• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms

TITLE: Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms

YEAR: 2006

GENRE: Superhero/Comics and Animation

The Cartoon Network has been one of the active forces in bringing to life some fairly classic characters. They have been instrumental in bringing back the Scooby-Doo franchise by creating a slew of made-for-TV movies for their network, and they were also important in creating a couple superhero films starring the Dark Horse Comics anti-hero Hellboy. Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms  is one of the more exciting superhero animated offerings of the last few years.

A professor of ancient folklore opens up an old, forbidden Japanese scroll for research, and inadvertently becomes possessed by the souls of two foul demons appropriately named Thunder and Lightning. The Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense is called into action, and Hellboy (voiced by Ron Perlman) and a team of agents including pyro-kinetic Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), aquatic Abe Sapien (Doug Jones), and tenacious yet normal Professor Kate Corrigan (Peri Gilpin) are sent to investigate. As the red demon picks up a samurai sword at the scene, Hellboy is magically transferred to a strange Japanese world filled with monsters, spirits, and other abnormalities. The only way back to his reality is to break the sword, but breaking the same implement will also unleash the demons into the normal world for good and inevitably end humankind. Can Hellboy and his comrades save the day and permanently send the four demons to Hell where they belong?

Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms is not a stellar animated film but it is better than most of its DC and Marvel counterparts. The animation style for this film was more in a traditional anime style, which is fitting for a film that is mostly based in Japan. The decision to keep most of the voices (mostly Perlman and Blair) intact from the live action movies was a smart decision and gave the film some continuity compared to other comic book adaptations. The addition of Gilpin (who also stars as the main parent in the quality ABC Family teen drama ‘Make It Or Break It”) is a good one as she complements the main characters as needed and stays in the background when she is not as necessary. The story was faithful to the Hellboy mythology, which makes sense considering the creator of the franchise Mike Mignola wrote the story and supervised the project. Hellboy’s famous sarcastic mouth is well displayed here as Perlman delivers a fair amount of wise cracking banter while battling monsters and ghosts. I especially enjoyed two fight sequences: the battle with the spider geisha woman complete with a legion of web crawlers was genuinely creepy in its presentation; and the scene where Hellboy bashes six floating vampire heads like baseballs at Yankee Stadium was comical. One area in the writing that was missing was the sub-plot where Sherman is wrestling with her pyro abnormalities could have been better developed as it appeared to be more whining than an actual part of the story; this was a missed opportunity to turn this film from above average to exemplary in its writing.

It must be said that Hellboy Animated: Sword Of Storms is not a children’s movie as there is some profanity and a lot of intense horror-themed fight scenes so the young ones should find other movies to watch. Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms was the first of two full-length animated films ordered by the Cartoon Network which still air them occasionally. Personally I would like to see more of these stories as Hellboy translates to an anime style quite well. That, combined with careful writing by its creator and not some studio attempting to translate from the original material, gives Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms a more genuine feel as a quality comic book adaptation. It is not perfect, but I enjoyed it more than most DC and Marvel adaptations.

* * * 1/2

–Mark

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