Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

I know, another movie. So sue me.

So I'm loafing around the house, and Jeff calls me up, asks me if I want to go to Silverdale, hang out for a bit, and then go see a movie. Jeff wanted to go see Hancock, but I've already seen it, so I talked him into watching Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

I hopped into the little Nissan Light Truck, and drove out to Silverdale. I'm one of those guys who drives at a constant 4 miles above the speed limit, because the overwhelming majority of police officers won't bother you about it. However, I got stuck behind a Lincoln Navigator who was stuck behind some subcompact looking thing that insisted on driving 45 in a 60 mph zone. Oncoming traffic bedeviled any attempt to pass the little bastard. Then things got worse, a semi truck pulled up behind me. For truckers, time is money, and he wanted to do about 70. So he's riding my ass, and I'm several car lengths on the wrong side of uncomfortably close to the massive SUV in front of me. If something happens to the subcompact, I'm going to get sandwiched, and the Nissan I'm riding in feels like the kind of stereotypical Japanese car that might as well be made of rice paper for all the protection it affords me.

Thus we rolled for almost 40, nerve racking, miles. Finally the road split into a three lane freeway. The semi blew past me, I blew past the Navigator, and we all left the subcompact in the dust.

I met Jeff and Amber at Famous Dave's along with one of Jeff's friends from his time staffing Scout Camp, Andy. We hung out, hit the mall, and loafed around to kill time before the 9:55 showtime for Hellboy. But the mall closes at 9:00, and we had almost an hour to kill. So what did we do? Andy ran to his car, and busted out a Frisbee, and we threw that thing around for a half hour in the theater parking lot until the manager sent her minions out to put a stop to us. Aren't we rebels?

But by that point, we had decided to go in to go see the film anyways.


Hellboy II: The Golden Army is the sequel to the 2004 film, Hellboy. Hellboy II stars Ron Perlman as Hellboy, a demon summoned by the Nazis in 1944 in an attempt to beat back the allied invasion. However, Hellboy was summoned as an infant, captured by the allies, and raised by a kindly old professor. Hellboy's true name is Anung un Rama, and his right hand is made of red indestructible stone. Hellboy's right hand is the key that unleashes Armageddon upon the world. However, in a triumph of nurture over nature, Hellboy has been raised to fight for humanity at the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, or BPRD.

Selma Blair stars as Liz Sherman, Hellboy's love interest, and Pyrokinetic. Liz has the ability to generate flames of incredible heat when she get angry. Kind of like a female Human Torch.

Doug Jones plays Abe Sapien, an Icthyo Sapien, or fish man. He's psychic, and the brains of most field operations, possessing an extensive knowledge of the occult and bizarre.

The story kicks off with the story of the Golden Army. Long ago, man waged war upon the fey folk. The elves, ogres, trolls, fairies, and goblins were all slaughtered. In desperation, the king of the elves commissioned the goblin blacksmiths to build a golden army of 70 times 70 soldiers. This army could be controlled by a golden crown that when worn unchallenged, granted the wearer complete control over the army. These invincible clockwork warriors knew no remorse, and butchered the human army. The king, horrified by the carnage, agreed to a truce with the humans. The humans could keep their cities, and the fey would keep the forests. As a sign of the truce, the crown was broken into three pieces, one was given to the humans, and two were kept by the elves. The elven prince Nuada, disgusted with the king's decision to sign the truce, went into exile, training for the time that the war erupts again.

As time marched on, the humans forgot the truce. They encroached upon the lands promised to the fey. Prince Nuada trained, and honed his skills, and saw his moment to act. The piece of the Golden Crown owned by the humans was up for auction, starting at $7 million. Nuada, and his accomplice, a huge cave troll known as Mr. Wink, broke into the auction house and seized the piece. Then as a statement to humanity at large, he unleashed a swarm of Tooth Fairies upon the people in the auction house. These Tooth Fairies are more like anthropomorphous locusts, devouring everything in their path, teeth first, hence the name.

The event is locked down, and the BPRD is called in. Liz, Abe, Hellboy, and two human agents. As they investigate, the Tooth Fairies attack them. Eventually, Liz decides to just incinerate the lot of them. The resulting conflagration blows Hellboy out a window and into the crowd below, blowing BPRD's cover. Out in the open, BPRD is now assigned a new agent to oversee the team. Johann Krauss. Krauss was a German psychic who had his body incinerated by some event during a seance. Now he is just an ectoplasmic fog that binds his soul to this world. Given fresh direction by the resourceful Klauss, the BPRD begins to investigate who was responsible for the attack on the auction house...

The movies is very similar visually to Guillermo del Toro's previous work, Pan's Labyrinth. If you haven't seen one of del Toro's films, think Tim Burton on downers. It's a little creepy, yet whimsical, and dark all at the same time. The acting is a little scattered. Perlman is a pro, but that might be the product of typecasting, given that it seems that every role he undertakes opens with "Enter deformed freak". Blair was disappointing, she didn't take well for the more adjusted direction of her character. Doug Jones was amazing with his body language, but his dialogue was a little labored. The movie's pace is a little schizo too. The score is unremarkable.

Hellboy II is 110 minutes long, and got a 78 on metacritic. It's a fun summer movie, and worth watching if you enjoy something a little outlandish. It's got an irreverent B-Movie feel to it, and it doesn't apologize for it. It's got laughs, drama, and action, what more could you ask for? I'd give it an 8/10

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hellboy is dependably fun; for sure that director has an amazing imagination, reminded me a lot of his work in Pan's Labyrinth