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Saturday, July 12, 2008

MOVIE REVIEW: "HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY"

    I first became a "Hellboy" fan in 2001 when I discovered the first graphic novel while working at a local comic book store. Since then I have been a devoted fan of all things Hellboy, including anything B.P.R.D. (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) related! When the first movie was released in 2004, I was blown away by director Guillermo del Toro's film until then the I had only seen Del Toro's American film "Mimic" (1997) and would search out his Spanish-language films such as "The Devil's Backbone" (2001) and later "Pan's Labyrinth" (2006). Already impressed by del Toro's vision and imagery I was eagerly awaiting Hellboy's sequel this summer.
    I have realized over the years being both a moviegoer and comic book fan that the line between comics and movies has been severely twisted. With older classics such as Richard Donner's "Superman" and Tim Burton's "Batman" (1989), which I had grown up adoring. I was always aware that any comic book adaptation has to have an equal mixing of both the comic book and the moviemaker in order to work. Like "Batman" (1989) which was delightfully dark as Batman should be it was also very Burton, ("Beetleguise", "Edward Scissorhands") at that time still a young filmmaker. And in recent years with Marvel comics burst of film franchises like "Spider-man" and "X-Men" which were very successful although somewhat dwindling the third time around, all has the directors style but still remains devoted to the comics original flavor.
    Like "Hellboy", whose original creator Mike Mignola had a lot of involvement with the first "Hellboy" movie as well as the sequel, however it is noticeable that Mignola's presence is somewhat lesser and del Toro's style has completely overtaken the film. Not only has del Toro taken liberties with the film but he used this sequel as an opportunity to have a little "Fun" with "Hellboy" which, as far as I'm concerned, is too much!
    "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army" is remarkable, the special effects the imagery, the inventiveness. Its downright overwhelming, its no longer dark and mysterious as the Hellboy comics were originally, now, its bright and funny!? What happened!? Don't get me wrong, Ron Perlman as Hellboy is fantastic, I met him shortly after at a convention. Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) is incredible. I was even overjoyed that this movie would introduce a new B.P.R.D. agent from the comics into the movies: Dr. Johan Krauss! On first seeing his ectoplasm suit and hearing hi voice (although humorously voiced by "Family Guy"/"American Dad" creator and voice: Seth MacFarlane. Although Krauss now sounds more like Klauss, the goldfish from American Dad, which I enjoy watching.)
    The failing of Hellboy 2 starts with the soap-opera level love story between Hellboy and Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), and not to mention Abe Sapien becoming smitten with the new character Princess Nuala, which goes so far as to have him begin drinking and singing annoying love songs (Come on! WTF!)
     The final stab is the overly convoluted story that has no basis in the Hellboy comics! We've gone so far from the original concept of Hellboy and a far turn from the original film that I dread to see if and when there will be a Hellboy 3, will Hellboy return to his roots marked with dark, Lovecraftian stories or will be off to the north pole to fight an evil Santa Claus. Guillermo del Toro, stop please and re-evaluate your situation before it gets too much for us to handle. I cannot even think about what's going to happen when his vision of "The Hobbit" will be released in 2011 (Really!) and they've already slated for "The Hobbit" in 2012! I can't wait…