Movie review: ‘Hellboy II’ deserves more hype
Vail CO, Colorado
Let’s face it, there’s just a small demographic of movie goers who enthusiastically venture to see anything entitled “Hellboy.” And aside from the well-versed comic book type, not many would take a running step toward “Hellboy II.”
If you don’t know any better, it sounds like some freakish tale of a demon child who goes around terrorizing the universe and setting things on fire.
Don’t let the title turn you off. “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” is actually pretty good … especially for anyone who appreciates the imaginative genius of director/writer Guillermo del Toro (of “Pan’s Labrynth” fame).
The film is, in fact, based on a demon comic book character (created by Mike Mignola). But he’s not as hellish as you’d think. Hellboy is actually a well-intended devil out to save the world. His friends call him Red. He’s a large, muscular red guy with a tail, horns (that he has stylishly trimmed down to stumps) and an enormous brick hand. He wears leather pants and a trench coat and has a cute girlfriend named Liz who can set herself ablaze at will (or accidentally when she’s angry).
Happily, the background provided by the first installment of “Hellboy” isn’t required to enjoy and follow “Hellboy II: The Golden Army.” But if you must know how Hellboy and his compatriots of misunderstood monsters who work for the common good of humankind (and the paranormal research branch of the U.S. government) came to be, they were born of portals between universes, scientific experimentation and similar recipes a la superhero.
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“Hellboy II” begins with a dose of history. It tells the tale of how the monsters of the world were exiled after years of war and failed attempts to coexist with “normal” people. They made an agreement with the human race to live in isolation and were eventually pushed into dark corners where they were to remain unseen. With them in their hidden underground layers was the indestructible, yet defunct Golden Army of robots.
Now, in the height of modern society and all of its greed and corruption, the rebellious prince of the mythical realm is ready to come out of hiding and take the world back. He intends to use the Golden Army to flatten mankind and all of its twisted, selfish and misguided ways.
But not all of the freakish ghouls see eye-to-eye with the prince. Hellboy and his posse are certainly not going to see the world to which they are trying to assimilate (the fascinating undercurrent of this movie: freaks trying to fit in), go down without a fight.
Del Toro’s fantastical characters give George Lucas’ and Peter Jackson’s a run for their money.
From skin-eating fairies to mossy giants to skinny goons with clairvoyant hands, the beasts in del Toro’s films abound from a mind powered by more than a few recessive genes for artistry and innovation.
“Hellboy” may not be as highly touted as “Star Wars” or “Lord of the Rings” … but it should be.
Movie: “Hellboy II: The Golden Army.”
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro.
Stars: 3.5 out of 4