Friday, December 12, 2008

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Movie Review)

I thoroughly enjoy the Hellboy comics, but I’m not a regular reader of them. I don’t know why, I’m just a bit strange like that.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the first Hellboy movie. Ron Perlman is an underused and underrated actor, and if I’m not mistaken, this was his first starring vehicle. Sure, he was the Beast in the Beauty and the Beast TV show in the ‘80s, but there was so much makeup on him that you couldn’t even tell it was him. And really, that was 20 years ago at least. This is definitely Ron Perlman, and Ron Perlman is definitely Hellboy.

Let’s move on to some more of the cast before we get into the story. First, Jeffrey Tambor. If you’ve never watched Arrested Development, you’re cheating yourself out of one of the best comedies ever put on TV. I never saw The Larry Sanders Show, but I heard he was great on it. He was pretty much the only saving grace of a very short-lived sit-com last year, one that I can’t even remember the name of. But it’s Arrested Development that does it for me. He’s wonderful in it. And he was good as the director of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (henceforth known as the BPRD) in the first movie. I’ve just started watching the sequel, so I’m hoping he gets a larger role in this movie.

Doug Jones got shafted in the first movie. He played Abe Sapien, but the character was voiced by David Hyde Pierce (Niles from Frasier). He gets his revenge this go around, though. If I’m not mistaken, he’s playing three different characters and actually gets to speak as Abe Sapien. I’m not knocking Pierce, but even the guy Gollum was based on in the Lord of the Rings movies got to do the voice.

The first Hellboy movie is the only thing I’ve liked Selma Blair in, and as of right now I can only remember her in Cruel Intentions and Kath & Kim, where she pretty much played the same character in both. Here, her character is much more subdued and not dressed like a prostitute. This makes her quite much more attractive.

I imagine in the first film the budget was somewhat modest. The villains were human, for the most part, and there weren’t a lot of monstrous henchmen to deal with. The end of the movie probably soaked up all of the FX budget. Then the director, Guillermo del Toro, did Pan’s Labyrinth. This was a fantastical masterpiece. It was beautiful and horrible at the same time. And I don’t mean horrible in a bad way, like the story or acting or whatever was horrible. It was the creatures. What could have been a beautiful fairy tale was made into a nightmare, and it was wonderful. After this, I then imagine that the budget for Hellboy 2 was upped significantly. And it shows. More creatures. More action. More fun stuff to watch. Fot God’s sake, just take a look at the Troll Market.

Just a general observation/question: why is it that when someone falls out of a building in a movie or a TV show, there’s always a car to fall on? Is that really more dramatic than splatting on the sidewalk, or is it just cheaper?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the forest elemental...was he running around with his wang all a-flippin’ and a-floppin’ in the breeze?

This sequel was definitely more spectacular, if not more grand, than the first. The effects are on par, but there are just more. There are more of everything: more monsters, more villains, more fighting, more plot, more character development, more conflict...but less humans. Huh.

I don’t really know how specific to get with this. There are scenes that I really liked, that made me feel for different characters, but if you’re reading this and are trying to decide if you want to watch it, I don’t want to spoil that for you, to "Rosenblatt" you, as some of the kids are calling it.

Suffice it to say, this movie was as good if not a bit better than the first. It feels like a cross between Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth, just because del Toro could do more with the sequel. If you enjoyed the first, I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy the second. I just hope there’s enough demand for a third. Heck, I’d think a BPRD TV show would be awesome. Granted, two of the actors already have their own shows, but I’m pretty sure one will be canceled (really, does anyone like Kath and Kim?) and the other will end up killing the character off (that's gotta be what Sons of Anarchy is leading up to). That’ll free them up. Do it, TV! I command thee!

Listening to: Avril Lavigne - The Best Damn Thing
via FoxyTunes


Thea said...

Oh Hellboy, how I love thee!

I really, really loved this movie. The visuals were (of course) spectacular, from the wooden puppets at the beginning to the Elf court and the Troll Market...and oh yeah, the 70 times 70 warriors of the Golden Army. Yeah, suffice to say, I'm a huge fan of Guillermo Del Toro's :)

Ron Perlman's Hellboy is what sells it though--I love the sort of B-movie, cheesy-noir feel to the character, and the fact that it's mostly makeup and prosthetics as opposed to too much CGI. I sincerely hope there will be a third film!

Totally agree with you on Selma Blair, by the way. Why is she always so whiny and sad looking? I like her here as Liz though.

Loved that Doug Jones was allowed to speak this time around. He's one heck of a motion actor, and I loved his part(s) here.

A couple of my friends weren't such fans of this film because of the cheeseball humor--but what can I say, I love it. The Tecate/Manilow scene, the 'industrible' line, I was laughing my ass off. Easily one of my favorite films of the year!

Oh, and I believe there is slated to be a Hellboy animated series in the works? I read that somewhere a while ago. Hmm, have to look it up.

Rob Rosenblatt said...

I don't know about an animated series, but there are a few animated movies out there. The I've got are "Sword of Storms" and "Blood and Iron." According to Wikipedia, a third has been put on hold. Ron, Selma, Doug, and John Hurt all voice their movie characters.

I've also learned just now (also from Wikipedia) that: "Before the release of Hellboy 3 Del Toro has spoken of making a live-action Hellboy TV Series with Universal and a series of internet segments to go along with it, persay shorts cut from the show and broadcast on the internet, Youtube will be a likely sponsor for the segments. No further information has been revealed."

So that's pretty cool if it happens. Kind of goes along with what I was saying about a show based more on the BPRD rather than just on Hellboy.