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Hellboy II: The Golden Army

August 30, 2010

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
Director: Guillermo Del Toro
Actors: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones

Synopsis: The mythical world starts a rebellion against mankind, so Hellboy (Ron Perlman) is called in to save the day.

ReviewHellboy II certainly wears its graphic novel pretensions lightly, and that makes a welcome change from the recent raft of solemn and portentous fantasy/comic book adaptations. The sly humour and general air of irreverence is probably Hellboy II’s greatest asset – emblematised through the title character’s perpetual phlegmatic nature, and reaching its surreal apex in a wonderful scene where Hellboy and his fellow ‘paranormal being’ Abe Sapien, croon to Barry Manilow’s “Can’t Smile Without You” while reflecting on their respective love lives. Director Guillermo Del Toro’s favouring of a non-CGI aesthetic, whenever possible, is also one of Hellboy II’s prime calling-cards. Overt use of CGI in other movies usually leaves me disengaged, but Del Toro’s preference for tangible physical creations to his fantasy worlds and their respective creatures, somehow permits the viewer to invest in the narrative and its ‘realm’ so much more than when an environment is conspicuously artificial.

On the minus side, despite the film’s minor pleasures, it still seems overridingly redundant and mediocre. For such a large ‘industrial’ picture, there is very little sense that there is much at stake in the narrative, and the film lacks that unquantifiable, but essential ‘x-factor’. (July 2008)

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