US Release Date: 07-11-2008
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
- Ron Perlman, as
- Selma Blair, as
- Liz Sherman
- Doug Jones, as
- Abe Sapien / The Chamberlain / The Angel of Death
- John Alexander, as
- Johann Kraus / Bethmoora Goblin
- James Dodd, as
- Johann Kraus
- Seth MacFarlane, as
- Johann Krauss (voice)
- Luke Goss, as
- Prince Nuada
- Anna Walton, as
- Princess Nuala
- Jeffrey Tambor as
- Tom Manning
It is in the relationships of the main characters that this movie succeeds at all.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army takes up shortly after the first one. It is briefly explained that John, Liz’s minor love interest, has been transferred away. Otherwise, the gang is all here and they are joined by a gaseous being that completes the whole earth, wind, fire and water element theme.
Through a flashback to Hellboy’s childhood, we learn of the existence of elves and the fact that they were once at war with mankind. The elves built a huge army of machines that decimated the humans who quickly agreed to a truce. The army was hidden under ground and the crown that controls them split into three sections.
Cut to modern times and one elf has suddenly gotten it into his head to collect the parts of the crown and destroy mankind. That is unless Hellboy and company can stop him.
Guillermo Del Toro now has an Academy Award nomination under his belt and is noted for his fantasy vision for Pan Labyrinth. With his reputation to consider he fills Hellboy II with more fantasy creatures than a science fiction convention. The best moments though, are the ones that feature the three main characters. In fact the funniest scene is when Hellboy and Abe get drunk and listen to a Barry Manilow love song.
It is in the relationships of the main characters that this movie succeeds at all. Sure there is plenty of action and special effects to distract you, but as William Shatner once said, "that is all window dressing." Hellboy and Liz have an interesting, although hardly in-depth, relationship. Even Abe gets a little emotional here.
Hellboy II is an improvement on the first film in that it answers question as well as raises others. It not only leaves open the possibility for another film, it sets you up to want to see another installment to hopefully get some of those questions answered.
Interesting characters and great visuals.
I’ve never seen the first Hellboy but I enjoyed this one. The main characters are all interesting and they have chemistry together. The special effects and visuals in general are impressive. It looked great on the new HD television set that my husband Rich and I bought ourselves for Christmas. I’ve been a fan of Guillermo del Toro since The Devil’s Backbone and loved Pan’s Labyrinth. The man understands fantasy and how it should look.
As Eric said there are many bizarre characters and the screen is often as filled with fantastic detail as any Star Wars movie. Still some of the best moments are the comparatively quiet scenes between Hellboy and Liz, and between Abe and the Princess. Was it just me or did her CGI make-up make her look like Calista Flockhart? The Barry Manilow scene is charming.
The tension in the climactic scene was a bit less than it should have been, but then the entire movie is more comedy than horror. In mood it is closer to Men In Black than it is to Hellraiser. I enjoyed this one so much that I think I will have to check out the first Hellboy. And I will definitely see part III if they make it.
There is a much lighter tone that makes this movie more enjoyable than the first one.
Del Toro definitely has a great visual sense and it's also apparently a consistent one. The kingdom of the elves in this world seems very close to the fantasy kingdom in Pan's Labyrinth. Both movies could exist in the same world quite easily.
I really didn't enjoy the first Hellboy movie. I thought the writing was bad and melodramatic. The tone of the movie was all over the place between drama, action and comedy. That's why I was pleasantly surprised by this sequel. It does a much better job getting the tone right. It's basically a comedy with some nice action scenes.
Like Eric and Patrick, I enjoyed the Barry Manilow moment but the whole movie is fun. I don't know if I would say its the relationships between the characters that make the movie work, but it is definitely the interaction between them that is a big part of the reason the movie succeeds, I just wouldn't call them relationships because the movie isn't that deep. I enjoyed the scenes between Hellboy and new member Kraus the most, particularly their fight in the locker room.
Despite being nearly 2 hours long, the movie skips along pretty briskly and the fact that del Toro throws so much up on the screen to look at is a big reason for that. And yet he doesn't make the mistake of making the look of the film the star of it. There's a lot on the screen but you have to look for it behind the action, it's not in front of it.
I never thought I would say this, but if they do make another Hellboy movie and they're obviously trying to set one up by saying that Hellboy will be responsible for the end of the world, I will be there to see it. I just hope they match the tone of this movie and don't make the mistake of trying to be too dramatic again.
Photos © Copyright Universal Pictures (2008)