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Review: Hellboy II: The Golden Army of Awesomeness that is Awesome

with 3 comments

Looks like a photo from my family reunion. I would be the squinty one.

Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, this blogger has not yet had the opportunity to see Pan’s Labyrinth (aka Guillermo Del Toro finally becomes liked by people other than complete nerds). That being said, onto the review.

I am a child of the eighties. And early nineties. That means Ninja Turtles, Fraggle Rock, He-Man, Really Bad He Man Movie, G.I. Joe, Transformers, Dino Riders (oh for the love, Dino Riders!), Never Ending Story, Willow, Star Wars, Indiana Jones and David Bowie creeping the living bejeebers out of me in Labyrinth. I am a child of the era of pure imagination. This was before the airwaves were desecrated by reality TV and other programming that catered to the lowest common denominator. This was a time where we didn’t need drugs as kids because all the people making TV and Movies were taking them for us.

This is what Hellboy was like.

I really didn’t know what to expect from Hellboy II: The Golden Army. I had seen the first one, all the way through once and then in pieces about a dozen more times (Chances of seeing it on TNT if you turn it on right now: 1 in 12) and I enjoyed it. It didn’t ring my bell, but I didn’t not like it either. It was a fun, check your brain out kind of film. Oh how Mr. Del Toro has stepped up on this effort.

"Oh no, you're looking for Dwayne Johnson. I get that all the time."



Whereas other recent comic book films have been intent in setting their mythology in a believable reality, Del Toro takes those notions and completely goes in the opposite direction. He abandons the constraint of reality for something completely fantastic and full of life. Hellboy 2 takes place completely in its own world, because it would take its own world to suit the myriad of colorful characters that inhabit its celluloid walls.

Perhaps the film’s greatest asset is the marked humanity in it’s characters. They all have been shut out by their human standards yet in them we have intimate moments that we never get to see their human counterparts share. An example, a lovesick Abe Sapien (played by the ever-present Doug Jones) commiserates with Hellboy with cheap mexican beer (When I saw Tecate on the side of the can, I laughed out loud.) and Barry Manilow. It could have been cheesy, but Del Toro allows the moment to be poignant and so very true to real life. There is so much character and heart and emotion in these characters, and it all moves to serve the story. And let me just say that a drunken fish person is funnier than a drunken real person.

"I hate putting in these stupid contacts"


In a film about the real world destroying the fantasy one, it surprises me as to how much I loved being in the world of the fantastic, and how disappointed in the return to the real one. In the Troll Market sequence, there is so much going on, so much attention to detail that the eye cannot possibly follow it all. The whole film is dripping with detail and imagination that it’s a playground for the mind of the viewer. Del Toro has an amazing talent for making the grotesque so beautiful and compelling to watch. For me it hearkened back to the days when Terry Gilliam was great, with Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. This film sucked me right in, as has this review. I haven’t cracked a joke in what? Two paragraphs? This is how much this film captured my imagination. This movie was so good that it broke my sense of humor. But in a good way.

Scene from Flubber 2 - Flubber Gets Pissed and Kills a Lot of People



This an excellent film. And it totally caught me off guard. Oh yeah and there’s a real love story, lots of beautifully staged action set-pieces, big guns and explosions, and Seth McFarlane voicing the most hilariously german accented ectoplasmic scientist. It’s great. If you weren’t going to see it before, I hope that you’re now curious, and if you were curious before, I hope this got you a little excited to see it. It won’t disappoint.

9/10

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Written by canasian

July 14, 2008 at 11:43 pm

3 Responses

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  1. great review, never let me down by spoiling the movie!

    Brandon

    July 14, 2008 at 11:51 pm

  2. Dude, I was skeptical about this movie too, but I’ve heard lots of good things along with your rave review, so I think I am going to have to go see it. Props on the very inventive movie review; you could right for AICN (if you used more F-words). I agreed with you on pretty much everything but Baron Von Munchausen. That movie was messed up.

    Ryan Peterson

    July 15, 2008 at 1:56 pm

  3. Labyrinth was messed up too. I nearly screamed my head off when he showed up in Zoolander. Not really.

    canasian

    July 15, 2008 at 2:10 pm


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