Thursday, July 17, 2008

Movie Review: Hellboy II The Golden Army

I like Guillermo del Toro, I really do. He is a competent and visionary director with a vivid imagination.

Too bad his style and dynamics outstrip Hellboy and company.

Hellboy II is a decent sequel but it showed me the limited range the primary characters can offer the audience compared with the new ideas the director introduced.

This felt like two different stories spliced together that ultimately did not require the presence of the title character at all.

When Hellboy and his sidekicks appeared onscreen, I lost interest in the movie. Their dialogue and characterizations felt forced and unnatural.

Prince Nuada and Princess Nuala, new characters introduced by del Toro, were far more compelling by comparison. I wanted to see more of those two and hear more of their story.

And that's the problem with this movie. While it does a decent job, it doesn't come across as anything more than a sequel featuring the latest romp with a set of characters who are not all that endearing.

I want Hellboy to be funnier or Abe Sapien to come across as too intelligent for the beer-swilling company he keeps. Selma Blair as Liz Sherman had a cute hair cut but then I always had a weakness for her. The rest of Hellboy's compadres are as forgettable as the wisps of air that surround them.

Del Toro is best served by working with his own material free of the trappings imposed on him by working in someone else's franchise.

He did an admirable job with Blade II but AGAIN you see del Toro introduce antagonists that are more intriguing than our 2-Dimensional hero.

Incidentally, Blade II and Hellboy II BOTH follow a story structure of the prodigal son returning to cause havoc and challenge his father's authority while the sister laments for her brother's course of action. Both movies feature Luke Goss in the role of the "misunderstood" antagonist and he thrives on these types of roles.

Hellboy II makes me a little concerned about the way del Toro will approach The Hobbit and its untitled sequel. Peter Jackson set a solid tone for movies adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien's works that the audience will expect to see continued. I fear del Toro will desire to shape the stories to his own vision which departs from what the audience is expecting and thereby alienate the very people he needs to win over the most.

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Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away