Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Review: Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Movies,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:13 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous


Originally uploaded by Network Geek

I saw Hellboy 2: The Golden Army on Saturday.

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed in this movie. I’d been anticipating it since it was announced and really looking forward to seeing more of the Hellboy franchise, but this turned out to be just another bland sequel.
I felt like the special effects were the entire point of the film. Well, that and all the merchandising opportunities. The director, Guillermo del Toro, who also directed the first Hellboy movie, was one of the writers on this script, and I think his influence shows. Sadly, that’s not a compliment. Del Toro is also well known for directing the brilliant Pan’s Labyrinth which featured bizarre and fanciful creatures as much as the story or cinematography. There are large sequences in Hellboy 2 that feel like they were included in the movie strictly to show off some strange creature or character that would make a good model or action figure to sell a fanboy. In fact, the entire plot device of a “goblin market” under the Brooklyn Bridge seems created for this purpose of having creatures resembling leftovers from Pan’s Labyrinth.

But, I’m getting just a little ahead of myself. The basic plot of this sad offering is that an ancient race of fairies who has been at war with humans make an unstoppable, mechanical army constructed of gold and magic. After a brutal war that shocked even the fey king, the crown that controlled the Golden Army was broken into three pieces, one of which was given to humans as part of a kind of non-aggression pact. Fast forward a few centuries and mankind has forgotten about this war and the Golden Army, but the prince of the fairies, Prince Nuada, played by Luke Goss, has not. What’s more, he wants to waken the Golden Army and break the peace with mankind, conquering them and returning his people to dominance over the Earth. So, yeah, end of the world, blah, blah, blah. Naturally, his sister, Princess Nuala, played by Anna Walton, stands in his way and runs into the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense in the form of Abe Sapien, played by Doug Jones, Hellboy, played by Ron Perlman, and Liz Sherman, played by Selma Blair. They protect her and hide her from her brother just long enough for her and Abe to fall in love. And, I mean just long enough. As soon as there’s just barely enough dialog to establish that Abe has fallen for Nuala, her brother arrives to try and get her piece of the crown and kidnap her. Talk about a worn out plot. Yawn. Then, of course, Hellboy is injured in such a way to force the team to go on a quest and well, save the world from the Prince and the Golden Army.

Nothing at all spectacular here, but in case you plan on going to a matinee, which is all this movie is worth, I’ll keep from revealing any other plot points, such as they are.
Really, considering that the first movie was so good and established these characters so well and clearly, I’d hoped for more from this film. I’m not sorry I saw it, but it’s not something I’d be all that interested in seeing again. Maybe there’s a director’s cut that has all the good parts in it or something, but, well… Well, it’s not a fantastic movie, but not the worst movie I’ve ever seen either. If you don’t think you have time to see this movie at a matinee, I can’t blame you and it might be worth seeing on video, but don’t bother to pay full price.

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