Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
Directed by Neil Marshall
Written by Andrew Cosby
2004’s Hellboy with Ron Perlman in the title role was perhaps the best we will get for this comic book character. Helmed by the fantastic visionary Guillermo del Toro, the 2004 film used mysticism to set the tone of the film. This reboot just goes straight for gore and blood. Rarely do I find myself in such a situation with a film that I am hard pressed to figure out how to salvage it or make it better. This is such a film I dread to review. For this is a film that should not have been made. With a single writer whose expertise roots heavily in comic books, it is easy to see how this film parallels a comic book story. Yet for a feature film it suffers heavily.
Here comes the spoilers.
The film starts off with ahistorical telling of the Dark Ages in England and the Blood Queen witch, Nimue (Milla Jovovich), is about to set off a devastating plague across England when King Arthur and Merlin come to stop her. With the sword Excalibur, Arthur is able to behead her and quarter her body and send the pieces to distant locations in hopes she will never come back to life. I guess burning the body to ashes wasn’t an option? Also doesn’t give us a villain either so I will just move on from this. Perhaps have Arthur attempt to burn her body and Merlin interrupts him telling him if they destroy the body then her spirits will reincarnate and they will not have control over keeping her “imprisoned”. Least offer a decent reason here and give Merlin a bit of dialogue here.
Jump to present day and Hellboy is in Mexico searching for his agent buddy who was tracking a group of vampires. Hellboy’s adoptive dad, Professor Trevor (Ian McShane), is calling him wondering why he is in Mexico and asking him to come home. This play up of father son gets some moments throughout the film, but in actuality should have been the main theme of the film. The father son story could have been written better to make the climax of this film hit home harder. I would have rather seen a young Hellboy growing up with his dad than the gore and blood they served up scene after scene in this film. This could have been a film about a son seeking his father’s approval, and blazing his own path ahead. A son torn between his nature and the nurture factors of his origins. That is where a real story should have been set in this film. Instead we get the same old yarn about the apocalypse and end of the world that is quite boring by now.
I wish there were simpler ways to make this film better, but there simply isn’t without gutting about half an hour to go back in time to show Hellboy being raised by the Professor and being taught lessons that he would need to be able to choose the man he wants to be. Then you may actually be able to fully realize the climax of the film and draw us the viewers closer to Hellboy as he struggles with this. In the end, the conventions and clichés that often work for one genre of writing doesn’t always work for another. Blood and gore have their place, but real emotions and feelings can greatly propel this visuals if handled the right way with right writing. I think it will be safe to say that it will be a cold day in hell before this film will see a sequel.
Thanks for reading ‘Writing Movie ‘WRONGS’.