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Hellboy II: The Golden Army

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HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY is nothing short of spectacular. Particularly so when you consider that the film was made for paltry eighty-five million USD. Of course, that statement wont really be appreciated until you see the movie yourself. Which — if you’re interested in making one of the best movie going seasons ever, even better — you should.

Guillermo del Toro has rapidly climbed the list of my favourite directors, over the past decade he’s shown that he can bring his unique and always interesting visions to the screen in any genre. Indisputably, he has show that (aside from Peter Jackson himself) he is the perfect director to bring the LORD OF THE RINGS prequel, THE HOBBIT, to the big screen. And what he’s showing us now, with Hellboy II, is that he can not only direct action (Hellboy, Blade II) and present movies with emotional impact (Pan’s Labyrinth) but that he’s one funny bastard too.

The Golden Army picks up with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence [BPRD] some time after the events of the first Hellboy movie. Hellboy (Ron Pearlman) and Liz’s (Selma Blair) relationship has very much progressed from when we last saw them, but they are long past the honeymoon period and well and truly in the midst of a ‘rough patch’. Bureau wise, Agent Manning (Jeffery Tambor) is still constantly at odds with Hellboy over his inability to keep a low profile while out investigating the odd phenomena that the BPRD was established to control. However despite Manning’s attempts to coerce and even bribe Hellboy to remain out of the public eye, the team’s existence soon becomes public knowledge when Hellboy is accidently ejected from building and into a crowded street below, by and unforeseen explosion.

At stake in this film is the long held (and long forgotten) truce between the world of man and the mystical realm ruled by the elfin King Balor. At the heart of this truce is a mechanical army, forged of gold and under the command of any unchallenged wearer of a golden crown. So unstoppable is the Golden Army that the human race soon surrendered to King Balor, however Balor too regretted the horrific toll that his army had dealt and a truce between the two worlds was established. The crown was broken into three pieces, one left in the possession of man and two left in the mystical realm… but this was aeons ago.

Now, displeased with the state of the world, Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) — Balor’s son — has returned from a self imposed exile and stolen the crown segment from the human world. It’s now up to Hellboy, Liz, Abe (Doug Jones) and the new team leader Johann Krauss (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), to prevent Prince Nuada from annihilating mankind with the indestructible Golden Army. Of course, they also have their own problems to deal with too.

Written by Del Toro and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, Hellboy II: The Golden Army is true to the Hellboy franchise, however far more than the previous feature — or the animated movies, which are well worth checking out — this film has a heavy helping of real comedy. In fact solid performances all around help the film slip seamlessly between outright comedy sequences, heart stopping action and the odd tug at your heart strings.

For mine, this is part of a slowly growing list of movies whose sequels surpass the original, and while I’m sure it wont have anywhere near the box-office success of THE DARK KNIGHT or IRON MAN — it may give THE INCREDIBLE HULK a run for its money though — Hellboy II: The Golden Army certainly holds its own against some of the movies that have made the past few months such an awesome time to be a comic-book movie fan.

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4 Comments

    The drawcard for me here is this being Danny Elfman’s latest…and your review seals the deal, I’ll let you know what I think.

  • I saw this movie 3 times opening weekend. So wonderful!

  • That’s dedication..! How’s the music?

  • I love Pearlman. I love del Toro. But I wasn’t particularly fond of this movie.
    I certainly didn’t hate it by any means; visually I was utterly engrossed. The title sequence, the story book as told through the young mind of Hellboy, the troll market – I wanted to hug the people who designed and executed all that.
    But the dialogue, I felt, didn’t reach very high, and in some cases, hit rock bottom. I almost found it amusing, that both times the Princess spoke the line “It’s beautiful…”, that she could have kept her mouth shut.
    But, I almost feel I’m out of line complaining – corny lines and a bit of blunt humour have always been a part of comics like Hellboy. In fact, given that del Toro co-wrote the outline to the story with Hellboy’s creator, maybe that’s exactly what he was aiming for?
    Comparing how much darker and twisted his script for Pan’s Labyrinth was, maybe that’s all it is. One’s a fairy tale for us grown ups, and is dark and somewhat shocking – the other, is it’s younger, friendlier brother, holding your hand from start to finish, and turning to say at the end: “Wasn’t that fun?”
    And hey, I guess it was.

    I do however, feel I have one legitimate complaint: the music. Here we are, in a deep fantastical place, and the music feels like it could come attached to any movie with monsters and ghosts – it simply doesn’t stand out. Which is a pity, because as I’ve said, the visuals really feel like they’re from another world – it’s a pity that the music didn’t.