Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

I didn't expect to see Hellboy II in the movie theatre because no one I know is as into comic book movies as much as I am. I can (and will) drag my husband to see movies like The Dark Knight but I can't seem to get him into the spirit of Hellboy.

But as I was watching the original Hellboy the other day I realized I needed to see Hellboy II on the big screen because you need a venue that large to appreciate the work of director Guillermo del Toro-- anyone who has seen Pan's Labyrinth will know exactly what I am talking about. So I did something I never do-- I went to the movie by myself.

Was it worth it? I'd say definitely.

Hellboy (Ron Perlman) is a creation of Dark Horse comics writer Mike Mignola. He is a demon who fights for the U.S. government (The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense or BERD) to protect America from any kind of supernatural danger. Hellboy was discovered as a child after he was brought through a dimensional portal and raised by an adopted father, Professor Bruttenholm (John Hurt). Hellboy longs to fit in, and tries to hide the fact with a gruff nature, but with his bright red skin, horns and tail, he is forever an outsider-- despite filing down his horns to look more human.

In this second installment (in what I hope is a continuing series) Hellboy is confronted with an enemy who is also an outcast. Prince Nuada (Luke Goss), the Elf Prince of the Underworld, seeks to raise The Golden Army and destroy the human race for what he believes is a broken truce between races. There are several moments between Nuada and Hellboy in which you can almost sense an understanding between the two-- they both know what it is like to be different and alone-- and Nuada is a great cinematic villain in my opinion. The fight scenes are also as beautiful as they are deadly and Goss performs them exceptionally well.

Hellboy II brings back most of the characters we saw in the first movie: Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) as Hellboy's pyrokinetic girlfriend; Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) an aquatic empath who also works for BERD; and Tom Manning (Jeffrey Tambor) as Hellboy's obnoxious and officious boss. Hellboy and Liz's relationship is expanded upon, though not dwelled upon too much in this movie. Abe gets his own love interest this time out and Manning is still trying to get Hellboy to behave--with no luck. All of the film's humor comes from this core cast-- with the addition of Johann Krauss (Seth MacFarlane), a German psychic brought in to try to help control Hellboy. I had several laugh-out-loud moments when the movie focused on this group.

But like any Guillermo del Toro film, the real star of the movie is the visual effects. They are, in a word, stunning. Like the original Star Wars films, del Toro features a lot of unusual creatures; from trolls, goblins, some pretty crazy tooth fairies to the Angel of Death. What I appreciated was that every creature was given amazing detail. If you saw the original Hellboy, you'll know from just seeing the characters of Hellboy and Abe the quality to expect from a del Toro creation. Multiply that by 10 (at least) and you'll have an idea of what to expect here.

As I was watching the movie I couldn't help but think that this was what George Lucas was trying to achieve with his final Star Wars trilogy. Hellboy II has all the special effects you could want from a sci-fi film but still manages to keep its heart. I have read some criticism that Hellboy II doesn't have as much character development as it should but I don't think I agree with that. It is a comic book movie and as such the comic book aspects have to be emphasized, but I don't think the characters suffered for it. I think del Toro did a fine job of weaving the plot among the action and the special effects.

At the end of the day though, I suppose you have to love comic book movies to love Hellboy as much as I do -- I am something of a fangirl in this regard. This movie hit all the right notes with me. It has humor, action and outstanding visuals. I would definitely say this was worth the price of admission.


Aaron M. Wilson said...

I'm looking forward to seeing this movie. I love Hellboy! I wanted to see it this weekend, but decided not to ruin the experance for other movie goers with my hacking cold.

So now the delema for this weekend will be: Hellboy II or Batman.

furiousBall said...

ahh cool, i'm looking forward to this one.

Charles Gramlich said...

This makes me want to see it, although I was already intrigued by the previews. Plus, I loved Pan's labrynthe.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

This sounds like an excellent movie.

Steve Malley said...

I. Am. So. JEALOUS. We won't get Big Red here for another month or so!

At least we get Batman on time with y'all...

Just rented the two animated features too. Muy awesome!

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

I really want to see it too, the first one was great. Unfortunately, it will most likely be on the small screen.

SQT said...


That's why I went ahead and saw it by myself. Hubby is taking me to Dark Knight this weekend for our anniversary! I'm such a dork.


It's a good one.


If you liked Pan's Labyrinth this should be right up your alley.


I sure thought so.


Oh man. I would hate that. Thank goodness you get the Dark Knight. I would go crazy if I had to wait for that one.


That's too bad. But I think you'll still enjoy it.

DesLily said...

I've always liked Perlman and I really liked Hellboy I (and I'm not even into comic books!) I doubt I can get to see this in the theater like I want to but if all fails I will be buying this on dvd!

patrick said...

Hellboy is dependably fun; for sure that director has an amazing imagination, reminded me alot of his work in Pan's Labyrinth