Monday, July 14, 2008

Movie Review - Hellboy 2: The Golden Army


I remember sitting around one Friday evening living on 1098 SE Clarey Ave. in small house right beside the river in 2004. Jesse and I were bored and we were looking at the movie reviews for Hellboy which looked kind of interesting because it was a comics superhero story. So, Jesse, Paddy, and I went and saw it and we enjoyed it. A pretty fun movie.
Now for those who don't anything Hellboy, maybe you are already put off by the title. The first movie is more of supernatural thriller which starts in 1944. The German Nazis work with Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin on an isolated island off the coast of Scotland to build a dimensional portal. They intend to use it, with Rasputin's help, to awaken the Ogdru Jahad (the Seven Gods of Chaos), monstrous entities that have been imprisoned and asleep since an undisclosed time, to destroy their enemies. But Rasputin secretly intends to use the entities to bring about the destruction of the entire Earth.
The United States sends a small Army team to destroy the portal, guided by a young doctor, Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, who is well-versed in terms of magic and sorcery. In the ensuing battle, the German scientists and soldiers are killed and the portal is destroyed, killing Rasputin. As the Army team surveys the ruins for anything that may have sneaked into their dimension through the portal, they discover a bright red infant demon whom they name Hellboy. Hellboy later joins with group of other different characters which include fish-like person named Abe Sapien who has advanced psychic abilities, and Liz Sherman, a pyrokinetic with firestarting abilities. The group later becomes known as the Bureau of Paranormal Research & Defense.
The first movie showed off hellboy's skills at fighting a different amount of offworld and fantasy like creatures.
Fast forward four years and here comes Hellboy 2.

Hellboy 2 starts on Christmas Eve with the professor telling Hellboy of an ancient tale of a battle between humankind and mythical creatures. The king of the mythical creatures makes a deal with a certain race, that are his slaves, if they build him an army that will destroy the humans he will let them go free. This race agrees and makes him the indestructible golden army along with the command tool, a golden crown. This race of fantasy creatures tell him that whoever has control over the crown will have control of the army. The golden army is so strong that it destroys most of the humankind. The king of the mythical creatures is sorry that he made the golden army and declares a truce with the humankind. They split the crown in to three halves and give one to the humans and two to the mythical creatures, one for the king and his daughter. The prince does not agree with his fathers decision and believes the humans should be destroyed. He is then sent into exile.
The story then goes on to tell the prince's return from exile and his search for all three pieces of the crown to command the golden army which Hellboy and his friends try to prevent.

What worked:
The one thing about this sequel compared to the first is that everything was taken up a notch. The humor, fun, action, suspense, drama, character development. I think this story was better then the original because the first dealt more with the supernatural side of the hellboy story, while this dealt more in the fantasy realm of the hellboy story. The characters were really fleshed out more and the evil prince was really cool as the bad guy with his great sword work. Also the director Guillermo del Toro did a better job this time around with the story and pacing, maybe because this time he wrote the whole screenplay and was given more freedom then the first one. Now for those who don't know about del Toro is that he is a visionary director with a great imagination. He is like the George Lucas of today. There is a scene in Hellboy 2 in the Troll market which is like the bar scene in A New Hope with Luke meets Han Solo. Both those scenes featured many weird and cool characters. Del Toro also directed Pan's Labyrinth another fantasy adventure with alot of interesting ideas and characters. He is also attached to do The Hobbit in 2011.

What didn't work:
I don't have anything really bad to say about the movie. Some minor things in the middle got the story kind of slow and bogged down. Also you might be put off by the whole nature of the story about a demon who comes from another portal and fights alot of weird creatures. Also for some the ending could be kind of predictable.

This is great sequel to the first Hellboy movie and a fun summer flick. Prepare to see some amazing creatures and have alot of fun. You probably don't have to see the first one to see this one, but it would help with the back story.

Hellboy II is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and some language
3 1/2 stars out of 4


Steve said...

Good review, bro. I'd give it a higher rating of 3.7 stars.

patrick said...

if nothing else, at least Hellboy 2 was fun; for sure that director has an amazing imagination, reminded me a lot of his work in Pan's Labyrinth