Director Rodrigo Blaas’s short film “Alma” presents the illusion of whimsy and magic at first sight, but deep down “Alma” is one of the spookiest short films made in years. Its entire premise seems to be a metaphor for child endangerment and how easily children could get sucked in to the darkness of the world and disappear forever. The sentient store in the story could very well double for a stranger offering a child a treat, while the young girl in the movie is the child submitting to the temptation and paying a deadly price.
I was never a big fan of Hellboy mainly because it was difficult to find. Here in the Bronx, any chances of ever reading it were futile. But I was a big fan of the original “Hellboy” movie as well as the two animated mid-quels that others found generally forgettable. The first film was Guillermo Del Toro playing Mike Mignola’s game, a veritable bevy of oddities and monsters confined to the modest budget of a studio who had very little faith on the power of this concept. “Hellboy II” however is Del Toro’s game, a movie that’s reliant on the imagination of Guillermo Del Toro who brought with him Oscar cred via the masterwork of “Pan’s Labyrinth.”
In a world filled with boy wizards, and dragons, every time I think the fantasy world is dead, there’s always someone who swoops in to reclaim the throne and show us that indeed the fantasy genre is still alive and well. All it needs is much imagination and no derivation. It’s not a hard concept to grasp, and it’s not a hard task to accomplish. Every time I receive an opposing argument on that declaration, two words will come from my lips: “Pan’s Labyrinth.” This would be the part where I’d compare this to fodder like “Legend,” and “Alice in Wonderland,” but Del Toro’s film is one of its own kind. Much like Del Toro’s previous “The Devil’s Backbone,” “Pan’s Labyrinth” is unlike anything you can imagine watching.
Prolific director Guillermo Del Toro who penned the previous comic film “Blade 2” and the cult psychological horror film “The Devil’s Backbone” gives some competent direction in this adaptation of the hit comic book. A young agent John T. Meyers is recruited into the ranks of Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense Facility, he’s signed on to mentor their primary weapon of choice. Given a tour of the facilities gazing on to Abe Sapien a very intelligent reptilian sea creature, he’s assigned to take care of Hellboy. Discovered as a child during World War 2 during a raid on the Nazis, he was summoned to Earth to become the evil Rasputin’s child and eventual ruler of Earth, but when US soldiers discovered him, professor Broom took him in to reform him and he became Earth’s greatest protector using his powers for evil to protect humanity.