Review of “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (2008) PG-13 110min
July 16th, 2008 by Maxim · 2 Comments · 4,887 Views
Director of the original 2004 Hellboy, as well as 3-Oscar-winning Pan’s Labyrinth and Blade, Guillermo Del Toro has written and directed this sequel.
The plot: Everything is “business as usual” at The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. Hellboy (Ron Perlman) married his pyrokinetic girlfriend Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), and they are going through everything most married couples go through. But a new conflict is brewing in the paranormal world – a war is about to be waged on humankind by Prince Nuada (Luke Goss), who was rejected by both worlds for violating the truce, to reclaim the world. Hellboy and his team, Liz, aquatic empath Abe (Doug Jones), and the newest BPRD member protoplasmic mystic Johann Kraus (James Dodd), must stop Prince Nuada before he awakens the unstoppable Golden Army.
The good: It’s very loud and entertaining. The sets, cinematography, CGIs and costumes are awesome. Quite funny jokes about love and marriage (they go together like a horse and carriage, as we know) and “male bonding” between Abe Sapien and Hellboy. Physical humor is not bad either: Hellboy kicks ass! Pretty cool action sequences too. Guillermo Del Toro clearly enjoyed making this sequel, from writing script to directing it. Better then the original Hellboy!
The bad: Biggest problem with this movie is there’s nothing original. We have a disgruntled superhero (like Hancock), who is misunderstood and hated by humankind. He can only be loved by other monsters who are bound to the secret life and don’t see the point in continuing to save humans from trouble, especially since humans are so good and destroying themselves through war and abuse of Earth and its resources. Exactly why Prince Nuada is declaring the war on them – humans failed to uphold their end of the truce. Monster love we have seen so many times before – from Frankenstein to Shrek. The underworld characters that Del Toro brings into the movie look like they had been taken from Pan’s Labirynth – though creatively designed, one can’t just reuse characters from one movie in another and pass them as original. The entrance to the underworld (Troll Market) under Brooklyn Bridge looks like entrances to the witch world in Harry Potter. Tooth-fairies too looked like pixes in HP. The raising of Golden Army looked like raising of the Mummy army by Imhotep. The business-as-usual at BPRD is straight out of Men in Black. Looks like del Toro saw too many Hobbit movies before he made the scene where Prince Nuada declares war on humankind – the whole set and costumes and the fight sequence are so alike to one in LOTR. And finally, the German geist-guy Johann Kraus in early 20th century aqualung had a horrible German accent – he probably had never met a German before and just tried to emulate Dr Strangelove. The story is not great at all.
The summary: better then the original Hellboy (2004). Very entertaining. Not particularly memorable. Would not watch it second time. No originality.
The cast: Hellboy – Ron Perlman | Liz Sherman – Selma Blair | Abe Sapien, The Chamberlain, The Angel Of Death – Doug Jones | Johann Kraus – James Dodd voiced by Seth McFarlane | Prince Nuada – Luke Goss | Princess Nuala – Anna Walton | Tom Manning – Jeffrey Tambor | Professor Bruttenholm – John Hurt
The credits: Director – Guillermo Del Toro | Comic Book – Mike Mignola | Story – Mike Mignola & Guillermo Del Toro | Screenplay – Guillermo Del Toro | Producers – Chris Symes, Joe Roth, Mike Richardson, Mike Mignola, Lloyd Levin, Lawrence Gordon | Original Music – Denny Elfman | Cinematography – Guillermo Navarro | Universal Pictures
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