July 15, 2008

Hellboy II - The Golden Army

Hellboy was a great deal of fun, and cast extremely well. I went to see the sequel with high hopes.

They weren't rewarded. I think I enjoyed this movie more than my compatriots with me did, but it wasn't a great movie, and barely failed to be a good one. If I had to pick the single factor that hurt this movie the most vis-a-vis the first, it would simply be the loss of Professor Broom (which happened in the first movie, so don't scream SPOILER at me).

John Hurt, as Broom, brought a central anchor to the constructive madness that was the BPRD and crew. His father figure counterbalanced all of the inanity; or at least, each inane component of the movie seemed to lean away from him in a separate direction, making a circle of nuttiness. At the center, though, counterbalanced by all of it, he stood in benevolent control.

Not so in this one.

Tom Manning, Jeffrey Tambor's annoying but basically worthy FBI front man, had enjoyed a vindication of sorts in the prior movie. He and Hellboy, initially completely adversarial, had bonded by the end in a satisfying close to the movie's relationship plots. In this one, however, he's back to being ineffectual and almost contemptible, and there's no explanation as to why. It feels all wrong.

On the plus side, Ron Perlman is doing his usual excellent job as Red. Selma Blair is back as Liz, and despite getting a bit of a second-tier role, she's working hard at it and pulls it off. Abe Sapien is now both acted and voiced by Doug Jones, and it's better than the David Hyde Pierce voice-over from the first due to the better coordination. The monsters (trust Guillermo del Toro) are excellent.

The problem is the plot is not handled well (the plot itself is well built and could have provided all the requisite chases, escapes, successes, failures and dramatic tension required) as its timing seems off. The BPRD, rather than being a team chasing down a resolution, is more a chaotic soap opera worrying about its own self and only incidentally giving a crap about the whole saving the world schtick.

Anyway, that's as far as I'll go. I don't think I wasted my money, but Iron Man, The Hulk and WALL•E were all better than this movie.

Posted by jbz at July 15, 2008 11:27 AM | TrackBack

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