04 September 2009

Flashback Friday-Hellboy II: The Golden Army

URBAN:The result was a film with great stylings but consistently lacked in one area that undermined the entire film.

From visionary director Guillermo Del Toro comes the second istallation of the Hellboy franchise.

Director Guillermo Del Toro's characters lit up the screen. The odd looking characters added a magical element to the proceedings. Aside from the title character, the other creatures are marvelous to behold, each in their own way. I especially liked the Angel of Death. He looked like one of the Seraphim described in Revelations 4. Completely stunning.

The story was character driven and most of the plot details arise from the particular individual psychologies of the characters. The primary issue is at hand is the return of the Elven Prince to reclaim the pieces of the crown, that upon reunion, will render control of the unstoppable Golden Army.

The most spectacular part of the film occurred only two minutes into the film, while the professor tells a young Hellboy a bedtime story. The story of the creation of the Golden Army. The story is Tolkein-like, but the visuals used to tell the story were unique to that section. To tell the story, Del Toro uses animation in an effort that is easily the best part of the film.

There was some stuff that I didn't like.

Despite the name, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, The Golden Army actually took up very little screen time. The plot dealt primarily with the characters gaining control of the pieces of the crown in order to control the army. Considering the title, I would have hoped that more time would have spent with this destructive force. It also would have been cool to see some symmetry by having Nuada see the destruction that the army causes and call them off the same way that the original Elven King did.

The young Hellboy in New Mexico looks like a joke.

The most outstanding negative that I took note of was the sets. They looked fake, obviously generated in a studio. The Troll Market and the government domicile where Hellboy lives were the two most egregious examples. In relation to the outstanding characters, I couldn't help but feel that the disparity of these factors lent the film an unevenness.

Also, the film clearly has some level of desire to be an explanation of mythology, yet is clearly more of an action/superhero movie.

I don't know how to summarize my thoughts on the film. I enjoyed it. I wouldn't mind seeing it again down the road. I loved a few small parts, especially the opening bedtime story. Overall, the pacing was slow and the action didn't always serve a purpose. The visuals were good, but the sets were bad. In a day when superhero movies come every other week, this one is unique enough to stand out, but not singularly better than some of the recent performances, namely Ironman and The Dark Knight.

URBAN: Recommended

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