Saturday, July 12, 2008

Review - Hellboy II: The Golden Army

An ancient truce between the mythological realm and humans has been broken by Prince Nuada, who will stop at nothing until he controls the Golden Army and retakes planet earth for its true inhabitants. Nuada insists that humans have no respect for earth and will never have attained enough, until it is destroyed. The only team able enough to stop the merciless Prince Nuada and his forces is the kitten loving, cigar smoking, big gun toting, and let's not forget misunderstood, Hellboy and the rest of the B.P.R.D. (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense). Hellboy is once again aided by the help of Liz Sherman, his pyrokinetic girlfriend and the empathy heavy and very aquatic Abe Sapien. Newcomer Johann Krauss, who is a protoplasmic mystic, joins the team and they must journey between both our world and a unseen world to solve the mysteries behind the Golden Army while trying to stop Nuada from absolute control of planet earth.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a fantastic film. Guillermo del Toro this time around fully embraces the fantasy world of Hellboy created by Mike Mignola. He takes the viewer on a joy-filled, action-packed, ride that stretches the imgaination and tickles your funny bone along the way. I found the pacing of The Golden Army to be much smoother than the first film. The first film had a few dry moments or very slow paced scenes, but in Hellboy 2, their aren't any dry spots and the movie doesn't stutter throughout its 110 minute running time. From beginning to end the film moves along without any hiccups inter-weaving action, story development, character development, humor, and most of all amazing locations. (The Troll Market definately one-uped Harry Potter's Diagon Alley and Star Wars's Mos Eisley).

For a second film, del Toro did a great job developing most of the characters introduced in the first film. Everyone in the film is great! I had no complaints with acting at all. Ron Perlman is Hellboy, he is just perfect as him! Selma Blair was very good this time around. Her and hellboy's relationship is a firey one and they do a great job of bickering back and forth and setting a real mood of tension on screen. What makes their performances equally as polished, is that as much tension they portray, they also show just as much love for one another. It is one of the intriguing qualities in the development of their two characters because they are in a relationship.

Doug Jones as Abe Sapien was also top-notch! Jones also plays the Angel of Death and the Chamberlain in the film. His physical performances are always oustanding and this time around as Abe, we see much more true empathy from him. His character is also, much more refined. In the first film, he was simply a book worm. Within this film, his interactions with all of the characters are far more well-rounded, they actually seem like a team and more importantly friends. One great moment between "Red and Blue" is with the two of them after a few too many Tecate's, listening to Barry Manillow and singing, "Can't Smile Without You." One for the books and had the entire theater laughing.

Newcomer to the team, Johann Krauss, was perfect! He was always one of my favorite characters from the comic books and I thought del Toro nailed his character flawlessly! Seth Mcfarlane's as the voice of Krauss was ideal. He brought a dynamic edge to the character that had both assurtion and humor. His scenes with hellboy were priceless. Their exchange in the locker room was comical and at the same time insightful into both of their personas. One could only hope, that if a 3rd film is made, del Toro would introduce Lobster Johnson hence completing the B.P.R.D. team from the original comics.

My only gripe with Hellboy II, is that Hellboy seemed to grow the least out of all the characters in the film. Hellboy's biggest dilema is that he is unaccepted in both worlds. He hates the fact that his reckless heroics go unnoticed by the public and that he is viewed like a monster in the public eye. He is viewed as a traitor by his own kind and hold's heavy the burden of his true destiny. Most of this was setup in the first film and del Toro spends a good chunk of this film dealing with the same. I felt it to be too much of a rehash. Granted hellboy and the team venture further out into the public eye this time around but, he still doesn't understand why citizens fear him. (Because he's a freaking demon!!!) This is a major staple of the hellboy series and it is a minor gripe, but I would have liked to see del Toro take another avenue to define this angle of hellboy's charcater. That said, there are some plot developments, that invlove spoilers I wont give away, which see hellboy grow in new ways that I actually really liked.

The creatures and sets that Guillermo del Toro created in Hellboy II are amazing! This guy has a true vision in the fantasy realm. Too many times in the movie I found myself staring at everything else going on in the backgrounds, because it ws just so detailed. Everything in each set piece was beautifully designed and really jumped off the screen. All of the characters were extremely cool too! Wink, who is Nuada's henchmen is awesome! His fight with hellboy is really good and done with just enough flare and humor. Other great characters were Cathedral Head, Angel of Death, and Two-Headed Shop Owner. "I'm not a baby, I'm a tumor." Like I said, del Toro has an amazing vision and I personally cannot wait to see what he does with J.R.R. Tolkein The Hobbit! The amount of fantasy he put just into Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth has my mouth watering with antcipation with what he can do with a amazing story like The Hobbit.

Overall, Hellboy II: The Golden Army was a fantastic story that rolled along with a perfect mix of action and humor. The story is well developed and has a great finale. When hellboy finally comes face-to-face with the Golden Army, its one of the better conclusions with a great action packed sequence. Ron Perlman and the rest of the cast go above and beyond my expectations and really show how fit they are for these roles. Guillermo del Toro did a beautiful job of continuing the hellboy franchise and really added some great dynamics to the future of hellboy and the B.P.R.D. One can only hope, especially after what looks like a strong showing at the box office, del Toro will come back and make at least 2 more Hellboy films.


Great review seriously one of the best films of the year!

Hellboy 2 was fun; for sure that director has an amazing imagination, reminded me a lot of his work in Pan's Labyrinth