a critiQal film review Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

Plot: Elf Prince Nuada (Goss), wanting to reclaim the Earth for his kind, searches for 3 pieces of a crown that will unleash a goblin-made army of robots. The only ones who can stop him? Hellboy (Perlman) and the rest of the team from the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Development, who have recently been thrust into the public spotlight...and are dealing with unwelcome changes within the Bureau itself.

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  • ...Big Red is back, and audiences will be happy with the reunion.

While many critics and “doomsayers” of the movie biz hate summer sequels, I happen to be a big fan. Not only do we get to see the continuing adventures of our fave characters, but – as an added bonus – the Special Edition DVDs of the previous film (or films) in the series go on sale too!

So, after finally getting our hands on the 3-Disc Director’s Cut of for cheap a couple of weeks ago from target.com, we were all set to sit down and check out Big Red’s continuing adventures in Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

Would the sequel be something worth seeing on the big screen, or would we have to content ourselves with just watching our new 3-Disc DVD set of the original over and over again?

It’s nice to see Ron Perlman has found a character that really works for him. True, he had success early on with his Beast character opposite Linda Hamilton in TV’s “Beauty & The Beast,” but as Hellboy he has managed to parlay his small screen persona to the big screen in a big way.

He – and his character Hellboy – are back in all their glory in Hellboy II, and once again turns the big, red, crass, cigar-chomping demon and turn him into the world’s unlikeliest hero -and one that moviegoers are excited to root for.

The rest of his pals from The Bureau of Paranormal Research, including firebrand Liz and watery Abe, are back as well, and vary a bit from their acting in the first film. Doug Jones’ Abe has grown more accustomed to humans, which brings his character down a bit. While he does get involved in a rather comical drinking session that leads to a duet with Hellboy, the aura of mystique he held in the first film seems to have disappeared, making him just another odd-looking guy.

Selma Blair’s Liz, on the other hand, gives a better showing in Hellboy II than she did in the first. In the original film, her character was there more to give Hellboy someone to pine for, which lead to Hellboy creating comic relief with other humans (most notably, a boy on a rooftop). This time around, she’s much more involved in the story, and the procession of her unlikely relationship with Hellboy is a nice touch in the film.

Guillermo del Toro directs from his own screenplay, and the viewer will be able to tell a lot of thought went into making the film. It works as a sequel for those who have seen the first, but the first film isn’t needed to enjoy this film. It also sets things up rather nicely for an intriguing third film, yet doesn’t leave the viewers hanging (ie…).

The pieces fit well together, and form a grand mix of humor, action, adventure and a bit of romance to make for an all-together satisfying film.

Despite a weak beginning to the film (viewers could do without seeing a ridiculous-looking pre-pubescent Hellboy – and the wooden figures take a bit getting used to), the special effects pick up after the opening titles to an amazing extent.

While Hellboy and pals are sights all by themselves, their enemies this time around are truly spectacular, and seem almost too big for the big screen (making some wonder how they will look once they hit DVD).

In this case, it seems that the silly beginning works in their favor, as fans’ expectations of effects will be lowered greatly after the first few minutes – so most will be blown away by the massive effects later in the film.

Earlier this summer, blew everyone away with it’s mix of action AND storyline – and Hellboy II has jumped on board the same train, combining humor, action, a touch of romance (even a nod is tossed in to the current “save the planet” craze) – AND a decent storyline! With so many factors in play, Hellboy II does flounder a bit at times, but it quickly catches itself and plunges on, sweeping the happy viewer along with it.

A satisfying film to watch, Hellboy II will leave fans enjoying this second chapter – and interested in the hinted-at 3rd film. What more can you ask for?

1 Comment

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