Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

§ July 16th, 2008 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

I’m gonna try to keep this short, because 1) I honestly don’t have a whole lot to say about this new Hellboy film, and 2) I’ve got a New Comics Day to deal with in the morning, and I’d like to get some sleep prior to that.

But, overall: Hellboy II is a fun successor to the previous film, with lots of imaginative visuals. The plot’s paper thin, with very broadly-painted emotional strokes, but it moves along at a speedy pace, and it’s a pleasant enough way to spend a couple hours. Plus, Ron Perlman’s portrayal of Hellboy carries the film…he’s always great to watch, though Seth MacFarlane’s vocal work for Johann threatens to steal the show — but more on that in the spoilers section.

Speaking of the spoilers section…look, the SPOILERS SECTION. Everything between this group shot of the BPRD gang and the pic of Hellboy and Abe in the headgear is spoiler territory, partner, so skip ahead if you don’t want to know.

See you on the other side:

  • This is a lot funnier film than the comic book source material, probably by necessity. The comics could be awfully oppressive if directly translated, and humor can be very humanizing, needed particularly if your lead is a big red horned devil.
  • The removal of Agent Myers from the mix was a good idea (and is referenced briefly in the film), as it returns the focus of the story to Hellboy. Agent Myers was our “point of view” character in the first film, which was unnecessary…Hellboy is our point-of-view character, the skeptical voice, the one with whom we must sympathize when faced with bizarre monsters and annoying bureaucrats. Having Agent Myers around divided our sympathies…or more accurately, “why are we wasting film on Myers, when we could be having more footage of Hellboy?”

    Anyway, he’s gone, and we get more Hellboy. Good.

  • So, I haven’t read any other reviews or articles on the film…I got enough spoilers just being in the store, thanks…but was Seth MacFarlane deliberately mimicking the voice of classic vocal artist Paul Frees? He almost certainly must have been.

    The voice was very cartoony, and seems almost out of place at first…but it’s done with enough skill and humor that I was won over quickly enough.

    Speaking of which…Employee Aaron mentioned that Johann and Hellboy haven’t met in the comics, which, far as I know, is right. Just thought that was interesting.

  • People kept bringing up the “forest elemental” bit of business to me, for some reason. It was a neat visual, making me wish for a new Swamp Thing movie and what could be done with it.

    I did appreciate the sense of loss surrounding the conclusion of the elemental fight, in regards to another thing from a magical realm, the last of its kind, falling before the needs of humanity. It was a strangely beautiful scene, with a little more depth than yet another “monster defeated by the good guy” battle. The “magic goes away” theme is sort of implied throughout the film, but it was nice to see it directly addressed.

  • The spoiler I mentioned the other day in my Twitter thingie? It was the pregnancy thing. Okay, not much of a spoiler, really, but I’d rather have heard about that from the film, not in the store immediately after my saying “I HAVEN’T SEEN THE FILM YET.” What, was I not speaking English?

    I don’t know how I feel about this particular plot element, though. Clearly this is way off from the characters’ relationship in the comics, and I realize the movies are their own thing…but I think giving Hellboy and Liz a couple of Hellbabies may be getting a little too off-model.

  • A couple of story elements directly affecting Hellboy: first, the turning of the public against Hellboy because of his monstrous appearance makes sense in the film’s context, I suppose, but it feels out of place to those of us who’ve read the comics. For the most part folks just kinda take Hellboy in stride in the funnybooks, which I think is pretty amusing. The “good guy persecuted because of his looks” thing we’ve seen plenty of times already, and didn’t really need to get it again here.

    Second, I appreciated the reminder that Hellboy is, despite his intentions, possibly the source of humanity’s destruction. Dropping hints for a potential Hellboy III, maybe? Maybe that can be the “A” plot, while the “B” plot will be about Hellboy trying to put diapers on his new Hellbabies, but look out! The baby peed on Hellboy! Ha! And the diaper he put on the kid? It just slipped right off, because Hellboy didn’t do it right! Wacky!

  • You will leave the film humming Barry Manilow. DARN YOU, DEL TORO! DARN YOU TO HECK!

Er, that was longer than intended. Anyway, what did you think? Let me know in the comments…I’m goin’ to bed!

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