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Hellboy II: The Golden Army
DVD disk
12.02.2008 By: Jason Adams
Hellboy II: The Golden Army order
Director:
Guillermo Del Toro

Actors:
Ron Perlman
Selma Blair
Doug Jones

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Since we last saw Hellboy and his friends at the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, Big Red and firestarter Liz Sherman have shacked up together, only to discover that a fairy tale ending is only in the movies. But when the prince of the underworld land of Bethmoora decides to rebel against his aging father and unleash an army of fantasy creatures and mythical proportions upon humanity, the pair, along with a love-stricken Abe Sapien and ectoplasmic newcomer Johann Strauss, must band together to save the world once again.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Even if I hadnít have been lucky enough to visit the set of HELLBOY II in Budapest last year, the sheer creativity stemming from Guillerrmo Del Toroís genius brain and the manís amazing attention to detail would still be grossly evident in every frame captured on celluloid. And the result is glorious.

The first HELLBOY was a fun comic book ride with plenty of the Mad Mexicanís sensibilities intact (tentacles, anyone?), but the whole thing felt hindered by a restrictive budget and studio/audience expectations. This sequel, however, is Del Toro taking himself and running wild on the studioís dime, not to mention going against the grain of the archetypal superhero movie at every turn. The sympathetic elemental, the superheroes having a beer, the Barry ManilowÖthese are not things you expect your average summer blockbuster. But somehow Del Toro makes it work.

Subversive as it is, the real reason to check out HELLBOY II is the enchanting and inclusive world presented. There are so many unique and creative creatures, ideas and character and production designs that itís almost hard to take everything in. The Troll Market sequence, for example, is so jam packed with stuff itís worth watching over and over again. The film is also surprisingly more comedic than the first, and successfully so. Hellboyís interaction with Liz, Abe and Johann makes for some great moments and a highly entertaining flick.

As Big Red, Pearlman encapsulates everything that makes the character beloved by fans; badassery, immaturity, and sarcasm. Perlman is Hellboy, and I still get all giddy that a studio actually greenlit a big budget movie with him as the star. The other players like Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor and Luke Goss all do fine supporting work; however itís Doug Jones who deserves the most credit, especially since youíll never see the man himself even though he plays three different characters. Abe Sapien is thankfully given much more to do this time around and Jones is up to the task. And of course thereís his turn as the Angel of Death that still gives me nightmares.

The story and script may drag a tad every now and then, but itís hard not to fall in love with the world Del Toro has created and pushed to the limit. Bring on HELLBOY III!
THE EXTRAS
Thereís a 3-disc Special Edition DVD and a packed full Blu-Ray version of the film, which undoubtedly provide more special features. But if itís just the movie you care about, this Widescreen edition will do.

Commentary by director Guillermo Del Toro: From the first line youíll have a hard time turning this commentary off. Del Toro is like a super geek, hilarious and infections with his enthusiasm for everything having to do with this movie. The man drops so many names, influences and references he sounds like a scholar, but in a completely friendly and engaging way. This is a must-listen.

Commentary by actors Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor and Luke Goss: Not as amazing as Del Toroís, but itís easy to see the camaraderie and chemistry between the actors. Tambor is funny, Goss is a nice guy and even though she dubs herself as ďanti-socialĒ more than once, Selma BlairÖcall me!

Set Visits: Close to 20 minutes of behind the scenes footage, most of which showcases Del Toroís eye for practical effects and the hard work that goes in to doing things the real way. See how they did the Chamberlain, the Hellboy vs. Wink fight, and of course the Big Baby.

Troll Market Tour (12:22): Del Toro takes you on a full tour of the amazing set built in to an actual abandoned rock quarry. Itís amazing how detailed and deep the set is; everything, no matter how small and how far in the background has an idea and story behind it, courtesy of the director. There was even an entire troll alphabet designed for the movie.

Zinco Epilogue (5:15):An animated comic book version of Del Toroís original ending, in which some nefarious types dig up the body of Kroenen from the first movie as well as other surprises. Hints at the plot for sequel perhaps?

Deleted Scenes (5:03): A bunch of quick scenes that donít add a whole lot. Donít expect too much, though the optional Del Toro commentary is nice.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
HELLBOY II is a joy to watch for film fans, a fun and full blown adventure on a truly grand scale. Guillermo Del Toro takes things a step beyond the first movie and crafts a great commercial vehicle for his ridiculous imagination. If you do like the movie, I suggest shelling out the extra dough for the Special Edition DVD or Blu Ray.

Extra Tidbit: Seth MacFarlane based Johann Kraussís voice on Jeremy Ironsí character from DIE HARD: WITH A VENGEANCE.
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