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 Hellboy II: The Golden Army

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Donald McKinney
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PostSubject: Hellboy II: The Golden Army   Wed Aug 06, 2008 5:16 pm

Hellboy was created by Mike Mignola in 1993 for the second issue of San Diego Comic-Con Comics, and from there, a cult comic book character was born. Hellboy is a demon summoned by Nazi occultists in last 1944, but was taken in by Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, who was his father ever since, and Bruttenholm formed the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. Although Hellboy is a demon, with the horns and tail of a devil, he doesn't have the attitude of one, he's out to protect the human race from dark forces which threaten our world, but he's a cigar-chomping, wise-cracking hero who loves old cartoons and Baby Ruth candy bars. In 2004, cult director Guillermo Del Toro brought Hellboy to the big screen, making a faithful origin story, and giving cult character actor Ron Perlman the role he was born to play, Perlman was the perfect choice for Hellboy, handing the action and emotion well, and injecting the character with a world-weary, self-aware sense of humour. The first film was a surprise hit, and was enough to warrent a sequel, though it took 4 years to get here, it was well worth the wait, Del Toro found fame for his Spanish fantasy film Pan's Labyrinth (2006), which won Oscars, and gave him the clout to do the sequel. Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a better film than the first film, we get more of the title character, more action and some brilliant moments of fantasy we've now come to expect from Del Toro.

The film's plot has it that thousands of years ago, there was a mystical, clockwork army called The Golden Army built for Balor, the King of the Elves, after human's defeated the King's army. However, there was a truce between the humans and the elves, an uneasy one at that, causing the King's son Prince Nuada (Luke Goss), to disappear into exile. The king's crown was divided into 3 pieces, one for the humans, the other two for the elves. Flash forwards a few thousand years, and Prince Nuada, is looking to reclaim the missing piece of the crown, so he can reawake the Golden Army to declare war on the humans. Meanwhile, at the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, Hellboy (Perlman), is having relationship problems with his new "flame" Wink, fellow agent and pyrokinetic Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), but he's also become public to the world, even though the Bureau must remain top secret. After an attempt to kill "tooth fairies", set loose after Nuada reclaimed the missing piece of the crown from an auction, makes Hellboy public yet again, it puts the position of the Bureau's boss Agent Manning (Jeffrey Tambor) in a jam. Especially when Washington send over a top agent, Johann Krauss (voiced by Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane!! Very Happy), who is a mysterious gassy spirit who lives in a containment suit. Meanwhile, Nuada's twin sister, Princess Nuala (Anna Walton) is in possession of the missing piece of the crown, and seeks refuge with the Bureau, and agent Abe Sapien (Doug Jones), finds a love interest... Wink

Mexican director Del Toro turned down the likes of I Am Legend, Wanted and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, just to do this. The Hellboy comic books bring out the best in his imagination, and Del Toro is always in his element when dealing with the supernatural. If anyone has seen Cronos (1993), The Devil's Backbone (2001) and Blade II (2002), you'll see what I mean. Wink But, he's a director with one foot in the mainstream with films like Hellboy, and the other foot in with doing Spanish films like The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth (2006). It was the latter which truly put him on the map in Hollywood, and he now has a few films in various stages of development, including his eagerly-awaited take on The Hobbit. Wink But, for now, we have Hellboy II, which is a fusion between what he's done for Hollywood so far, and the very best of the fantastical imagery of his Spanish-speaking films. He's able to mix characterisations and fantasy really well, and there are some weird characters on show in this film!!

Ron Perlman brilliantly gives the demon Hellboy a good human quality, especially when he is forced to decide whose side he would rather fight side on, the humans, or the world of mystical creatures. He's become all the more rebelious since the first film, only doing it to annoy Agent Manning, who took over from Professor Bruttenholm, who appears in the 1955 flashback here, again played by John Hurt, who tells Hellboy, (as a child), the story of The Golden Army, (a sequence which mirrors the stories Hurt used to tell on Jim Henson's The Storyteller. Wink) Blair's Liz Sherman is given more to do in this sequel, she's going through relationship problem's too, but at least she drops a bomb, which could be a set up for a third Hellboy film. Wink We also have Abe Sapien back, played by Doug Jones, who like Perlman, adds a human quality to a supernatural creature, all the more so when Abe and Hellboy have a hilarious drunken sing-song!! Very Happy But, humour is again added by Johann Krauss, who is uptight and does stuff by the book, he comes from the spin-off comic B.P.R.D.: Hollow Earth and Other Stories, but Del Toro saw the potential for the character in this one, he'd originally cast German actor Thomas Kretschmann, but Del Toro ultimately felt Kretschmann's voice was at odds with Krauss' physical appearance, and went for Seth MacFarlane, who gave a much, more exagerrated near-stereotypical German voice, (something you'd imagine him coming up with for Family Guy), but it works, and he was an inspired choice which paid off!! Wink



Hellboy is back, and better than ever, Del Toro is really given carte blanche for what he can put into this film, and it pays off, making it probabily a contender for one of the most original and visually stunning comic-book films of 2008, (yes, even holding it's own against the likes of The Dark Knight and Iron Man, and that's saying something!! Wink) It does have good characterisations, a good sense of humour, and creatures and even sets in this film that haven't been seen in films for a long time, Del Toro is probabily one of the most original directors working in films today, and has fantastical visionary that could rival the likes of Burton and Gilliam, from the troll market to the finale under the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. Del Toro has expressed interest in doing a third one, so has Perlman, but first Del Toro has a trip planned to Middle-Earth. Wink Oh, and he also has an adaptation of the 1960's British TV series The Champions planned, and an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness. But, if his vision of The Hobbit, (which is set to be two films!! Wink), is as anything as good as Hellboy II, you know you're in for a great experience!! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Hellboy II: The Golden Army   Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:14 am

I loved the first Hellboy. Really an enjoyable experience and this one looks to be even better. Roll on August 20th!

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PostSubject: Re: Hellboy II: The Golden Army   Sun Aug 10, 2008 9:37 pm

Love Hellboy with a passion, can't wait for number two!
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PostSubject: Re: Hellboy II: The Golden Army   Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:49 pm

I hope you both enjoyed it, and I hope we don't have to wait TOO long for Hellboy 3, considering what Guillermo Del Toro is working on at the moment... Neutral Razz
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