Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hellboy II - mini-review

After mowing the lawn and being a Girl Friday while Mr. Mouse painted the ceiling of half our downstairs today, I decided to treat myself to an afternoon of Hellboy II. I met friends of the blog HB and Rob at the Cinemagic Grand for a 4:50 p.m. show, getting there early enough to partake in a frosty pre-preview refreshment; I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there is pretty good beer at the Cinemagic - Sebago Brewing's Riptide Red and IPA, a Hefeweisen and one other that I don't remember. The barkeep was brand new and very nervous: his hand was shaking so much that I thought he was going to drop my IPA, which would have been very bad indeed.

Rob not only bought all our tickets in advance, he also got the reserved seats so we could all (six of us) sit together. That's a nice option because there's been many a time when we've rolled into a theater right before showtime and ended up sitting in random single seats all across the auditorium. It wasn't really necessary for this showing - not that many people there - but a good thought regardless.

Hellboy II is about what you would expect: lots of monsters, kittens, insubordination, fisticuffs, property damage. The monsters are absolutely amazing - Guillermo del Toro has the freakiest imagination ever. At one point Hellboy, Abe Sapien and Johann Krauss (a ghost contained in a diving suit, voiced by Mr. Family Guy himself, Seth McFarlane) are wending their way through the Troll Market under the east end of the Brooklyn Bridge and there are seemingly hundreds of different kinds of creatures, large and small, winged and fanged and most of them with eyes in places you wouldn't expect. I've read that a lot of the creatures are practical effects, not so much CGI, and it really makes a difference in the realism. Or, you know, as real as a bunch of trolls can be.

One nice difference from the first movie is that Doug Jones, who plays Abe, gets to use his own voice instead of just being a body for David Hyde Pierce. I thought DHP was fine in the first movie but it was a little distracting to hear Niles Crane's voice coming out of a six-foot tall fish-man. Jeffrey Tambor's character was annoying and a bit distracting, as was the ghostly Krauss: Hellboy doesn't do well with authority figures. We get it.

In retrospect, I wish I'd rewatched the first one before going to see this sequel. Not that I needed reminding of the mythology but because I think I liked the first one better and I'm not sure why. I seem to recall it being a little cleverer dialogue-wise, and Liz had more to do. Hellboy II is visually magnificent, however, and if you go into it already a fan I don't think you'll be disappointed.


  1. My wife and I watched Hellboy just before we caught this, and I think I enjoyed the sequel more. I think Liz got a little more to do this time than last. HB2 was faster paced too.

  2. That's funny - I just caught the original on t.v. last night. After that refresher I will agree that Liz has more screentime in HB2 but she just seemed a little bored - completely gorgeous, but bored. I just remember that after I saw HB for the first time (on DVD) I thought, "Why haven't I seen this before? That was great!" and after I saw the sequel this weekend I thought, "That was really gorgeous but I feel like something was missing."

  3. It's funny how opinions of movies change over time.

    I agree Liz was lacking in both films. If they move forward with the preggers story for the next installment, that should give her a huge chunk of the story. That I'd like to see, esp if there's crazy complications. I'd like to see Blair lay down the law next go-round.