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Hellboy: Sword of Storms DVD

As I mentioned here on EOL a couple of weeks ago the first of the Hellboy Animated movies, Sword of Storms, hit DVD stores [in Australia] on the 2nd of the month. Well yesterday I managed to get my hands on said DVD, so I put some time aside last night to fire up the elroy-plex, kick back with a bag of Corn Chips and see what this Hellboy Animated stuff if all about.

Sword of Storms isn’t a sequel to the 2004 live action flick as such, however never having read a Hellboy comic meant that the 2004 film stands as my only base for comparison; a job made much easier by the fact that just about all of the main players from that film have returned to voice their animated counterparts. The only notable exception is that the amphibious Abe Sapien (who was voiced by an uncredited David Hyde Pierce in the 2004 film) is, somewhat ironically, performed by the talented Doug ‘guy in a rubber suit’ Jones. I say ironically, because he was the voiceless guy in the suit in the 2004 film and now he’s the voice for the animated character.

While not a sequel, Sword of Storms is a snapshot of another day in the the life of Hellboy and the other members of the Bureau of paranomal research. It’s a little bit X-Files, a little bit Indiana Jones with a large red guy who says ‘Crap’ a lot, thrown in for good measure.

Unfortunately for the largest portion of the film Hellboy (Ron Perlman) is separated from Kate (a character I was unfamiliar with, but who is apparently in the comics), Abe (Jones) and Liz (Selma Blair). So there wasn’t a great deal of character dynamic to further our understanding of their relationships. Abe and Liz get to spend some time on screen together and they share a great connection which expands on the idea that the members of the team as something of a family. In a sense we get to see how Hellboy fits into that family by seeing how the others react to his disappearance:

While investigating yet another paranormal incident Hellboy makes contact with an ancient Samurai sword and is transported into a world inhabited by the strange creatures of Japanese mythology. He soon learns that the only way he can return to the real world is to break the sword; however by breaking it he will unleash the two demons who have been trapped in the sword for centuries. If released these demons will open the way for creatures from all mythology to take over the world of men.

The film may not give as much time to developing character relationships as I would have liked, but what it does do is set up a series of bizarre episodes as Hellboy goes on an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ meets ‘Lord of the Rings’ meets ‘Road-Trip’ type of journey as he carves a path of destruction through beautifully illustrated Japanese folk stories. All the way, Perlman (who was clearly born to play Hellboy) delivers Hellboy’s trademark quips with exactly the right timber – letting the writers get away with just about anything.

One thing well worth mentioning too is that there’s a whole swag of extras on the DVD, including a really cool (and actually informative) commentary track by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, Tad Stones and Phil Weinstein.

Sword of Storms is good fun and has wet my appetite for more Hellboy adventures. I’m looking forward to seeing the second Hellboy Animated film (Blood and Iron) now and even more so looking forward to Hellboy 2: The Golden Army when it’s released in 2008. [source] [source]

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    I’m not a big comic book-movie person by any means, and while I liked the first two X-Men films and the Spider-Man films, I didn’t expect much from the Feature film, and left watching it until it came out on DVD.

    I should have seen it at the cinema – I was actually really surprised what a good film it was. I loved the concept of the backstory which was steeped in a Mythology that would serve another Buffy/Angel style TV show exceptionally well.

    So, yeah a series of animated films? I’m certainly interested!

  • The most recent Hellboy comics have been extremely impressive. The visual style seems to have seeped into the animated series. On the look and feel of them alone, I wouldn’t mind checking them out. As far as the filmi goes, I’ve been impressed with Guillermo del Toro since Mimic. Abe was awesome :)

  • The recent Frank Miller adaptations (SinCity and 300) almost “watched” like animated films.

    Maybe we’ll eventually see some sort of hybrid (animated/real) that can be released in theaters (e.g. film quality with a lower budget and an artsty touch).

  • I guess that there already is a sort of cross-over area in the CGI department. There’s some CGI in Sword of Storms, but it’s not by any means predominant.

    However, if you look at films like Spiderman and Fantastic Four, where quite a bit of CGI is used, then it’s not really a stretch to see the convergence of the three mediums (particularly when you start using motion capture).

  • I haven’t kept in touch with the most recent Hellboy comics. I might stop by Dees though, and have a look this week!

    I am excited about Sword of Storms, stylised CGI is right up my alley.

  • It sounds pretty good to me. I’m looking forward to seeing it – especially since I love Japanese folk stories and love animation. Anyone know the best/cheapest place to buy this?

  • @jamie: The whole Japanese folk story angle really works in this film: I think mostly because Hellboy fits in so well with all the whacky creatures getting around in Japanese mythology. The hardest thing to keep in mind while watching it all though is that they are referencing traditional folk stories and not just making stuff up -= I think you’d be pretty hard pressed to make up stuff whackier than a Japanese folk story!

    I’m not sure where the cheapest place would be Jamie, but you can bet that places like JB have it – those guys have everything!

    @Buzzmoo: The film is very much traditional 2d animation – although there are one or two elements that are CGI rendered I wouldn’t at all describe it as ‘stylised CGI’ – I would however say that there are some sequences (particularly in the Japanese folk story world) that are beautifully illustrated.

  • I’ve never seen Hellboy, but this still looks and sounds damn cool.