We take a look at this animated direct to DVD version of the comic book Hellboy to see if it measures up.

When a university professor is possessed by a pair of ancient demons, Hellboy and his BRPD cohorts find themselves taking a trip to Japan. But while Abe and Liz attempt to track down the missing professor, Hellboy ends up transported to an alternate dimension by a cursed sword that might offer the method of killing the demons once and for all.

Much closer in tone and pacing to Mike Mignola’s original comic books than Guillermo Del Toro’s live-action big screen outing, this first direct-to-DVD Hellboy Animated feature is sure to be a hit with fans.

Boasting reasonable production values (the animation is leagues ahead of Marvel’s recent Ultimate Avengers), superb voice acting from the likes of Ron Perlman and Selma Blair and even the inclusion of the fan-favourite Hellboy short story Heads, Sword of Storms might not do anything particularly revelatory but at the same time it pushes all of the right buttons. Judging from the preview on the disc it looks like the upcoming sequel, Blood and Iron, will build on these foundations.

The stylised animation shines through thanks to the vibrantly-coloured transfer, while the uneven 5.1 mix boasts plenty of movement and effects across the front speakers and sub, but makes very little use of the rears.

An interesting batch of extras includes a commentary, eight very informative behind-the-scenes featurettes, a panel discussion, trailers and DVD-ROM content including storyboards and weblinks.

The Picture:

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The Movie:

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