The Nazis—the world's most popular big screen villains—are back in this week's most popular new movie. The story begins during World War II, as Hitler's minions attempt to harness the power of the paranormal. Led by that resilient Russian villain Grigory Rasputin, they attempt to open a portal to another, darker dimension. But Allied forces arrive just in time to upset this otherworldly experiment, foiling Rasputin's plans—but not before a childlike demon jumps into this world. The Allies capture the little imp and train him up to be a redeemed devil who devotes his life to saving the world from supernatural bad guys. His name, appropriately, is Hellboy.
Guillermo Del Toro's adaptation of Mike Mignola's comic book series brings to life a conflict of good versus evil. The "good guys" belong to the United States Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. The bad guys, who have varying methods of cheating death, are trying to invite some particularly nasty alien forces called the Seven Gods of Chaos down to earth to wreak havoc.
As comic book films go, Hellboy may prove particularly interesting to religious moviegoers. It boasts more religious symbolism than any comic-movie yet produced. Our enormous, crimson-skinned hero has a fondness for pizza and kittens, but he also carries rosary beads the way other heroes carry secret weapons.
The idea of Satan being opposed by one of his own raises interesting questions. Unfortunately, Hellboy fails to explore them. The movie has more in common with Ghostbusters and Men in Black than it does with any story about true spiritual conflict. Religious symbolism lends it an air of importance, but it's not much more than a live-action ...1
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