Posted on February 12, 2008 by Flames
Starring the voices of Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones and John Hurt
What do vampires, an ancient goddess and Hellboy have in common? In this animated feature film, Hellboy and all his friends take on myth in his signature, sardonic style. True to the mythos, there is a touch of good versus evil mixed in with some savvy backstory and character development.
Story and Audience
Three trails of stories weave in and around each other in this animated feature. The first, about the bones of dead monks rising in Tibet, trails off quickly and ends in the comic. The second is a past-to-present tale highlighting Professor Broom’s character, inspired by real-life Hungarian Elizabeth Bathory, who (in real life) bathed in the blood of young women to keep her youthful appearance. In this Hellboy story, the Countess is a vampire serving Hecate, who confronts Hellboy confused in the third piece to this plot; why would he deny his true calling and be persuaded by mortals?
One of the reasons why I liked this particular animated feature was because the story was well plotted out and masterfully done in Hellboy’s signature style. If you wanted to, you could spend hours discussing why Hellboy is so popular simply because the plot preys upon common Western social and religious taboos. We’ve all seen vampires before; but have you seen vampires that get their power from a pagan goddess that talks back to you?
Yes, you could probably predict how the movie will end, but it’s a lot of fun to watch. For the most part, the cast of characters you saw in the movie are the same versions here, but you really don’t need to even know who Hellboy is to watch Blood & Iron because a short introduction is included in the film.
Characters, Voice & Animation
Personally I didn’t like the way Abe Sapien was written into this film, he was much more combat-oriented than I would have given him credit for. My least favorite character was Liz, not only because she was drawn like a 15 year-old girl, but because she felt more like a cameo appearance than a part of the story. I thought that the good Professor was written really well; there were flashback episodes that were not relayed in order, adding some nice back story to his character. I thought the voice-overs were really professional and seamless with the animation; it helped that Ron Perlman added his talents to the voice of Hellboy. I can’t imagine another actor in that role.
Overall, the animation and the artistry were really professional and (thankfully) not cartoon-ish; the first example that jumps to my mind is the flashback scenes with the Professor. Instead of flipping the switch to black-and-white, softer colors are used to give it an aged photograph feel, without dousing the scene in sepia tones.
Bonus Features & Conclusion
To assess whether or not Blood & Iron is worth a buy, you really have to look at the way it was put together. My version came with some nice touches that added to the story for me, even though for some bizarre reason no subtitles were available. Dubbed, The Yearning, a full comic is neatly tucked inside the case (although, if I were you, I’d wait to read it). On the DVD, there are bonus features like the standard feature commentary that most DVDs have, but you also have an e-Comic exclusive called The Penanggalan as well as another animated debut, The Iron Shoes. I don’t know about you, but I’ve picked up a lot of DVDs that had less-than-ideal bonus features but, just like Hellboy the Movie, I felt I got my money’s worth.
Review by Monica Valentinelli