“It is extremely sad that the movie industry — and the entertainment industry at large — concerns itself primarily with profit over promoting artistic vision. The Hellboy movies were very different from other action-fantasy movies. Guillermo del Toro poured his heart into the series (especially The Golden Army where he was allowed more freedom), and what we received was a labor of love. And that (at least to me) is the most rewarding movie experience — to feel how much thought and love went into making the movie, from the crew, actors, and director. In a wide pool of movies, those aspects really do stand out.
The beautiful color palette; the astounding monster costumes (which is itself a dying art. Other directors would resort to CGI); and the quirky characters (he gave each character a long backstory, which the cast described as “beautifully written”) really set Hellboy apart from other action movies. Hellboy does not brood too deeply in his existential crises like Batman and the X-Men, and the movie is the more fun for that. You can see yourself getting a drink with Hellboy, as he is more human and approachable than any other hero to grace the screen. That was also magical in the HB series — how can a gigantic red demon creature be so much more human than the (primarily) Caucasian human cast of other action movies?
Scenes like the Troll Market in HBII have del Toro’s fingerprints all over them, and are wonderful for the audience to behold. Like the monster costumes, the sets are something of a dying art. Most modern directors follow the George Lucas trend of fixing everything against a green screen, giving an artificial tone to the movie. Your article maintains that these movies were for the “big movie” and action junkies, but neglects to mention that there are those who have seen HB because of its aesthetics. It is rare to see a creature so horrifying and lovely as Hellboy’s Angel of Death (all a costume as well, instead of CGI), and it is rare to see an action movie that gives careful symbolism in its colors and backgrounds (everything in the background alludes to something else in the HB movies).
It is why these movies strike resonance with its viewers. My colleagues who have watched the HB movies have commented on the aesthetics and characters of the film, and love it. There was also the boy Zachary who was diagnosed with leukemia, and through the Make A Wish foundation wished for Hellboy to visit him (and Ron Perlman graciously and lovingly complied). There is something about these movies that captures the imagination, the eye, the connection. In an industry where the sloppy franchises of Star Wars, The Fast & the Furious, and Transformers are gaining money, we are losing wonderful films that promote artistic vision and creativity.
Perhaps Hollywood is “right” to not touch HB III because of financial concerns. But what is not right is to pour money into movies that immediately garner cash without much concern for the stories, characters, sets. What is also not right is to leave those who love HB dangling — a three-quel is so perfectly set up by the end of the second movie, and to leave it at that feels unfinished.
I still sincerely hope HB III will be picked up, and to see that world of beautiful sets and costumes and characters (del Toro asked: “How many movies have a blue guy, a red guy, and a gas guy in the same scene talking with each other?”). The HB movies could have been a terrible sloppy mess, but the director was careful to mix beautiful visuals with very “human” characters (flaws and all), humor and drama, homage to Mike Mignola and his own artistic vision — and what emerges are movies that are more enjoyable and thought-provoking than your average movie, both superhero and non-superhero genre alike. Although del Toro’s project line-up is going well, it is an absolute shame that HB III is getting the axe, and that other cash-grubbing projects (especially from Marvel — which is such a wide hit or miss — and Lucasfilms) are so easily green-lit. I miss my naive thought that all movies strive to enthrall the audience first, and worry about profit later. Once of Prince Nuada’s last lines fits this sentiment perfectly : “We die, and the world will be poorer for it.” “
-comment left on Forbes article “Why Hollywood is Right to Turn Down Hellboy 3”