Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Hellboy Director's Cut

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
7 out of 10
Extras Rating:
10 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Ron Perlman as Hellboy
Selma Blair as Liz Sherman
Jeffrey Tambor as Dr. Tom Manning
Karel Roden as Grigori Rasputin
Rupert Evans as John Myers
John Hurt as Professor Bruttenholm
Corey Johnson as Agent Clay
Doug Jones as Abraham 'Abe' Sapien
Brian Caspe as Agent Lime
James Babson as Agent Moss
Biddy Hodson as Ilsa
David Hyde Pierce as Abe Sapien (voice)

Special Features:
Disc 1:

Never-before-seen extended unrated version of the film

All-new commentary by director Guillermo del Toro, exclusive to the director's cut

Video introduction by Guillermo del Toro

Composer commentary with isolated score

Branching DVD comics drawn by Mike Mignola with all-new expanded text from Guillermo Del Toro

"Right Hand of Doom": set visits and factoids

Storyboard track: now with hundreds of new images

DVD-ROM: Printable original screenplay, script supervisor's book, director's notebook

Disc 2:

Video introduction by Selma Blair

"Hellboy: The Seeds of Creation": a 2.5-hour documentary on the making of the film

Three deleted scenes with optional commentary by Guillermo del Toro

Character bios written by the director

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

Animatics

Four computer-generated animated scene breakdowns

Maquette 3-D character sculptures video gallery

Trailers and TV spots

Filmographies

Poster explorations

Disc 3: (new)

Video introduction by Ron Perlman

Cast video commentary by Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor, and Rupert Evans

Production workshops

Makeup and lighting tests

Q&A archive: Comic-Con 2002

A Quick Guide to Understanding Comics with Scott McCloud

Director's notebook

Photo galleries

Mike Mignola pre-production art

Conceptual art galleries

Comic book artists pin-ups

Exclusive collectible: Excerpt from the Diary of Grigori Rasputin, created by Mike Mignola

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1) Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions
Dolby 5.1 Digital Surround Sound
French Language Track
French Subtitles
Running Time: 132 Minutes

Synopsis:
This is the Director's Cut of Hellboy. Hellboy is based on the Dark Horse Comic by Mike Mignola.

During World War II, young Professor Bruttenholm and a group of U.S. soldiers disrupt a Nazi occult experiment. Under the guidance of Grigori Rasputin, the Nazis attempt to unleash a demon from hell upon their enemies. Rasputin briefly opens a doorway to another dimension, but it is quickly shut when the Americans intervene. Rasputin is killed and his associates flee. However, a young demon still makes it through the portal and is captured by Professor Bruttenholm. They name him 'Hellboy'.

Flash forward to the present day and we find that the U.S. government has formed a secret organization to fight paranormal creatures the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.). Professor Bruttenholm works for them along with his adopted son, Hellboy, and a group of other monsters and misfits. Despite being 60 years old, Hellboy is still mentally and physically a teenager. And though the BPRD tries to keep his existence secret, he still occasionally sneaks out and is spotted. Hellboy also has a crush on a BPRD firestarter named Liz Sherman.

When Hellboy and the BPRD investigate a monster on the rampage in a New York museum, they make a startling revelation. Rasputin has been raised from the dead by his associates Kroenen and Ilsa. Rasputin is also determined to capture Hellboy and use him to re-open the portal to hell to again attempt to bring about the end of the world. The monster they unleash, Sammael, is only intended as a lure to bring Hellboy to the location for the portal. Will Hellboy be able to resist them or will be revert to the demonic nature he was born for?

This Director's Cut of Hellboy is unrated, but the theatrical release was rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and frightening images.

The Movie:
Since this is the Director's Cut of Hellboy, I'm only going to discuss the new additions and how they affect the film overall. To read my review of the rest of the film, just click here.

