What the Hell, Hollywood?

hb

Oh crap: Dark Horse Comics

Last night the news came over social media and via press release that we were finally getting another HELLBOY movie. Settle down folks, it’s not the much-clamoured-for never-movie HELLBOY III. It’s going to be a reboot and Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman are not involved.

Look, I know the reasons for Hellboy III not being made are complex and many, from Perlman’s age and schedule to del Toro’s schedule and need to occasionally sleep, to the usual studio guff, but I don’t see how does rebooting the whole thing helps matters. If Hellboy III was going to be too expensive with not enough of a guaranteed audience to turn a profit, how will it be any different if they start again? Surely you’ll be marketing towards the same audience, the already-initiated, who would prefer another movie in the previous continuity.

It’s currently rumoured that they want to improve on the del Toro HB movies’ moderate performance by making it R-Rated. Why? Hellboy isn’t Deadpool or one of the Watchmen. The Hellboy comics could get dark, but they weren’t gratuitously violent or reliant on swearing aside from the odd “crap” before something big and otherworldly punched Hellboy really hard.

Revolution then Universal were lucky to land a project with such a perfect match of talent to material after the original film’s troubled early years. Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman brought Mike Mignola’s world to vivid and textured life in two immensely satisfying instalments. Inspired by Mignola rather than direct adaptations of his storylines (which are episodic and weave in and out of each other) they were respectful but not slavish to his vision (as if del Toro could be slavish to any imagination but his own). The ending of HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY demanded resolution, but the uncertainty/hopefulness of the final freeze frame now has a bittersweet edge to it.

The only glimmer of hope for this new project is that Hellboy’s father Mignola is personally helping to pen the script (hopefully adapting another storyline than “Seed of Destruction”) so it should do the writer-illustrator’s ideas some kind of justice. Doing said justice falls to Neil Marshall (solid director of THE DESCENT and GAME OF THRONES) and new Hellboy David Harbour (good shout for HB, and still with the miles on him to do many sequels if required).

Maybe I’m taking it a bit personally, still smarting over not getting to see the resolution to Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy journey, or more annoyed that yet again this gifted auteur seems to have been screwed by the system. Who knows, I might be wrong and this new Hellboy might be good. At least it should be a different take. Also, studio execs need to come to accept that Hellboy will never be mainstream, and may never be a box office smash no matter how “adult” you make it. He’s a unique contradiction who appeals to all us oddballs, so they’d better get used to it. SSP

About Sam Sewell-Peterson

I'm not paid to write about film - I do it because I love it. Favourites include Sam Mendes, Guillermo del Toro, Bong Joon-ho, Steven Spielberg, Danny Boyle, Edgar Wright, Taika Waititi and the Coen Brothers. All reviews and articles are original works owned by me. They represent one man's opinion, and I'm more than happy to engage in civilised debate if you disagree.
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