A devil, a fish-man and a cute girl walk into a bar . . .
Image Courtesy of IMPawards.com
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Notable Cast: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones
Guillermo del Toro has had an amazing run since the first Hellboy. Becoming perhaps the hottest foreign director out there, he helmed Pan’s Labyrinth and has since become attached to both the Marvel property Dr. Strange and the “Lord of the Rings” prequel The Hobbit. Before them comes his long-waited sequel to the critically acclaimed Hellboy, Hellboy II:The Golden Army.
Originally a Dark Horse Comic property, Hellboy is an unorthodox anti-hero with an equally strange background. The project of a Nazi attempt at bringing a demonic warrior into the war effort, Hellboy is the U.S Government’s secret weapon in the war against the Paranormal. This time around, Hellboy has to save the world from an ancient peril of gigantic robots known as the Golden Army. Hellboy has to deal with his evolving relationship with his girlfriend Liz (Selma Blair) as well; saving the world has gotten more complicated for him, it seems. It’s a story that becomes fascinating by how it looks as opposed to the story to be told.
But the film’s plot doesn’t really stand out, per se, as it’s a solid adventure film without the fantasy elements. It’s interesting to see that del Toro has taken the same sort of plot structure one would find in a 1950s serial or in a rejected Indiana Jones story and placed it in the middle of a fantasy film of top notch proportions. The fantasy elements make it unique, as del Toro has created an absolutely beautiful and fascinating world, but its ultimately a pretty standard adventure film.
That’s not to say there aren’t a significant quantity of good moments in the film, which has plenty of them. Hellboy and Abe (Doug Jones), his loyal sidekick of sorts, have an absolutely hilarious moment of connection as they discuss women over cheap Mexican beer. It’s an unbelievably funny moment as Perlman and Jones, absolutely connecting, having the same sort of drunken discussion one can imagine Indiana Jones and his partner having about women. It’s moments like that which keep the film from falling into mediocrity. Perlman was born to play this character, giving us a hero we can cheer for that has plenty of faults.
The key is that the film is absolutely beautiful. One of the things about the first Hellboy film was how beautiful and interesting it looked, and the sequel takes it even further as del Toro has outdone his previous work (including a beautifully done Pan’s Labyrinth) to an excessive degree. Everything about this film is fascinating to watch, as del Toro has created a world second to none in the comic book film genre. In terms of establishing a world unlike our own, Hellboy II has raised the bar even higher than Sin City did several years ago. The film’s scene in the Troll Market is endlessly fascinating; it’s easy to get lost in the film just looking at the sights and sounds of that particular area.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a visual feast, with some spectacular sights and sounds, but ultimately suffers because it’s a paint by numbers adventure film.
FINAL RATING (ON A SCALE OF 1-5 BUCKETS):
Tags: Hellboy, Movies