Ever since I learned about Hellboy and saw the original Guillermo del Toro films based off the comic, I slowly but surely became a fan. Not the biggest or most die-hard fan out there mind you, but I do enjoy the characters and universe of the comic books. I was pretty hyped to see the animated films on DVD back in 2006 and 2008, and now they’re back in 4K in Hellboy Animated. If you’re a fan or someone new to the character, this release is a nice piece for both.
As with the original films, both of these animated movies, Sword of Storms and Blood and Iron, feature the voices of Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, and the late and always great John Hurt. The first adventure kicks off with a professor of ancient folklore becoming possessed by the ancient Japanese demons of Thunder and Lightning who are searching for an old samurai sword of power, prompting the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (aka BPRD) to send out a group to investigate.
Of course this group is our famed team of supernatural heroes Hellboy (Ron Perlman), Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), and Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) that bump back when things go bump in the night. While they search for the demons and weapon, the sword finds Hellboy and transports him to another dimension where he has to fight off monsters and find a way home while Liz and Abe fight off a dragon.
In the second feature, Hellboy, Liz, and Abe are sent out to investigate an old mansion filled with ghosts and monsters, with one being a beautiful and powerful vampire named Erzebet Ondrushko that Professor Bruttenholm (John Hurt) has a past with. They’ll have to fight their way through all sorts of monsters such as werewolves, harpies, and more before they can reach the vampire queen and stop her from killing people to keep her powers.
I have to say I found myself enjoying both of these again for the first time since their original release. I remember not caring for Sword of Storms that much but loving Blood and Iron, but this time I had an appreciation for both equally. They’re both pretty true to the comics, as they should be since creator Mike Mignola had his hands in the mix, and they’re filled with plenty of humor and action fans have come to love. The 4K transfer is pretty good as HDR and Dolby Atmos have been added to enhance the experience, as the colors, details and audio step up nicely to make both of these movies look as though they were released recently.
There’s also quite a few special features to look at, thanks to the extras being sorted by each film. Starting with Sword of Storms, there’s audio commentary with creator Mike Mignola, and directors Tad Stones and Phil Weinstein. There’s also audio commentary on Blood and Iron with Mike Mignola, Tad Stones, and Vic Cook, along with numerous featurettes on both titles such as “A New Breed: Creating the New Hellboy” that goes into bringing the characters to the animated realm, “Conquering Hellboy: The Actor’s Role” has the actors discussing voicing their characters, and there’s other extras going behind the scenes at some of the effects and animation for the films.
Hellboy Animated is a great companion piece to go along with the original live-action films (and just in time for the new reboot) that’s perfect for fans and newcomers. The 4K HDR treatment along with Dolby Atmos makes these two films look and sound better than ever, and the special features round out this release that’s one hell of a good time.