras packed on this great set. To begin with we have a nice introduction by the director. On the first disc featuring the feature film there are branching behind the scenes sequences you can access while watching the film itself and then return to where you were. It's a fascinating glimpse behind the movie almost giving you the experience as if you were on the set then watching the assembled dailies the next same day.


There are some subtle and not so subtle differences in "Hellboy-The Director's Cut". The big difference involves how Rasputin was changed when he came back from the other side. There's also a number of dramatic moments such as Professor Broom discovery of his cancer as well as some fight sequences that have been extended in minor but subtle ways. That said, it's essentially the same film but richer for the include of the 15 or so minutes of additional footage.

The first disc has a brand new commentary by director del Toro and a commentary/isolated score by composer Beltram. The storyboard track now has new images added to it (quite a bit more as a matter of fact).The "branching comics" feature is much more extensive than the previous one but the features on the first disc remain pretty close to the previous edition.

The second disc has the bulk of what disc two of the two disc set had but there are a couple of additions worth noting. There's also a multi-angle storyboard comparison (which I believe to be new). I couldn't find the UPA cartoons on the original but haven't had a chance to investigate all the noons and crannies of the three disc set.

Disc three has a new video introduction by Ron Perlman. Here we get a video and audio commentary by the main actors(in fact it's the same as the audio commentary from the previous edition only this time we see the actors as they recorded their commentary and also see the movie as their watching it in a picture-in-picture mode). There's production workshops also included here, make up and lighting tests (although all involve the final make up for Hellboy), "A Quick Guide to Understanding Comics with Scott McCloud"--a featurette. Mike Mignola is absent from the commentary track but his pre-production artwork is included here. Ther's also the director's notebook (again--it's on two discs here for some strange reason), conceptual art galleries and comic book artists pin-ups on the last disc as well. Personally, I would have put the actors in pip mode vs. the movie as the version they're commenting on it is the theatrical release not the Director's Cut. Not sure why Columbia chose not to do this. Aside from that minor complaint (and not being able to find the UPA cartoons), this is the ultimate fan boy edition. Oh, there's also a reproduction of part of Rasputin's diary by Mignola as well included in paperback form.

The packaging is nice with three slimline DVD holders highlight Red, Blue and Liz. Personally, I would also like to have had a booklet similar to the one that came with the two discs set. Also, I'm unclear why the "seamlessly branching" DVD technology wasn't here to allow both the director's cut and the theatrical editions (much like "Alien" and "Aliens"). I don't have any use for keeping the previous edition (it was traded in) just for the theatrical cut (and I personally feel the Director's Cut is a superior version of the movie even though most of the changes are fairly minor overall).

Overall, this is a terrific boxed set that has some minor flaws. Hopefully Columbia will learn from this mistake and correct any future releases of Director's Cuts vs. theatrical editions. Also, releasing both at the same time so fans can make a choice (vs. being double dipped) would be the right thing to do from a customer service stand point. Plus, there wouldn't be all those used copies eating away at their sales of the set.

The Director's Cut release completes with an unrated, extended cut of the film, in total about 132 minutes (10 min. more than the special edition). This DVD comes with 3 discs, most of them are same as the 2-disc special edition (feel free to read my review on Hellboy Two-Disc Special Edition), but this adds alot of extra brand new special features, all new director's commentary, production design, workshops, deleted scenes, etc. This edition details are roughly shown below:

[Disc 1]

Director's Commentary: new commentary from Guillermo del Toro, exclusively for the Director's Cut DVD

Composer's Commentary with isolated score

Video Introduction to Disc 1 by Guillermo del Toro

DVD ROM: Director's Notebook, Printable Script and expanded Script Supervisor's Book

Eight Branching DVD Comics by Mike Mignola: A never-been-done DVD feature containing eight Branching DVD comics by Mike Mignola an onscreen look at Hellboy comic books with all new expanded text from Guillermo del Toro

Right Hand of Doom: Set Visits and Factoids

Expanded Storyboards: picture-in-picture storyboard track plays simultaneously with the film

Anamorphic Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1)

[Disc 2]

Hellboy: The Seeds of Creation

Four Animatics computer-generated animated scene breakdowns. The next level in storyboarding. Director's use them to help visualize what some of the more complicated shots will look like.

