Movies & TV / Columns

Thoughts on Fan Disappointment Over the Hellboy Reboot

December 24, 2018 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

Lionsgate released the first trailer for the upcoming Hellboy and it looks…familiar. Usually a reboot does something to differ itself from the original in some way but this looks to be more of the same. Even though the Hellboy II: The Golden Army came out in 2008, it still feels fresh in people’s minds.

In fact, not too long after the reboot trailer hit, Ron Perlman and Selma Blair went on social media and shared their reaction, in a very indirect way. Both starred in the original Hellboy movies that were directed by Guillermo del Toro and are still beloved by fans.

Blair posted a photo of herself kissing a poster of Perlman’s Hellboy. “This man, Ron Perlman,” Blair wrote in the caption. “Forever my Red. You are always the realest deal, a diamond.” Perlman, meanwhile, reposted a video from Netflix to his Instagram page reminding moviegoers they can stream del Toro’s original Hellboy.

Take that however you’d like.

Reaction has been muted from fans, as the trailer never gave us a real “wow” moment. The new Hellboy introduces us to David Harbour taking over the role and Neill Marshall taking over directing duties from del Toro. A majority of fans are disappointed that both Perlman and del Toro aren’t back for the new movies, which is evident in the comments on the trailer and on Blair and Perlman’s social media.

Hellboy creator Mike Mignola has weighed in on how arbour’s performance as Hellboy differs from Perlman’s. “[David Harbour’s Hellboy is] a little bit more dramatic. There’s a different edge. [Ron Perlman] was very smooth as Hellboy, and there’s a whole different love interest vibe with Ron’s thing. Ron was almost playing this kind of old adolescent. And Harbour plays a grittier Hellboy, and a bit more explosive, emotionally. It’s hard to explain, but it is a very different take. The beauty is, both of them, in their own way, feel like Hellboy. It’s almost like they’re just tipped it in two different directions. There’s something much gnarlier about David’s Hellboy.”

Mignola went on to explain how the story of the reboot has also affected Hellboy’s personality. “In the del Toro films, Hellboy is kind of penned up, and kept secret, and that is not what we have here [in the upcoming film],” Mignola said. “This is truer to the comic, in that Hellboy’s been out in the world. He’s not a top-secret, hidden away guy. He’s an out-there-in-the-world, functioning, working adult. So you’ve got that working stiff, been there, done that vibe with Harbour, that you just couldn’t have with Ron because it was played so differently.”

Let’s refresh everyone’s memory about the original Hellboy movies. They weren’t box office smash hits. Both combined for a worldwide take of $259.7 million. Respectable but nothing to get too excited about. A sequel for The Golden Army was in development in 2009, called Hellboy III: Dark Worlds, with del Toro, Perlman, Blair, Doug Jones, Seth MacFarlane, and Jeffrey Tambor all set to return. Unfortunately funding was hard to come by and now we have a reboot.

If this reboot can put a new twist on Hellboy in a fun and interesting way, I’m all for it. My problem is that the first two movies really captured the spirit of the source material. del Toro and Perlman embraced the character and we got, to me, a worthy rendition of Hellboy. I’d much rather see them continue in it than get a reboot to rehash stories and situations Are they really going to be able to replicate Abe Sapien as well as they did in the first two movies?

No movie is beyond being rebooted these days but just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. If Hollywood is so insistent on rebooting, I’d much rather they focus on movies that had cool concepts but poor execution, like The Last Starfighter. Sorry, I just watched it the other day so it’s fresh on my mind. Great idea but the special effects made me cringe.

The Hellboy reboot will probably do well but don’t be surprised if it pulls the same box office as the originals.

article topics :

Hellboy (reboot), Steve Gustafson