Cronos

Cronos

Del Torro gives us a good twist on the vampire tales, showing bloodlust as an addiction for humans, except that it is not taking blood that the characters desire, it is giving blood which in turn provides eternal life. Strong performances added to the new take on an old story make this a good film, but a lack of action and scares may put most viewers off. It manages to provoke some thoughts and emotions, but fails to strongly impact the audience.

In the 16th century a device is created which looks both like a golden spider and piece of jewellery. However, it is this device which can give eternal life as once attached to your arm it sucks your blood, somehow enabling you to be invulnerable. The device appears in the late 20th century in the hands of an ageing antique dealer Gris, who has had a difficult life of pain and struggling for money. Soon though he works out the power of the device and feels younger and stronger. He begins to fall under the strength of the machine, forgetting about the only thing he loves- his granddaughter. Meanwhile, an old millionaire has been tracking down the device all his life, he will die soon but wants to save himself. His ungrateful nephew Angel hates his uncle but must do his bidding, and goes in search of the device putting Gris and his young granddaughter in danger. Can Gris resist the temptation of eternal life and protect his granddaughter, or will he succumb to its power forever?

The film does move slowly and does not follow many of the vampire story traits. If you are expecting a full blown, or even subtle horror movie, look elsewhere. This is more of a drama, dealing with the agony of moving towards death, trying to cling to every last gasp, and eventually acceptance of fate. There are touching scenes, made strong because of the performances of Luppi and Shanath. The story is interesting enough to keep you watching, and Ron Perlman injects some pace, strength and humour. The final scenes are good, the whole film is filmed beautifully with good use of light and shadow. Worth watching for fans of Del Torro, a good symbol of where he would go in later films, this remains his most moving work beside the recent Pan’s Labyrinth. The DVD is light on features.

As always, please leave any comments on the movie/review.

Hellboy: Special Edition

Hellboy

After hearing rave reviews from America, and being a fan of Perlman I knew I had to see this movie. I have never read the comics, but as with comic book movies, they usually explain the basics. Hellboy is an above average comic adventure with some good effects and acting, stands above most other films for having a good script and being more smart than most others, but it is slightly too slow in places.

Ron Perlman stars as the adult Hellboy, a demon which the Nazis brought from some Nether Region as an infant. However, he was rescued and Rasputin-the man in charge of raising him was trapped with his minions for 60 years. Hellboy was given to Prof Broom and he becomes the creatures father. Hellboy grows like a normal human, and becomes part of an elite team of freaks who fight evil. He joins Abe Sapian, an amphibious creature, and Liz a pyrotechnic woman who he falls for. However, she cannot control her powers and is locked away. When Rasputin and his evil forces return, it is up to the team to stop him, taking rookie agent John along. The two form an unlikely duo, and plan to bring down the bad guys once and for all.

Perlman is excellent in the role, creating much of the film’s humour. Blair and Pierce are also good in differing roles, Hurt is strong as the Prof, and Evans is OK as John. The action is good in parts, but the effects are very impressive, as is the make-up and sets etc. The story is a little wavy at times and can sometimes detach itself from the audience. However, there are enough exciting moments to keep us happy, and even as a comic book movie it is different and refreshing. Hopefully the sequel will be an improvement.

This 2 disc edition has tonnes of features, from documentaries to comic shorts and other films. This is a worthy purchase for any fan, though if you’re a fan of the animated series too, you would be better going for the newly released 3 disc edition. Both are sets which are the way all dvds should be.

Feel free to comment on my review or the movie itself- share your thoughts on how this compares with other comic book movies.