Saturday, January 2, 2010

“Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” – Way over the top…Thank you.

Ever since the first “Hellboy” came out, a friend of mine had been asking me if I had seen it. We talk about movies a lot and “Hellboy” was one of those movies I had preconceived opinions about. Let’s face it, from the previews, it wasn’t exactly screaming Academy Award winner. Recently, another friend started asking me the same thing, since “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” was due to be released. So, I decided to check out the first installment, if anything, to shut them up. It’s worth noting that he also thought “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” and “300” were good movies, all of these being based on graphic novels. Considering those two were both pure crap, I was fully expecting “Hellboy” to follow them up likewise. To my surprise, it wasn’t swill; in fact, it was a decent movie.

I found myself starting to look forward to “Hellboy 2,” but I still had some reservations. The “Hellboy” franchise is directed by Guillermo del Toro, who also brought us “Pan’s Labyrinth.” I mention this because “Pan’s Labyrinth” was such a fantastic disappointment, that I was very hesitant to get too excited about anything new del Toro was doing. With “Pan’s Labyrinth,” he seemed more interested in giving us a history lesson than telling the fantasy story we were promised in the previews. The only thing we learned was that del Toro has a fantastic imagination, best evidenced by the creature whose eyes were in his hands (very creepy, too). Based on the previews for “Hellboy 2,” I knew I’d at least get some more phenomenal creatures, whether there was any kind of story or not.

I have now forgiven del Toro for “Pan’s Labyrinth.” “Hellboy 2” was exactly what a fantasy movie should be; over the top. More accurately, it was fully immersed. Lately, we have had to put up with unimaginative fantasy films, such as “The Spiderwick Chronicles” and “Harry Potter.” These are stories that use typical creatures, not showing one ounce of creativity. Even the stories are redundant, especially with “Harry Potter,” each movie in the franchise having the exact same story as the one before it. The point of fantasy is in the name of the genre itself. It’s supposed to be fantastic; don’t hold back. Thankfully, del Toro didn’t.

“Hellboy 2” was everything it promised. There were all kinds of fantastic new creatures that very few of us could have even imagined. Some of the best creatures were the tooth fairies. They were tiny little creatures that could fly, with big mouths, sharp teeth and a healthy appetite. They are called tooth fairies because their favorite thing to eat is teeth. Unlike the first film, the story in this one was given to us in the beginning, allowing us to simply follow and enjoy it as it unfolded. In a nutshell, humans are destroying all of the fantasy creatures, without even knowing, and the elf prince is pissed about it. He intends to raise the Golden Army, an indestructible force used in the past to defeat the humans, to destroy them all. Hellboy and team must stop him. I told you it was simple.

The rest is just eye candy. From the tooth fairies, to the troll market, to the hellish angel with eyes in his wings (del Toro loves crazy eye monsters), to the forest elemental, this movie is one giant fantasy orgasm, probably the best since “Labyrinth” (I’m talking about David Bowie and his giant troll bulge here). Selma Blair is even thrown in as human eye candy (it’s a good thing for her she’s hot, because she can’t act worth a shit) and Danny Elfman provides an excellent score of music, in case your ears needed a little sugar. I know you were probably expecting me to skewer this film, but I’m not kidding around. While it is probably not a good idea to take younger children to see it (they will have nightmares, I guarantee it), anyone who is into fantasy should see this film. I promise you will not be disappointed and you will realize what a hack J.K. Rowling really is.

Rating: I wouldn’t ask for any of money back, but that’s just me. You can do what you want.

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