Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Film from Hell?

With Jo’s words of “be nice to him” still ringing in my ears, I was persuaded to go with Stewart to see Hell Boy tonight.

It won’t be counted as my best decision of the week I feel.

The more I think of it the poorer it seems – it wasn’t painful to watch, but ultimately was hollow and lacking in anything that truly engaged the audience.

Most annoying of all was that it had the potential to be so much better. The hellboy character and backstory is promising, but the majority of the characters are unsympathetic (love triangle? Who cares who gets the girl? Not me!) and the plot and dialogue were so weak and derivative as to make one question as to whether it was really trying to be parody.

Do we really need another law enforcement ‘chief’ down on the maverick hero for being a ‘risk to the team’, before making it up in the final sequences as they come together against the common foe?

Similarly Raiders of the Lost Ark is ripped off mercilessly in the opening sequence (though one question – if the Nazis are performing secret black magic ceremonies in a ruined Scottish abbey, why have they hung huge swastika banners on the outside of the abbey walls?).

Which leads me to a prime example of bad ‘science’ in movies; when the portal to hell is opened (hmmm clues this is not my ‘type’ of film eh?) a spotlight with trailing flex is sucked through. The camera follows the light, which is ‘used’ to light up shots of what is on the ‘other side’. So my question is this, what sort of extension lead is it that can stretch into different realities and still do it’s job? Bet they didn’t buy that one at B&Q…

Anyway by the time Hellboy faces up to one of the baddies with the line “You killed my father…your arse is mine!”, I’ve kind of lost it with even trying to take the film remotely seriously.

Accordingly by the end when the ‘portal’ is almost reopened (the ‘eye’ from LoTRs anyone?) and the seven evil gods of chaos are freed, it comes as no great surprise that they turn out to be tentacled creatures reminiscent of the type of badly animated space-squid that attacks the space-ship in The Darkness’ I Believe in a Thing Called Love video.

In fact it’s the ludicrousness that is the films saving grace. Crap as it is, I can’t quite bring myself to hate it. I wouldn’t see it again, but I’m not left actually feeling actively aggrieved at having lost two hours from my life in its care.

Besides there’s always a silver lining and in this case it’s the embarrassed Stewart’s final comment on the matter: “OK you get to chose the next film we see…”.

Shame really that I’m trying to be nice to the boy, ‘cos there’s just so many ‘chick-flicks’ that it would be tempting to make him sit through in revenge…

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