Like my book reviews site, these are movie reviews I write for entertainment purposes only. These are just my reviews and my opinions. They are not endorsed by Blogger or any movie studios or anyone else. So there. I borrowed my scoring system from the Metacritic site, which does not imply an endorsement from them, although I think they do have a very nice website. I convert the 1-100 scores into 1-4 stars, essentially it works like this:

1 star = 25 points
2 stars = 50 points
3 stars = 75 points
4 stars = 100 points

And then if something falls about halfway between, then I'll give it an added half-star.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hellboy 2 The Golden Army

I remembered liking the original although I hadn't seen it in a few years until FX showed it on basic cable the week it came out. Hellboy is a "hero" who is actually a demon from Hell discovered in 1944 by an American scientist investigating some Nazi occult shenanigans. The scientist raises the demon as his own son and calls him Hellboy. Over time Hellboy goes out and fights evil monsters under the protection of a Men in Black-type agency known as the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. He's aided by a fish-type creature called Abe Sapien and a young woman named Liz who can create blue flames when she's provoked.

Anyway, fast forward now to the sequel where Hellboy and Liz are living together, which brings to mind some gross questions better not contemplated, and Hellboy is chafing under Liz's rule and that of Manning, the head of the Bureau. At the same time, something sinister is afoot. Borrowing from "Lord of the Rings" years ago there was a truce between Men and other creatures, most notably Elves. The gist of the truce is that the Elves, trolls, and other creatures would live in the forests and Men would have the rest, but now Man has violated the truce by cutting all the trees down. Enter Prince Nuada, an Elf who's decided to find the pieces of a crown that would allow him to control The Golden Army, a group of 4900 indestructible metal killing machines.

The search for the crown pieces brings him to an auction in Manhattan, during which he unleashes a horde of evil "Tooth Fairies," which are nasty flying critters that eat you from the teeth out. Hellboy and company are called in to fight them in a battle whose conclusion, like the rest of the movie, seems so obvious you wonder why the heroes didn't think of it after about five seconds. The bad guy escapes with the crown, but before he can use it his sister Nuala steals the other part and seeks refuge at the Bureau's headquarters in New Jersey, where she falls in love with Abe Sapien.

Mayhem ensues with battling trolls and giant forest gods and of course The Golden Army. There is a reason why Liz has been so annoyed with Hellboy recently, but I won't spoil it for you, though it's probably obvious. So much of the movie is obvious, especially the end. I figured out what would happen after watching the bizarre LOTR puppet show at the beginning and the fight between Nuada and his father a little later, so basically I sat through probably a good 80-90 minutes already knowing the outcome.

Still, the movie is passable entertainment in terms of there's all sorts of creepy monsters and some decent fight scenes. And the Barry Manilow sing-along can't help but make you smile.

There were a couple of castmembers missing from the sequel. One was Rupert Evans who played FBI Agent Myers in the first film to set up a love triangle between him-Liz-and Hellboy. His character was summarily dispatched to Antarctica, presumably to make room for the surprise twist. But it was nice in the first film to have a regular human balancing out all the monsters and freaks. All we have in the sequel is Manning, who is not exactly the most charismatic guy. The second missing person was David Hyde Pierce who did the voice for Abe Sapien. So now you get one of those weird moments early on when you realize the character sounds different. In some ways this is an improvement, but it's still disorienting.

I waited to see this in the second-run theater for the obvious reason: "The Dark Knight" came out the next week. While Hellboy is a passable sequel it's not in the same league as "The Dark Knight"--at least to me. Where as TDK felt like an extension of the saga, "Hellboy II" feels like the typical Hollywood sequel where more stuff happens, but there's not really a lot of growth to the characters or the overarching story. I think one critic said this was a movie with not much on its mind. I'd have to agree. It's a fun movie, but too predictable and shallow. If you want to kill a couple hours you could do worse, but you could also do better.

(My grade: 2/4 stars)
(Metacritic grade: 78)

No comments:

Post a Comment