Friday, July 11, 2008

Hellboy Review: Mike Mignola’s Intellectual Property Theft

Last night I watched Hellboy on FX because it was on and I needed to do something entertaining while I played WoW. After watching the movie twice (FX showed it twice and nothing else was on) I think I've managed to condensed my opinions of Hellboy down to a one word review: Obvious

Hellboy is a very obvious story turned into a very obvious movie. How is it obvious? Well, allow me to explain. Oh, and don't bother to stop me when it becomes predictable.

Hellboy is the story of a Demon brought to earth by Nazis who utilize their knowledge of the occult and access to Rasputin to conjour a portal to Hell in an attempt to access monsterous gods with which they can destroy Poland. (Yeah.) During the Satanic Ritual the Allied Forces overcome the Nazis and "capture" Hellboy. Hellboy is then raised by the U.S. Government and is employed by a Secret Government Organization which fights Paranormal Whatnot. Yes, Hellboy took everything you could already get somewhere else and mashed it together in one convenient package.

And it's not that Hellboy is terrible in itself. The problem is that Hellboy is such a fucking obvious, predictable, rehashed combination of shit you've already experienced. What? You mean Nazis are the bad guys? Oh my god who would have thought of that?! And the Nazis are involved in the occult? That's so fresh! Oh my shit, and Rasputin is involved in the occult? Stop me before I'm unable to accept such ludicrous, unheard of claims! And this is all before we get to the secret government organization that explores the paranormal which, by the way, has been a trite and predictable idea ever since humanity first constructed governments. Then you add on the whole American Self-Flagellation of "fighting Nazis" and that hackneyed "using evil to combat evil" theme and we're left with an amalgamation of dumb which isn't even justified by the fish person. Oh, yeah. There is a fish person. There's also a girl who catches on fire. Because that's original.

I would like to think that Mike Mignola had at least one original idea in the formulation of Hellboy. But, really, it's just a very obvious story which combines predictable, trite, over-used themes, characters, and stories from American popular culture and re-tells them in a worse way than they were originally told. True, there are a finite number of stories human beings tell which are rehashed over the years. But, usually, the retelling adds something new, which is where Hellboy fails.

If you've seen Beauty and the Beast you know that pretty ladies can fall in love with monsters. If you were educated in an American Public School you know that Nazis are bad. If you've seen the X-Files you've already seen enough secret government organization v. paranormal whatnot to fulfill your lifetime recommended dose. And if you've seen Hellsing then you know that monsters can be used to fight monsters. Fuck, if you've seen pokémon you know that monsters can be used to fight monsters.

If you haven't seen Hellboy don't watch it. And if you're at all interested in any of the themes or characters offered by Hellboy? Don't fucking watch or read Hellboy; go find the original material from which Mike Mignola stole the idea.


_J_ said...

Yes, I know that Hellsing came out after Hellboy. No, I don't care.

Roscoe said...

WOAH, WOAH, WOAH. this here? Bait.


not rising to it.

Roscoe said...

... so..



damn you.

Roscoe said...

goddamn you.

the things you point to are in EACH CASE, stolen..

and you're saying Mignola is responsible for the movie script.

It's a very faithful adaptation to the source's general tone and theme.. not the material itself... oh, how much I hate you right now.

oh damn, how I do.. lookit me try not to rise.. like styrofoam in water.

Roscoe said...

I keep coming back here..

clearly you've won.

Let me dismantle everything with one statement, though.

Hellboy is not one obvious story.

As it stands it's an entirely unfinished story, let alone one that's obvious.

Not remotely.

What is the Right Hand of Doom?
Who or What is/are Ogdru Jahad?

It's a series of disjointed stories and hooks, exploring folktale and myth.

Roscoe said...

Let me put this fury in terms you'll understand.

WRSW just told it's listeners
"... play along in Guitar Hero to this song, it's Asia, In the Heat of the Moment!"

Think about that. Think for a split second.

THERE! Feel that furious rage borne of factual knowledge and righteous enjoyment denied?

Yeah. that's kinda it.

_J_ said...

"What is the Right Hand of Doom?
Who or What is/are Ogdru Jahad?

Those are Red Herrings. You'll learn about them in film school.

My complaint isn't so much that the story in Hellboy is predictable, though it is. PLENTY of movies are predictable and still terrific.

The problem I have is that everything is so damned obvious. Obvious in the sense that, yes, a human being would tell this story about Nazis using Rasputin to summon a demon who a secret government institution hires to fight monsters.

It's all of these obvious, gigantic themes and plots and characters which have been used an agonizingly high amount of times...and they're all crammed into this shitty narative.

Watching the movie was a wonderful game of "spot the hackneyed crap". There's Beauty and the Beast, there's Hellsing, there's Carrie. It was just ridiculous how obvious these things were.

It's like he took Legos, wrote themes and characters from popular culture on them, then stuck them together to form a $, and then wrote a comic about that final formation.

Really, it all started for me when Rasputin was working with the Nazis.

That was so painfully obvious.

_J_ said...

"It's a series of disjointed stories and hooks, exploring folktale and myth."

You say "exploring". I say "exploiting". Exploiting completely without tact or imagination.


Buy my book!
Buy my book!
Buy my book!

Christ on a cracker there's more subtlety in penthouse letters.

Roscoe said...

you're talking out of your ass.

Worse, you're doing about like Chris Shay.

A Red Herring is a false clue to a mystery.

You're throwing stones at MIGNOLA.... for.. judgements made about.. the MOVIE...

You understand how utterly off base you are, right?

I mean.. right?

_J_ said...

There are a great many ways in which irritating you via comic critiques is comparable to throwing firecrackers at chickens.

I think the most apt comparision is the noise.

Crack! Crack! BUCKAW!!

Roscoe said...

eat a bag of dicks and die. please.