Five Board-A-Matics: side-by-side comparison of scenes with the animated storyboards

Weblink: Hellboy merchandise

Three deleted scenes with optional commentary

Scene deconstruction: director Guillermo del Toro walks us through the evolution of a scene from his sketches to the storyboards to the finished scene

Kroenen's Lair: four storyboard to film comparisons

Maquette Rotations Gallery

Poster Explorations for the Hellboy theatrical campaign



[Disc 3]

Cast Video Commentary with Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor and Rupert Evans

Production Workshop featurettes

Q&A Archive: Comic Con 2002 featuring Guillermo del Toro, Ron Perlman and Mike Mignola

A Quick Guide to Understanding Comics with Scott McCloud

Video Introduction to Disc 3 by Ron Perlman

Production Design Photo Gallery

Mike Mignola Pre-Production Artwork

Conceptual Art Galleries

Overall, it is a great movie with lots of extra freebies features. If you are the Hellboy comic fans, go for it! If you already own a copy of the 2-Disc Special Edition, you may not find this worth the money, but if you don't have a copy yet, this is a no-wrong choice!

*** Otto Yuen's DVD Special Rating for Hellboy (Director's Cut) ***

1. Film Rewatchability: MEDIUM-LOW

2. DVD Featurability: EXCELLENT

3. Picture Quality: EXCELLENT

4. Sound Quality: EXCELLENT

(Reviewed by Otto Yuen, 14-Aug-2004)

Buy Hellboy: Director's Cut (2004) Now

Not being knowledgable with the comic series, I was a bit nervous about going to see this one. I've seen most of the comicbook-to-film movies, so I thought I would give this one a shot, too. Besides, I happen to be a Ron Perlman fan of sorts, so that was further impetus to me.

I was actually shocked! It was very well done! I shouldn't have been too shocked, though, as the director is Guillermo Del Toro, the one who gave us Blade 2 (say what you will about it, but I found it was a shade better than the first even and I liked the first). He's definitely experienced enough now to turn a comic book movie into real cinema and he has no problem making the characters of Hellboy believable.

I think if I had to choose a complaint, it would be this. There are a good number of characters, but due to the amount of them, it's difficult to give much development to them all. Still, given the time the movie runs, all the characters do get a fair treatment and all of them have at least some development, if not a good amount (as Hellboy or Myers). Also, only one or two of the lines struck me as entirely cheesy or campy, and on the whole the writing was great.

The action flowed nicely and there was a good amount of it, though not too much where it can be overwhelming. The plot was interesting and kept the audience involved. Sure, it's not believable, but let's be serious: it's a movie based on a comic, how true-to-life do you WANT the plot to be? The villains are well done and very good at their parts. The CGI doesn't distract too much from the film as they blend that with the rest of the movie very seemlessly. They definitely did their homework and took their time with this one.

Also, on a side note, the PG-13 rating it totally deserved and goes to show how good a movie can be without an overdose of gore, sex, or foul language (the worst word in it being 'ass' I believe). The gore and bloodshed are kept very low (yes, people still die, but aside from one particular scene, the sight of blood is almost non-existent). It's not Puritanical, but well done without overdoing it.

It's totally worth the watch and you will definitely want to do so in the theater. You really need to get that full effect. It will most likely be added to my collection on DVD when it comes out. Enjoy!

Read Best Reviews of Hellboy: Director's Cut (2004) Here

"There lived a certain man in Russia long ago

He was big and strong, in his eyes a flaming glow"

("Rasputin" by Boney M)

Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):

1. German military says "Ra Ra Rasputin" , and tries to open a portal to another dimension

2. US Army shows up and all Hellboy breaks loose

3. Forget music it's a Baby Ruth that soothes a savage beast

4. Fast forward 60 years and Hellboy and his friends are attached to the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense

5. His friends include a fishy character named Abe, and a hot chick named Liz who's in denial

6. Rasputin and his gang show up and release a nasty creature named Sammael who goes forth and multiplies

7. Newbie from the FBI gets baptism by fire

8. Lots of killings follow

9. As Inigo Montoya (from Princess Bride) once said (several times) "......Prepare to die"

Lots of paranormal stuff, out-of-this-world special effects, and strong performances by Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, John Hurt, Doug Jones and Karel Roden, among others, make for an action-packed fantasy adventure in itself, and recommended viewing before watching Hellboy II

A red hot love story that's definitely not a chick flick.

Amanda Richards, July 30, 2008

Want Hellboy: Director's Cut (2004) Discount?

First saw it in the theater and thought to myself "What a mess of a movie". It is all over the place. Saw the director's cut on dvd and thought to myself, much better. Character development was apparently stripped from the theatrical release. Now I see the same Director's Cut in BLU-RAY......WOW!!! Seeing it again on a big screen TV in high definition is the way to go with this movie. It seems the more I watch it, the more I fall in love with it. The video looks absolutely stunning. This is now one of my favorite show-off films in blu-ray. Friends and family come over and want to watch something on my setup, Hellboy is now my film of choice. As an action flick, the sound is just to die for. Special effects and fight scene audio take the movie to another level. I show it off with the 5.1 PCM and it never lets me down. A friend of mine came over and said he didn't like the movie before, but after watching it again on my ps3 with big screen and surround sound, even he said it's great.

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