There are really only 10 minutes of new footage in the Director's Cut. The bulk of it was included in the Deleted Scenes of the earlier DVD. They are the scene of Liz returning to the BPRD with John Myers and taking Polaroids of him. Another is the scene of Rasputin getting the stone column from a Russian arms dealer. However, there are a number of other brief additions here and there. A couple of new scenes feature Rasputin revealing that his eyes have been plucked out while in Hell. Other scenes show him putting in glass eyes before dealing with Hellboy. Another scene shows Hellboy breaking through a concrete wall to follow Liz and John. The ending of the film has more of Jeffrey Tambor, but he's shown to be a bit more incompetent in this version. There's also an alternate opening showing Broom preparing the WWII soldiers for the assault on Rasputin and the Nazis. There are other minor scenes, but these are the more memorable ones.

I don't know if it's because of the extra scenes or because I've seen this movie multiple times, but the plot seemed to make more sense in this Director's Cut. I always had a problem figuring out Rasputin's plan in the theatrical edition and this one seemed to have just enough extra exposition to make it connect better. The story also seemed a little less jumpy. The secondary characters come across as a little better fleshed out as well.

If you're going to watch Hellboy, this is the version you'll want to see. I think overall it's a little better, more coherent story. The core plot is still here, but it just seems to make a little more sense.

The Extras:
This Hellboy Director's Cut comes with a ton of bonus features. A majority of them were on the previous DVD (see the link above). Here's what you'll find that's new:

All-new commentary by director Guillermo del Toro, exclusive to the director's cut Del Toro is a great guy and a big comic fan, so it's always a lot of fun to hear him deliver commentary. He keeps the discussion lively and points out all sorts of trivia during the film, ideas leading up to the making of the movie, his inspirations, and more. This is required listening for comic fans.

Cast video commentary by Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor, and Rupert Evans It's an interesting twist to be able to see the actors on video providing the commentary, but they all seem a little awkward in front of the camera. Fortunately they eventually warm up to the commentary and loosen up. You don't have much hope of seeing the movie itself, though, because it's in a tiny little screen in the lower corner.

Composer commentary with isolated score In this track you certainly notice the soundtrack a lot more. I was actually quite impressed by it when I heard it isolated. It's a good action score. Marco Beltrami provides the discussion, but he often sits back and lets the music speak for itself. I think having him provide commentary for the whole film is a bit much, but he still has some good info to offer. Soundtrack fans will enjoy this.

Video introduction by Ron Perlman Like on the other DVD introductions, Pearlman comes across as wooden and like he's reading the dialogue (which he is doing). You may want to skip this.

Production workshops These are a series of three short videos detailing the special effects of the film. One highlights the miniatures used in the movie for the BPRD and the hospital that Liz blows up. Another talks about the CG sets and the Behemoth. The final video details Liz's fire effects. The amount of effort and detail that went into these is quite remarkable. I never noticed before that Liz's skeleton was visible through her hands when she was on fire. Anyway, if you like effects then you'll like this.

Makeup and lighting tests These show makeup and lighting tests for Hellboy. Del Toro narrates as they try out different colored lights, different lighting angles, and different types of make-ups. Again, you get a real sense of the detail that went into making Hellboy look right.

Q&A archive: Comic-Con 2002 This is 23 minutes of a Q&A from Comic-Con. It features del Toro, Pearlman, and Mignola. This was before they ever got started filming, so it's light on details. However, it's an interesting bit of Hellboy history and it's fun to see these guys getting grilled by comic fans before they had anything to show.

A Quick Guide to Understanding Comics with Scott McCloud I have no idea who Scott McCloud is, but he discusses the origins of comics, their mechanics, and how they have evolved over the years. Even though I'm a die-hard comics fan, I found this a little boring.

Director's notebook You'll find this feature among the galleries. It is a series of images from Guillermo del Toro's notebook. He shows that he's not only a good director but a pretty good artist as well. There's a ton of detail here about the characters and movie, but most of the text is illegible.

The rest of the bonus features are a series of galleries containing photos, Mike Mignola pre-production art, conceptual art, and comic book artists pin-ups. Within the DVD case you'll also find a booklet that is an excerpt from the Diary of Grigori Rasputin, created by Mike Mignola. It's really a series of nonsense words followed up by an explanation by Mignola.

The Bottom Line:
Hellboy fans will definitely want to add this Director's Cut to their collections. It's also the preferred version if you haven't viewed Hellboy yet. However, if you already own Hellboy on DVD you'll want to consider carefully before spending more money for this version.

Order this DVD @ Amazon

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