Hellboy

Recommended. Good ole fashioned clarity of good and evil in a morally confused era. Bad guys try to conquer the world by opening a portal to another dimension for some evil beings to come through. Unfortunately, the story or plot is not as clear as the morality. Hitler tried to open the portal by using the occult and Rasputin and now the bad guys are trying to do it again. But the first time, a little guy came through who looked like a demon but was raised by a good professor to fight evil at the Institute of the Paranormal (that doesn’t exist of course). Anyway, it never really explains why Hellboy looks like a demon but is not. Is this supposed to explain spiritual manifestations as really something more like aliens misinterpreted as demons? (Shades of Stargate). Or is this a confusing mixture of spiritual and alien culture? Just doesn’t make clear. This movie has a lot of rather shallow Christian symbolism because of the professor being an ex-priest, but at least positive symbols, which I applaud. It’s just too bad, it was not wrapped up into the theme as it should have been. Like why was the priest relevant to the situation if Hellboy was not a demon, but a being from another dimension that is not spiritual. Didn’t make sense to me. One of the clever sayings was, “In the absence of light, darkness prevails,” which I guess means something akin to “The only way for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” But more importantly, the theme is reiterated in the film by the protagonist, “What makes a man? His origins? I don’t think so. It’s the choices he makes and how he chooses to make them.” This is supposed to reflect Hellboy’s pathos of trying to fit into society, but being rejected because they misunderstand him as evil, when he is really good. They think of him as inhuman when he is humanlike. This is a common theme of diversity in movies these days (X-Men, Hidalgo, etc.) and I hope it does not get to be too tired. Unfortunately, this is pretty much just another formula action FX movie where, in addition to the FX and stunts, the key to it’s success is how many clever lines they can throw in to make the heros look cool and sarcastic before they woop the bad guys. That’s fine by me, especially since this one has some great lines. But it is ultimately unfocused in story.

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