Neil Marshall’s Hellboy has a tall hill to climb. Fans of the character have a deep and abiding affection for Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman’s take on Big Red. Depriving them of their long desired third installment in favor of a new film with a recast lead was always going to be a hard sell. But hey, it’s not like we’re getting any other Hellboy anytime soon, so we may as well give it a chance, right?
Sure, but then came some ominous rumblings from test screenings, with audiences claiming the dialogue, villain and story were lacking, with the summary being that it was “pretty bad.” And then came that trailer and hoo boy, it sucked. With makeup and prosthetics that look objectively worse than the previous two films, cringe-worthy one-liners and generic looking action, fans weren’t exactly happy.
Weirdest of all was that despite the cast and crew spending much of the pic’s production claiming that this was more of a step towards horror and gore than the del Toro films, it looks exactly like them in terms of humor. Thankfully, one fan decided to step up to the plate and recut the footage, and the result actually looks like a movie I might want to see!
One of the smartest moves editor Tim Gonzales made here is to strip out nearly all of that godawful dialogue, which leaves a collection of intriguing images and a nice sense of mystery. In addition, he’s careful never to let the camera linger on Hellboy for too long, which is good because (and I can’t state this enough) those prosthetics are dreadful.
Here’s what Gonzales had to say (to Bloody Disgusting) about his recut:
“What got me super excited was how Marshall hyped up that the film was going to be a hard R, leaning more towards the horror genre with a lot of gore and violence. With Marshall’s portfolio of films, yeah, my expectations were pretty high. I figured the reboot was going to be an “edgier” take. Darker. Gritty. Grounded. Yeah those buzzwords. Whatever. I was into it. But from the new trailer it looks like more of the same? Maybe my hype was misguided/misinformed. The action and creature design look spot-on though. That said, I was motivated to cut the trailer footage into a “darker” teaser that’s less upbeat and more eerie to better reflect my initial excitement when the reboot was first announced.”
Sadly, while Gonzales might be able to salvage something from this dog’s dinner of a trailer, it’s only lowered my expectations for the final film. As a long time fan of the character, I really want to see him get the movie he deserves, but I’m beginning to suspect that what’s due next spring simply won’t be that. We’ll find out for certain though on April 12th, 2019, when Hellboy stomps into theaters.