| Note: Two Movie Reviews submitted for Hellboy II: The Golden Army by Tim Keltner and Keith Cohen.
Red Returns Ready to Rout Really Rude Roustabouts!
A movie review by Tim Keltner
Written (story and screenplay) and Directed by Guillermo del Toro.
Release Date: July 11, 2008
Genre: Pick it! Fantasy, SF, Horror, Action, Adventure and a new one I just made up: Comfilm TM (a film that began as a comic book or graphic novel).
Tagline: "Saving the world is a hell of a job". *
Yes, Red is back and redder than ever! Our hell born anti-hero returns triumphantly to the big screen in a sequel that will easily top the first installment ~ a feat not accomplished since The Godfather II (1974) and Aliens (1986).
However, this is an improved version of Hellboy! No longer plagued with the level of self-loathing we suffered through in Hellboy (2004), his redness seems more comfortable in his skin and it makes for a great adventure.
Of course, to make a good story, you need exceptional writing, developed characters, and believable production values. It is becoming increasingly difficult for Hollywood to induce the willing suspension of disbelief in today’s sophisticated audiences. I mean any Tom, Dick or Harriet can put a movie up on You Tube with little or no budget!
Thankfully, Director Guillermo del Toro delivers big time. If there is one downside to the film, it may be that it does not really stand on its own. You really need to see the first one to get a full reading of the main characters. That said, this is a good effort for a Writer/Director that has really come into his own.
We already know Hellboy (Ron Perlman), Liz (Selma Blair), and Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) as well as Tom Manning (the "scrumtrilescent" Jeffrey Tamborn) and the ever-brilliant John Hurt who reprises his heart-felt role as Professor Trevor 'Broom' Bruttenholm. The villain, Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) is a VERY bad dude (with wicked-cool make-up!), and, typical of one driven by a cause, even a nefarious cause, he is not afraid of the consequences of his actions (mini spoiler alert!) ~ even unto dispatching family members.
Then there is the all-important and often failed to execute plot and cinematography (production values). Both aspects pass this simple, yet effective, test. I did not have to think about either during the movie. Simple as that ~ Directors’ mission accomplished.
Recommendation? Run, do not walk (or bother with passing go or collecting $200 ~ it’s paper money anyway!) to see this film. If you are a fan, you will love it. If you have not seen the first film, add it to your Netflix or Blockbuster list (the marketing gurus at Time Warner Cable are too stoopid to make it available on P.P.V.) and see the first before seeing this one. That way you will miss the crowds and be prime and ready for a "Hell(boy)ish" adventure!
Review by Tim Keltner
Tim Keltner is a free-lance writer, publicist and representation specialist living in Lenexa Kansas with a wife, two kids and a Leopard Spotted Gecko named Leo (that’s Leo, not GEICO). He has written for The KC Sports Calendar, U.M.K.C.’s U-News, Johnson’s County Gazette and his short story "Grave News" was published by Lone Wolf Publications as part of a CD Rom Anthology entitled "Stones". Tim also wrote a musical review "From Main to Broadway" that was performed by the Sooner Community Theatre in Norman Oklahoma.
*Film information gathered from The Internet Movie Database (imdb.com)
'Hellboy II' Entertaining
3 Stars (Out of four)
Review by Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"
The weekly summer merry-go-round of superheroes continues with the return of the demon spawn nicknamed “Big Red.”
Hipster fanboys will be attracted like moths to a flame to this follow-up to the 2004 film based on Mike Mignola’s comic book series.
Ron Perlman (“Beauty and the Beast”) is back in the lead role as the tough, cigar-smoking protector of mankind with a soft spot for cats. He is joined by his incendiary girlfriend Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) and fish-out-of-water sidekick Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) as fellow agents of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD). Their supervisor is Tom Manning (bald-headed Jeffrey Tambor from “Arrested Development” and “The Larry Sanders Show”) who has a bigger role and provides comic relief.
The newest addition to the team is Johann Krauss (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), an intimidating German ectoplasmic spirit housed in a very special containment suit.
A 1955 Christmas Eve bedtime story serves as a preamble to what follows over a half century later. Prince Nuada (Luke Goss), a martial arts master, comes out of exile after thousands of years. He wants to end the truce between the trolls of the forest and the human race.
In order to resurrect the ruthless and invincible golden mechanical army, this evil warlord must reassemble the magical crown. There are three distinct pieces. The first piece is up for bids at a NYC auction house. The other two pieces are in the possession of his father, the Troll King, and his twin sister, Princess Nuala (intoxicating beauty Anna Walton).
Mexican writer-director Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”) totally immerses you into this fantasy realm inhabited by the most imaginative and unusual creatures. The variety of never-before-seen other worldly beings hits a high note during a sequence in the Troll Market.
The movie’s strongest asset is Hellboy, who views himself as an ugly freak of nature similar to the Frankenstein monster. Once you get by the outward appearance and spend time with this unique individual, you find yourself enjoying his company. He has a delightful personality that is punctuated by his humorous wisecracking remarks.
His ongoing domestic dispute with Liz and their love for one another trumps the action. The signature moment occurs when Hellboy and Abe, both love struck and inebriated from beer, sing a duet of Barry Manilow’s “I Can’t Smile Without You.”
The movie will remind you of “Ghostbusters” and “Men in Black.” The production design, art direction, special effects, makeup and costumes are all top drawer. These various facets make this a visually sumptuous treat.
Oscar-winning composer Danny Elfman (“Wanted,” “Good Will Hunting,” ”Men in Black” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) provides a rich tapestry with an original musical score.
After a promising setup, the story loses its fizz and the ultimate showdown is disappointing. This second installment bridges the gap to the concluding chapter of the trilogy being contemplated by del Toro, whose next project is the highly anticipated “Hobbit.”
If you’re seeking an escape from the scorching July heat, this entertaining joy ride is worth taking.