Saturday, October 02, 2010

“Let this remind you why you once feared the dark…”

Hellboy was awesome. More Hellboy should continue to be awesome, yes? 2008 seemed to think so, because that’s when we got a sequel. It promised more “fairy tale adventure” than “Lovecraftian action flick,” but when that’s filtered through the mind of Guillermo del Toro, you’re definitely not going to get the sanitized, Victorian notion of fairies. It's time for Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.

So Hellboy (Ron Perlman), Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) and Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) are conducting business as usual with the B.P.R.D. They stumble across a scheme of the elven prince Nuada (Luke Goss) to activate a mythical force of invulnerable clock punk golems called the Golden Army. Unfortunately for Nuada, his twin sister Nuala (Anna Walton) steals an item vital to that scheme and runs off.

Now, Hellboy is chafing under the policy of staying under the radar and his boss Tom Manning (Jeffrey Tambor) calls up to Washington DC for another agent. That agent turns out to be Dr. Johann Krauss (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) a German ghost in a pressure suit and a stuffy, by-the-book attitude that naturally chafes with Hellboy in suitably amusing ways. (man, no wonder you non-comics fans don't find this stuff accessible).

Nuala runs into Abe, Nuada’s henchman Mr. Wink (Brian Steele) runs into Hellboy and things build to a head where the Golden Army is confronted, Hellboy has a close encounter with the Angel of Death (Doug Jones again) and things get…interesting.

Directed by Guillermo del Toro and Guillermo Navarro on cinematography, so we continue with Double Guillermos again. The movie looks great and there are a couple of really nice set pieces that fill out the action quota nicely. Of particular note are the Troll market, the fight with the Earth Elemental, the Tooth Fairies and the fight with the Golden Army. Del Toro continues to use practical effects with computer graphics to supplement things.

Hellboy created by Mike Mignola and adapted by Guillermo del Toro and Mike Mignola. The story builds on the previous movie in some interesting ways. The franchise is clearly building toward something…apocalyptic, but until a third movie gets made, that’s a big question mark.

There’s also a strong theme of the death of magic and wonder in the world. Nuada even tells Hellboy as much during one of their confrontations.

Original score by Danny Elfman this time. The music works well for the movie and Elfman’s signature oddness is a perfect fit for a franchise about a demon that fights for the good guys, smokes cigars and says “Aw crap” a lot.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a fine sequel. It embraces the mystical and mythical elements of the premise and expands the world in some very ambitious ways while keeping the humor and general eldritch feel of the series.

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