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Inspirational Reads

Review Time: Hellboy II: The Golden Army

July 22, 2008

I'll preface this by saying I loves me some Hellboy, but haven't read a book in a long, long time. Like, since my first year of grad school. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the first movie as I thought it was a fairly good recreation of some of the original series.

To that end, I'm glad that Guillermo del Toro was given more license to do as he pleased with this installment in the Hellboy films, and it pays off as del Toro is an excellent storyteller. As opposed to the original, this story centers more on tradition fairy tale mythology, which I enjoyed quite a bit. The other nice thing about this movie was that the characters seemed to mesh into a more cohesive team, each knowing and owning their rolls within the larger group dynamic. Even the inclusion of Johann Krauss, a German psychic who got converted into pure ectoplasmic energy worked within the team...despite the fact that he was voiced by Seth MacFarlane. I, personally, would have liked to have had a voice actor with a more hollow, almost synthetic voice rather than listening to Peter Griffin, but that's just me.

Overall, the acting was consistent. Ron Perlman does a great job as Hellboy and Selma Blair doesn't really need to act all that much, but her broodiness is pulled off well. The scenes illustrating the growing friendship between Abe and Hellboy was comedic, and the action scenes were well done. Also, the creatures that del Toro dreamt up for the movie (Wink, the Forest God) were incredible. The Angel of Death was pretty kickass, too. I had seen a picture of her/it/him, but when it "came to life" on the screen, I really liked it. The Golden Army itself, with their clockwork skeletons, clearly carries the mark of del Toro's handiwork.

Possibly the nicest thing about the movie is that it does not rely too much on CGI. Almost all of the characters and creatures have a body inside the suits, and any extras are taken care of through the computer generated graphics. It definitely gives a much less artificial feel to the movie, which is something that was lacking in the waning scenes of Indiana Jones (and all three of the Star Wars prequels).

I will say, however, that I was slightly distracted by the Elf Prince that was the main protagonist thanks Jidai antagonist in the story, only because his name is "Nuada". There used to be a company down the street from my current employer called "Nuada Pharmaceuticals", and I knew a few people who had worked there. Couple that with the fact that the fates of both Nuada Pharmaceuticals and Prince Nuada were pretty much the same, and it makes for an enjoyable allegory.

I also kept hearing Charlie Dalton from Dead Poet's Society saying, "Call me Nuwanda".

Overall, the movie was solid and the action scenes were thoroughly entertaining. The ending is a bit predictable (come on...we know the protagonist is going to win) but getting there is a joy unto itself. The visuals are nice and don't feel overly faked and the acting is solid. The story was without any major plotholes that I noticed right away, though the scene with the baby kind of annoyed me (yes, I understand that it was a vehicle for something else).

If you're a fan of the series, you won't be let down; if you're a fan of del Toro's films, this one will not disappoint; if you're a fan of stories featuring folk lore and mythology, you might also enjoy this, as well.


Jidai said...

I think you mean Nuada was the antagonist. :)

Also, the similarities between our blogs is growing ever more evident. There can be only one! :P

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

You are absolutely right, sir, and this problem has been rectified.

Again, you are right. Do you watch Venture Brothers? I'm so Dean right now.

Falwless said...

Ron Perlman does a great job as Hellboy and ...

Ron Perlman?? Wasn't he just arrested for being a huge con artist pedophile?

Oh wait, that's Lou Perlman. Never mind. Are they brothers?

Noel said...

This sounds awesome because I was afraid that it would rely on the CG far too much.
Noah wanted to see an action movie and it was between Hellboy or Wanted.

We went the "straight guy" route and got to count how many times Angelina Jolie was half naked in the movie.

6. But it was a long 6 because she was half naked for long scenes.

patrick said...

Hellboy is fun for sure; plus that director has got an amazing imagination, much like his work in Pan's Labyrinth

Dr Zibbs said...

I must say, I thought this was pretty entertaining.

Rider said...

Your review makes me want to see it a second time. Nobody could've made a better Hellboy movie than del Toro. Nobody.