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Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

by on 2012/11/04

“There we are… Your temper, it makes you sloppy.”

* * * *

I love Hellboy.

In fact, Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman and Tom Manning are like very old friends.  That’s why I can forgive old friends for bickering with one another incessantly, falling over drunk and even caterwauling along to Barry Manilow’s “Can’t Smile Without You.”

Because as Suzanne Somers once said, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.

Or something.

Now I need to forgive myself for mentioning Suzanne Somers in the same article as the remarkable Guillermo del Toro. Mr. del Toro is the creator of so many movies I love: Hellboy, Blade II, Pan’s Labyrinth.

Hellboy II brings us back to the characters we knew and loved from the first movie, not long after the action ended in the first in the series. There’s the pyrokinetic Liz Sherman, now living with Hellboy, but still as acerbic and fighty as only a Selma Blair (Hellboy: Blood and Iron) character can be.

You know, I sort of wish she’d stop hectoring Hellboy. It is so unattractive.

There’s the goliath talents of Ron Perlman (Hellboy) as the big red man himself. There’s Jeffery Tambor (The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie) who is a delight as the whiny, nosebleed, killjoy Tom Manning, Head of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense.

There’s a new voice for Abe Sapiens – Doug Jones who replaces David Hyde Pierce from the first movie. The difference was initially jarring, but I adapted. It is evolution.

Speaking of voice acting, there’s the incredible Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) as Johann, the ectoplasmic scientist who has a love for rule books, punctuality and precision. Cough, cough, cough. I so love this character. I do.

Guillermo takes the proven Hellboy formula and studded it with his singular horrifically gorgeous art style then continues to push things to the near breaking point like all great madmen and true artists do.

In addition to an army made entirely of golden clockwork parts. There’s an angel of death with a face made of a weathered hip bone, blinking eyes in her black wings. There’s an enormous tree alive in the middle of a New York neighbourhood whose branches sprawl, crush and destroy. There’s the dark, frenetic energy of the goblin market which is located, in secret, under the Brooklyn Bridge. There’s the delicate alabaster beauty of Princess Nuala (Anna Walton).

All baroque loveliness brought to you by del Toro.

Then there’s the real jewel in the visual crown – the sublime Prince Nuada, with hair like Johnny Winter, and a face like a beautiful ancient statue, played by the incredible Luke Goss. Luke Goss, I now believe, was born to play an evil descendent of an ancient royalty.

He was incredible as Nomak in Blade II and he’s simply incredible here. Goss is so good, you even believe his orgy of destruction is based on a set of tortured principles. He’s evil but he’s also sad and sorry. His is a rich and wonderful performance that is a truly a delight to behold.

Yes, Hellboy sings a Barry Manilow love song. But notwithstanding that, I’m with del Toro. All the way. He crafts a film replete with scary beauty.

* * * *

121 minutes

Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence. NOTE: if you let children watch this, they will never want the Tooth Fairy to visit ever, ever, EVER again.

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