Spotted the Hellboy Steelbook boxset instore at WHSmith today. This contains double disc editions of both films, and looks great on the DVD shelf. Stonking price at only £4!
In the ongoing deluge of comic-book adaptations, Hellboy ranks well above average. Having turned down an offer to helm Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in favour of bringing Hellboy's origin story to the big screen, the gifted Mexican director Guillermo del Toro compensates for the excesses of Blade II with a moodily effective, consistently entertaining action-packed fantasy, beginning in 1944 when the mad monk Rasputin--in cahoots with occult-buff Hitler and his Nazi thugs--opens a transdimensional portal through which a baby demon emerges, capable of destroying the world with his powers. Instead, the aptly named Hellboy is raised by the benevolent Prof. Bloom, founder of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, whose allied forces enlist the adult Hellboy (Ron Perlman, perfectly cast) to battle evil at every turn. While nursing a melancholy love for the comely firestarter Liz (Selma Blair), Hellboy files his demonic horns ("to fit in," says Bloom) and wreaks havoc on the bad guys. The action is occasionally routine (the movie suffers when compared to the similar X-Men blockbusters), but del Toro and Perlman have honored Mike Mignola's original Dark Horse comics with a lavish and loyal interpretation, retaining the amusing and sympathetic quirks of character that made the comic-book Hellboy a pop-culture original. He's red as a lobster, puffs stogies like Groucho Marx, and fights the good fight with a kind but troubled heart. What's not to like? --Jeff Shannon
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
The feverish Hellboy 2: The Golden Army is a very busy sequel that might have looked unhinged in the hands of a less visionary director than Guillermo del Toro. Ron Perlman returns as Hellboy, aka "Red," the Dark Horse Comics demon-hero with roots in the mythical world but personal ties in the human realm. Still working, as he was in Hellboy, for a secret department of the federal government that deals (as in "Men In Black") with forces of the fantastic, Red and his colleagues take on a royal elf (Luke Goss) determined to smash a longtime truce between mankind and the forces of magic. Meanwhile, Red's relationship with girlfriend Liz (Selma Blair), who can burst into flames at will, is going through a rocky stage observed by Red's fishy friend Abe (Doug Jones), himself struck by love in this film. Del Toro brilliantly integrates the ordinary and extraordinary, diving into an extended scene set in a troll market barely hidden behind the façade of typical city streets. He also unleashes a forest monster that devastates an urban neighborhood, but then--interestingly--brings a luminous beauty to the same area as the creature (an "elemental") succumbs to a terrible death. Del Toro's art direction proves masterful, too, in a climactic battle set in a clockworks-like stronghold tucked away in rugged Irish landscape. But it's really the juxtaposition of visual marvels with not-so-unusual relationship issues that gives Hellboy 2 a certain jaunty appeal hard to find in other superhero movies. --Tom Keogh
Based on the comic book series by Mike Mignola, Guillermo del Toro's gleefully eccentric films follow the supernatural adventures of Hellboy (Ron Perlman), a cigar-chomping, horn-filing demonic hero enlisted by an occult scholar (John Hurt) to fight evil in the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. Along with the fire-throwing Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) and the amphibious psychic Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) Hellboy is called upon to save mankind from other-worldly threats. In the first film this threat comes from the villainous Rasputin (Karl Roden), who unleashes a monster leading to events that may set off an apocalyptic nightmare for humanity. In its sequel THE GOLDEN ARMY, the red-skinned demon hero must face off against a new nemesis called 'the Prince' (Luke Goss), a dastardly villain who is hellbent on summoning an army of dark forces in order to create a rebellion against humanity and conquer the planet.
* Audio commentaries\Production featurettes\Image galleries\Deleted scenes with optional commentary