Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

HELLBOY2: THE GOLDEN ARMY [tagged] is basically a monster-fest. A gloriously gorgeous monster-fest, no less! - courtesy of an indulgent Guillermo del Toro. Make no mistake, sometimes "indulgence" is good, and in this case, it balances out the humdrum acting from the main cast.


One can argue that this is "comicbook-movie" in the first place, and not a platform for thespians navigating the shifty craft of "acting" ... And perhaps if you look beyond (or rather close one-eye) the facade of everyone's monster-makeup, it is indeed a pretty enjoyable and most times fun celluloid ride, which frankly ended way too quickly for my warped-tastes.

"Eh? Finish already ah?" - But of coz the ending (or rather end-premise) of the film warrants a third HB .. altho I am pretty liberal with the "warrants", moreso an "excuse" to start one, IMHO - and thinking now (as opposed to what I'd felt a week ago when I first watched it) - if they had proceeded with that story-thread, perhaps it would not be a movie I would want to watch. Not too down with [family] action-adventure type flicks - as inevitably the [offspring] would near ALWAYS be in jeopardy .. and off [Daddy-Red] goes to save [Baby-Red]!

Redemption lies not in salvation. I want to see the HB-world BURN for once, yeh? And it would be glorious at the hands and horns of Hellboy muahahahaha!!!!

The opening exposition was frankly, pretty unnerving, especially with the [teenage Hellboy] and personally, one of the more "fake" and irritating sequences in the entire movie ... not a great start, I suppose ... but said exposition was a quick way to get the lore out of the way, with sweet-ish animation to boot, IMHO.

The story is "straight-forward" and predictable at times - which was fine for me personally, so I could oogle the gorgeous film designs, innit? The amount of details put into every scene - particularly the Troll Market, was a visual-orgy, and a kick-in-the-nutsack for me ...

Why? Becoz this is the sort of movie I'd live to do, in my "previous day-job". But yes, kick-rump designs all around - from wardrobe, down to the fabulous hand-props. Didn't care for Big Baby. Didn't care for The Samaritan. Actually, now that I'm here, I didn't really care for Hellboy himself, really ... I mean, Ron Perlman rawks it, but Red's still Mr. Whiney-Pants. I'm sorry, but "Average-Joe" would still be more dimensional that a flat Hellboy - but I'm sure fans lurve him like he is (:p). And is it just me, or has Hellboy bulked-down since the first flick?

[ditch the square-tit red-monkey. c'mon...]

Frankly, I couldn't help but constantly stare at Liz Sherman. Not just becoz she's a hottie (okay, now I feel dirty for admitting that LOL), but also that her character development since the first movie, sorta felt like it jumped a movie in-between. Besides the obvious wardrobe change and Posh-Spice-hairstyle, I just couldn't vibe with the Liz I remembered from Part One - now tough as nails and rough and ready ... Or maybe I could not take the leap of celluloid-faith as I'm expected to ... pity for me :p

Abe Sapien gets more screen-time and a chance to stretch his gills, eerrr, i mean, acting-muscles - which frankly, was fresh-water refreshing [the toilet-seat joke was funny-ish until they milked it] ... Abe gets to wear nice leather stretchy-pants and look all rockstar-ish (*cool*) and our beloved fish-face gets to [fall in lurve]! Nice touch tho, IMHO.

In an attempt to humanize the boys, both Red and Abe get [drunk] one night and do a [Barry Manilow karaoke] - which was charming for all of the first 15-seconds or so. With the exception of the "newbie" Johann Kraus, everyone else's character arc is near non-existent. Well, except for Liz who finds out [she's pregnant with a hellbaby-bun in the oven].

One thing bothered me quite a bit throughout the film, was the "tone" - swinging between mystery, to laid-back everyday life of BPRD, to the fantasy world - it felt directionless, and yet effortlessly relaxed. And tis not about the pac of the movie, moreso the music they utilized, the multitude of influences made it very much a sitcom than "epic movie" (altho no one did mention "epic", innit?).

The eclectic sounds of David Lynch's Twin Peaks series popped into mind ... hhhmmm ... (but hell, I loved me my Twin Peaks, yo!)

But you can plainly see where all the effort went into: the designs, oh the glorious designs! For both monsters / characters, environments and the fantastical fantasy world of Hellboy! Frankly I'd rather they leave the "humans" out of the equation, becoz they pale too much to even mention. "Monster-fodder", I call them...


And of coz the FX, for which Guillermo pulled out all the stops for, utilizing a multitude of visual imagery to get his story across. Fans of special FX and/or animation would be in for a treat of treats, I dare say.


A week ago I was literally gushing at Hellboy 2: The Golden Army - mindscape bombardment of stunning visuals ... and a week later, I can barely remember parts of the movie - which I had to squeeze out of my senile brain, to attempt to write this review my personal impression of this movie. Altho the ride was indeed sweet and magical when I first sat thru the movie - now I am hard-pressed to rave about it. Not that it was that bad, but perhaps to me - forgettable, regrettably speaking ...

But to be sure, I'd recommend this to anyone who are fans of this genre, for which it is pretty hard to place actually. All action and adventure, comedy at the best of times, flimsy-homage at the worst (Is it just me, or is the Men-In-Black parallel at BRPD-HQ a tad disconcerting?). And the kungfu-chop-socky bewildered me a little - neither here nor there, with Prince Nuada rawking the pugilistic world of Faeries, Elves and Trolls ... Pathos reserved for the monsters, gut-wrenching in it's quasi-subtility, IMHO ... but yes, the visuals are beautiful. I may just go get the Behind-The-Scene book instead of the DVD ... maybe?

And frankly, maybe I'm just taking this flick more seriously that I should, remembering that I'd not had high expectations of it to evolve beyond the enjoyable (but dismal) first movie - for which it HAS evolved beautifully - aesthetically, I insist ...

And at the end of the day, I may well consider getting the DVD for keepsakes ... and of coz to oogle at Liz Sherman/Selma Blair ... heh.

[First Reviewed on TOYSREVIL on July 16th 2008]