Based on the graphic novels by Mike Mignola, Hellboy, caught between the worlds of the supernatural and human, battles an ancient sorceress bent on revenge. Check out Ralph Potts’ Ultra HD Blu-ray review.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2019
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 121 minutes
Genre: Fantasy

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim, Thomas Haden Church
Directed by: Neil Marshall
Music by: Benjamin Wallfisch
Written by: Andrew Cosby
Region Code: A

Release Date: July 23, 2019
"Ready to Raise Hell"

“Based on the graphic novels by Mike Mignola, Hellboy, caught between the worlds of the supernatural and human, battles an ancient sorceress bent on revenge.” – Lionsgate Home Entertainment

My Take:

Hellboy is back, and he’s on fire. From the pages of Mike Mignola’s seminal work, this story sees the legendary half-demon superhero (David Harbour) called to the English countryside to battle a trio of rampaging giants. There he encounters The Blood Queen, Nimue (Milla Jovovich), a resurrected ancient sorceress thirsting to avenge a past betrayal. Suddenly caught in a clash between the supernatural and the human, Hellboy is now hell-bent on stopping Nimue without triggering the end of the world.

I haven’t read any of Mike Mignola’s graphic novels but, I really enjoy the original Hellboy films starring Ron Perlman in the title role. When I saw this reboot was coming out, I wasn’t all that impressed by the trailer and, the critical reception pretty much solidified my expectations BUT, my curiosity got the best of me so here we are. I like David Harbour, Ian McShane, Daniel Dae Kim, Milla Jovovich and of course Thomas Haden Church and hoped that Hellboy had something viable to offer.

If this film had been made first it probably would have been the only one. Screenwriter Andrew Cosby simply failed to give the character the type of humanity/characteristics that made him so likeable in the earlier films. There was little foundation established by his backstory and the action was gratuitous at best. Lastly, there was no viable connection in Hellboy’s personal relationships or his potential as a world ending menace. The film was a series of strung together elements tied together with an extremely thin thread of a narrative. The attempts at clever banter/wit failed, leaving the cast to flounder.

According to Mike Mignola this film more closely resembled the components featured in his novel but, as a film, it’s just to disjointed, lacking in cohesive storytelling and likeable characters. I got through it but, found myself checking my watch and waiting for the credits to roll. At the end of the day Hellboy is an abysmal reboot that failed to live up to the source material found in the original films.

Replay Value: 2.0 Stars

Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong bloody violence and gore throughout, and language.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
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UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
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Dolby Atmos Rating: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
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Hellboy comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

Hellboy was shot digitally and derived from a 4K DI for its presentation in Ultra HD. The 1080p transfer looks terrific and this Ultra HD rendering takes it to the next level with a discernible increase in detail, emboldened highlights, both light and dark, and a noticeably vibrant image. The film has a multitude of fiery exchanges, streaming/cascading light and mixed light dark elements. They simply look stunning. This is primarily a dark film and those low-level sequences look terrific. Those sequences that incorporate elements of brilliant light, like the World War II flashback containing Hellboy’s backstory looks amazing. The emboldened highlights are bright enough that it caused me to squint. The use of shadows mixed with light looked very natural as well.

The film utilizes various chromatic schemes, with an overall cooler visual aesthetic, that appears faithfully reproduced in Ultra HD. The nature of the photography didn't always allow the wide color gamut to shine but scenes like the one that takes place in London when Hellboy and company arrive at their secret headquarters revealed delineated hues and rich color. Close ups reveal oodles of fine detail and abounding textures. Looking at the presentation as a whole I would say that it makes for a distinct improvement when compared to the 1080p Blu-ray rendering.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

In comparing the DV and HDR-10 renderings I ran the same scenes using my reference Panasonic UHD player in both DV and HDR-10 mode. The title looked outstanding on both formats with respect to the reproduction of HDR. I did feel that the DV presentation offered richer specular highlights and handling of the finest details in shadows. The latter wasn’t enough of a difference to warrant a rating difference but, I felt the former did. As I said you can’t go wrong with either.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that made steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects is a mix atmospherics, discrete effects and music. This is done to very good effect and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. During the first act, there are several instances where the mix generates a noticeable improvement in dimension and depth of field. There are a host of sounds that utilize the overhead channels, creating an involving listening experience. The film’s action-based sequences, such as the battle with the giants, convey the breadth/expanse of the soundstage as the track bristles with enveloping ambience and discretely placed effects. While these sequences sound very good in the standard mix, they are taken to the next level in the Amos mix.

Overall, I would say that viewing Hellboy in Ultra HD with the Dolby Atmos mix definitely heightened the experience of watching the film.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 


Audio: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA


Hellboy comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

The film utilizes a stylized visual design comprised of various elements that represent the differing environs featured in the story. The color range is limited to shades of dark blue, grays and black with splashes of broader colors and muted sepia tones. Warm golden accents are used to break up the monochromatic essence as uneven light and shading are prevalent. Contrast is spot on which empowers whites and grays without washing away detail. Whites are snappy and crisp and grays are multi-staged and layered. Blacks are dynamic and gradational and detail in shadows is just as strong. The large amount of CGI featured in the film softens some of the background elements but I didn’t find it to be excessive or distracting as the quality of the video is high. It isn’t always razor sharp but it is cleanly rendered with revealing refinement that increases the perception of fine detail.

The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel (Atmos core) audio sounds terrific. This recording has wide dynamic range and boasts superlative clarity and high-level detail. Dialog is appreciably lucid through the center channel as it penetrates well into the room. Channel separation and imaging is excellent. This draws out both large and small sound elements and allows their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be definable. The mix makes effective and often aggressive use of the surround channels to reproduce the spatial and discrete sounds contained in this soundtrack. Where called upon the combination of discretely placed, near field, and panning sound effects engages the senses. Low frequency effects are applied with authority and provide room shuddering bass. This is a noteworthy audio presentation that made for an involving home theater experience.

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Hellboy Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Hellboy Blu-ray
    • “Tales of the Wild Hunt: Hellboy Reborn” (3-Part Documentary)
    • Deleted Scenes
    • Previsualizations
  • Digital Copy
Final Thoughts:

From the pages of Mike Mignola’s graphic novel, Hellboy is an uninspired reboot that doesn’t hold a candle to the original films based on the same source material. It comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack featuring an excellent Ultra HD video rendering (that includes Dolby Vision HDR), top notch high definition video, room filling lossless surround sound, including a solid Dolby Atmos immersive sound mix and a fair supplemental offering. Hellboy is tough to recommend unless you already happen to be a fan. For those with a high tolerance for mediocre filmmaking who wish to check out its terrific home theater presentation, feel free to give it a rent on Blu-ray.
Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from  Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems