Hellboy: Sword Of Storms – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com


Phil Weinstein and Tad Stones


Ron Perlman (voice) Hellboy
Doug Jones (voice) Abe Sapien
Selma Blair (voice) Liz Sherman
John Hurt (voice) Professor Broom
Peri Gilpin (voice) Professor Kate Corrigan

DVD Release Date: February 6, 2007
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 77 Minutes

The Movie

For those of you that don’t know, Hellboy is a demon. He’s a huge, red, iron-fisted demon who was summoned up a long time ago by the Nazis in order to help them take control of the entire world. Before making the world his own, the Bureau For Paranormal Research And Defense (B.P.R.D.) seized him and raised him in their underground headquarters. Teamed with the likes of Abe Sapien (a type of merman) and Liz Sherman (who can summon and control fire), they set out to keep the world safe from all evil paranormal entities.

Hellboy and the rest have themselves right in the middle of another big controversy as a professor of the supernatural came across an ancient Japanese scroll. Upon opening the forbidden scroll, his soul was taken over by the evil power of Thunder and Lightning. Carrying around their power, the professor sets out for the sword holding their spirits to release them from their prisons to wreak havoc and destroy the world.

As the B.P.R.D finds out of these happenings, Hellboy and the others are required to check things out and discover what became of the professor. Upon arriving at the scene, Hellboy picks up the mystical sword and is automatically transported to an ancient Japanese universe. Here he meets up with many evil spirits who are dead set upon destroying him, but he also encounters a Japanese ghost who looks out for him and helps him. After finally learning what exactly is going on, it’s up to Hellboy to make sure to return to his own realm while making sure the evil spirits never follow him back.

Never reading many of the comic books but being a huge fan of the live-action film, I was pleased with this first shot at an animated Hellboy. The animation was superb and having Guillermo Del Toro involved in this film gave it a real good feel as to how the Hellboy franchise is going to continue with another animated and live-action film to come, so far. As a stickler, I enjoyed having the voices from the live-action film involved with this one too because I didn’t have to keep telling myself, “That’s not how Liz really sounds.”

The film is done really well in building up the story itself while also giving you a bit of background on Hellboy himself if you are brand new to this entire line of characters. It’s not so much as to bore the hardcore fans, but enough to give newcomers a taste of what they can expect. The story itself in dealing with old Japanese mythology really fits in well with the animation style the creator and director decided to use. Everything just seemed to fit as if it all truly belonged and was perfectly in place.

The Video

The animated film is shown in 1.78:1 Widescreen Format and looks damn good. The characters are very different from the comic book and even live-movie variations, yet you still feel like its how Hellboy, Liz, Abe, and the rest always were supposed to be. The animation is simply beautiful and deserves to be admired.

The Audio

The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 and sounds fantastic as well. I’m a stickler for animated films or cartoon shorts to make sure that the voices match up with the motion on screen. The animators for Sword Of Storms did excellent work in not only that respect, but also in having the in animation for sound effects picture perfect when it came to them making a wall crumble or a punch dished out.

Special Features

To Hell And Back – This featurette is all about how Mike Mignola came up with and created the character of Hellboy. The cast, producers, colorists, and entire crew talk about Mignola is as a person and how he likes to have things done in the world of comic books and animation. It really is interesting to watch because everyone speaks freely. Even though they praise Mignola, they still let you know how rough he can come across when he wants things to be a certain way.

A New Breed – Here you are told all about how the “new” Hellboy needed to be created. There was actually a deal put in place that the characters in the film could resemble Mignola’s original creations, but could not be identical to them. So in turn, they welcomed artist’s renditions from contests, the internet, friends, and so much more until Sean “Cheeks” Galloway came in with his designs. It’s a fun watch seeing how he got started in animation and how his drawings of Hellboy came to life.

Conquering Hellboy – A short, but fun featurette showing how the actors got into their parts when delivering the lines in the studio. Interesting, but if you’ve seen one behind the scenes voice animation feature, you’ve seen them all.

A View From The Top – There is a sequence in the film entitled “Heads” that is a bit of an important scene to the story. Here you learn how that entire sequence was thought up, came together, and was brought into the film itself. Considering the feature gives you a spoiler warning before playing it making sure you’ve seen the film first, I certainly won’t ruin it for you either.

Keepers Of Hellboy – The panel discussion from the 2006 San Diego Comic Con including: Guillermo Del Toro (executive producer), Matt Wayne (writer), Sean Galloway (character concept designer), Mike Mignola (creator), Phil Weinstein (director), and Tad Stones (supervising producer). Some animatics were shown to the crowd and then they simply all discussed it an answered questions. Again, another good watch considering they are a bit more candid here and it makes for a fun flow. Quite lengthy, but worthwhile information throughout.

Audio Commentary – Commentary from Mike Mignola, Tad Stones, and Phil Weinstein. The commentary is worth a listen to, but if you watch the film once and then all of the other extras, you’re virtually getting the same thing.

Hellboy Goes East – Another spoiler warning here before you get to see any of these features, so I urge you to watch the film first. Some more of the crew joins in here to talk about how they created the animation the way they did including how Hellboy walks, the backgrounds, the costumes, and more. A lot of this featurette is really interesting, but there are some things that you’ve probably seen before in other behind the scenes extras. It’s not very long, so it won’t hurt to watch all the segments.

TrailersHellboy Animated: Blood & Iron, Stan Lee Presents: The Condor, Noein, and Hellboy Video Game

The Inside Pulse

This is one everyone should check out. It’s a great story and perfect for the comic lover or even the casual Hellboy aficionado. The thing is that it’s also enjoyable for both adults and children alike. Adults can enjoy it just for what it is, and kids will truly love the more kiddie, cartoonish feel that the animation appears to give while all along staying gorgeous. The special features provide close to another two hours of informative entertainment that is well worth whatever price tag you find on this DVD.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Hellboy: Sword Of Storms
(OUT OF 10)