Movie: "Hellboy II: The Golden Army"
Genre: Action / Adventure
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Writing credits: Guillermo del Toro and Mike Mignola
Plot: Hellboy has to save the humanity from annihilation... again.
Review: For those of you who are fans of the comics, I'll letcha know right off the bat that I've never read a Hellboy comic, so my review is entirely based on the movie itself and not how accurately it does or doesn't follow any of the comics. That being said, I enjoyed Hellboy II: The Golden Army almost as much as the first movie, and in all honesty, I could easily see why some people would like this sequel even more.
For starters, it definitely has better visuals than the first flick. The characters, the costumes, the troll market... they were simply a lot of fun to watch. Guillermo del Toro continues to impress the hell out of me as one of the finest directors out there who can take some of the most grandiose cinematic concepts and deliver them with style.
This big sequel also features Hellboy and Abe Sapien singing their own drunk rendition of Barry Manilow's "Can't Smile Without You". Just stop for a moment and try picturing that in your head and you'll quickly understand why it's one of the greatest comic book movie scenes of all time. Simply hilarious. I also got some good laughs from the tumultuous relationship between Hellboy and Johann Kraus (who is definitely a welcome addition to the cast).
The storyline itself is where I had some problems with the movie. Aside from being a bit more predictable, I didn't find myself caring about the characters as much in this story. Maybe it's because we weren't being introduced to them this go around and, in all honesty, they're not facing a truly evil enemy. They're more or less just facing a frustrated one who's gone wacko. But come on... in the first movie they were going up against a purely evil Nazi wizard and his pals. It's gonna be hard to make an ancient elf prince, who is pissed at humans for treating the world poorly, come off anywhere nearly as evil as a Nazi wizard hellbent on destroying the world. I was also reminded of the X-Men films when some of the public were upset with Hellboy when he was just trying to help out. The whole "they'll never except you because you're different" theme is just a little played out in comic book movies for me, but I still can easily understand why they'd have it come up in this of all Hellboy flicks. Don't get me wrong, it's still a really good story, but it just didn't interest me as much as the first movie did. It doesn't seem like there's as much on the line in this one.
There were also some characters from the first movie that I definitely missed in this one. Though there is a brief flashback scene with him early in the movie, Professor Trevor 'Broom' Bruttenholm was definitely missed as Hellboy's father figure. I also really loved Karl Ruprecht Kroenen in the first film, and while Prince Nuada had even greater ninjarific skills, Kroenen was a more visually interesting character. Then again, perhaps Prince Nuada suffered from surgical addiction as well... he just hid it better. Fortunately, his sister, Princess Nuada, was a surprisingly great performance by relative newcomer, Anna Walton. The love story that blooms between her and Abe is more entertaining than the one between Hellboy and Liz Sherman if you ask me. It doesn't hurt that her character has a fantastically ethereal beauty either. And as I stated before, Johann Kraus (voiced by the one and only Seth MacFarlane) was definitely a nice new character for the Hellboy series. It really comes down to what you prefer to see on the screen: old professors and Nazi ninjas or an ectoplasmic roboman and some elves.
And speaking of Sherman, what happened to her cool blue flames? Sure, it's a nitpicky point and is perhaps their way of commenting on her getting more control over her fiery anger, but I'd much rather see her shooting out blue flames to kill everything in sight instead of a traditional orange blaze. Maybe it's something from the comic books that I'm simply unaware of, but I prefer the blue.
Lastly, I was hoping to see the Golden Army do a lot more. I'm not going to spoil anything for those of you who haven't seen it, but I was expecting a lot more from the so-called indestructible army. Suffice it to say, I was really surprised that the titular army was on screen for maybe 5-10 minutes of the entire film. I'll take more Golden Army footage and less "flashback of Hellboy as a kid" footage any day of the week, thankyouverymuch.
In the end, Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a visually superior funfest that you definitely should see on the big screen because it really is an artistic achievement at the very least. Ron Perlman also proves once again that he was born to play the role of Hellboy. Just don't be surprised if you find that the story itself isn't quite as interesting as the original Hellboy film.
On a final note, I can't be the only one who would really like to see the Elemental fight Cloverfield. It'd be like a modern Godzilla vs. King Kong. Come on Hollywood... make it happen.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
I haven't seen it yet, but from the trailers you can really see the infulence from Pan's Labyrinth, which is only in french or spanish and is something up a cult film. If you can track it down, it's about the spanish civil war and has more of that awesome-rific graphical wonderment. I don't even know if it was released in the USA though.
|I want to know why the left out John Meyers.|
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