Ink & Pixel: Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Ink & Pixel is a source of pride and joy for me as a writer and as such, I'm always striving to take this column further for those who read and enjoy it. In an effort to widen the reach of our continuously growing fanbase, Ink & Pixel has been granted permission to broaden its horizons with the inclusion of films from the Horror, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy genres. I hope that you enjoy this bold new direction for the column. Additionally, if you yourself, or anyone you know, helped to make any of the amazing feature films found within this column, I would love to talk to you to further my knowledge. Please contact me at [email protected] so we can discuss it further.

Recently, actor Ron Perlman has been quite vocal about his desire to star in a third Hellboy film. In fact, during a red carpet interview, Perlman stated the following about his hopes to one day continue the comic-inspired franchise, “He [Guillermo Del Toro] gave me a rather broad stroke sketch of what the third film would look like, and it's so epic. It's so deserved by the fans who hung in there for the first two, that I really feel as though it's essential that we make it. So, I fight for it every day. Sometimes I'm the only voice, and sometimes there are others, but I'm never gonna stop trying to get Hellboy 3 made.” I don't know about you, but I love Ron Perlman, particularly his passion for the undeniably awesome world of Hellboy and all the insane movie magic that comes with it.

My thoughts? I think there's definitely a chance that we'll see del Toro, Hellboy, and the rest of his motley crew that make up the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.)badasses on the silver screen for one more go, it just might be a while. Hopefully the film happens sooner rather than later, so that fans of the pancake-eating, kitten-petting Hellboy can once again bask in the gothic genius that is Del Toro's true-to-form vision of one of the greatest comic book heroes of all time. That said, why don't we use this week's article to take a look back at HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY? After all, there's no harm in throwing another log on the fire if it helps build awareness for a third installment in the franchise, right?

Hellboy was created by comic book writer and artist Mike Mignola. The nazi-bashing, evil magician-foiling Hellboy began as a throw-away sketch Mignola drew during a comic book-related convention. He thought nothing of the character at first, but kept the doodle, and later re-designed him into the big red badass we've all come to know and love. Early on, the concept for Hellboy was pitched to DC Comics, but was rejected when the “Big 2” publisher expressed a disinterest in being associated with a persona that was born in Hell itself. Undaunted, Mignola brought Hellboy  to be published by Dark Horse Comics, and he has enjoyed a very long and celebrated history there as one of the independent publisher's greatest characters.

For those of you who are unaware of the plot details of HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY, allow me to enlighten you. Long ago, a war began between humankind and the magical creatures that dwell within the shadows and forests of our world. In an effort to turn the tide in their favor, an unstoppable mechanical army was gifted by a goblin blacksmith to the elven King Balor (Roy Dotrice). With the sinister whispers of his son, Prince Nuada, in his ear, King Balor set his new army upon the humans. The resulting devastation of this decree left the humans in absolute ruin. Gazing out at his victory, the king realized he'd made a mistake, and in repentance brokered a deal with the humans that would allow them to keep parts of the world to themselves.Outraged by his father's new found compassion, Prince Nuada retreated into exile.

Centuries later, Prince Nuada emerges from the darkness in which he sought refuge. His aim is to recover three pieces of a broken crown that will allow him to take command of the Golden Army, and destroy the humans once and for all. However, Hellboy and the rest of the B.P.R.D. are not about to let some elven brat with a grudge destroy everything they've been sworn to protect, so it's time to eat a good breakfast worth of pancakes and suit up! Can Hellboy (Ron Perlman), Liz (Selma Blair), Abe Sapien (Doug Jones), and their new teammate Johann (Seth MacFarland) defeat Nuada before he can assemble the crown and unleash hell upon all of humankind? Probably, but you'll have to watch the movie to find out exactly how they do it.

HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY was of course directed and written by Guillermo del Toro, with Hellboy creator Mike Mignola also lending his talent to the film's story. This comic book action adventure film was distributed in 2008 by Universal Pictures and featured a score by famed composer Danny Elfman. One of the advangtages of this Hellboy sequel is that its production was given a larger budget than the previous film. This meant, obviously, that del Toro and Mignola were afforded the funds that it would take to errect more elaborate sets than last time, in addition to a series of big-effects set pieces.

In point of fact, one of the film's more lavish sets was a location known as the “Troll Market”. The Troll Market is a highly decorated area within the film that looks as if Diagon Alley (of Harry Potter fame) made love to an Aztec Temple and then agreed to throw a dinner party for H.P. Lovecraft, and all of his nightmarish creations. In actuality, the market is something of a patchwork design that houses both brand new ideas, and a few larger objects left over from Guillermo's previous or scrapped film projects.

When it came time to decide upon the composition of the market, Guillermo and his team looked to Eastern Europe and Africa for ideas. With those locales as a stepping stone, the design team working on the market aimed to make it a place that would serve as a way-station for mystical creatures and abominations from all over the world. In other words, think of it as a flea market of sorts, a place where demons can purchase babies teeth, eye of newt, and wine made from the tears of those mourning their recently deceased. It's a great place for a first date, you know, if you're into that sort of thing.

One of the more interesting facts about the Troll Market set was that it was built inside of a real rock quarry nestled in Etyek, Budapest. Upon scouting the location, Guillermo ordered whole walls and sections of the craggy burrow to be hollowed out, torn down, and repurposed for the sake of creating the enormous set. Also, if you happen to look up while exploring this tremendous locale, you'll notice a series of entangled wires hanging above your head. This particularly cool feature was inspired by an electrical wire-hanging method found in the city of Kowloon, China. In the film, these wires serve as conduits for everything from water, steam, and electricity that's been stolen from the surface above. The creatures then use the various forms of energy to power all of their other-worldly devices. Think of it like monsters stealing cable access, or leeching off of your wi-fi signal. Sure it's rude, but are you going to venture down there to confront them about it? I didn't think so.

With the Golden Army defeated, Hellboy and his team of supernatural super-heroes exited the box office with a world-wide total of $160,388,063! Percentage wise, 47.4% ($75,986,503) of the film's gross hailed from theaters located in the Unites States and Canada, while 52.6% ($84,401,560) was gained from the foreign market. Considering that Hellboy is a Dark Horse Comics property, and not a cog in the money-making-machine that is Disney's Marvel, it's grand total is quite impressive when compared to its $85 million dollar budget. There's also a lot to be said for the way in which this film was received by fans of the series. Since its release, those who love the character have been clamoring for one more round with Big Red, hoping that on any given day Guillermo will make an official statement that Hellboy 3 is moving into production.

Welp, ask and ye shall receive, I suppose. In a recent statement from Guillermo himself, the lauded director had this to say about the always-in-flux fate of HELLBOY 3, “The hard fact is that the movie’s going to need about $120 million and there’s nobody knocking down our doors to give it to us. It’s a little beyond Kickstarter. It would be great to complete the trilogy, but in a way I don’t see the world — the industry — supporting that idea. But you know, Ron is no spring chicken, so we’d better get to it before Hellboy has to do everything from a Barcalounger. I would watch that.

For those of you who still can't get enough of Hellboy, I highly recommend that you make an effort to dive into the massive library of B.P.R.D.-related comics that line the Dark Horse Comics section of your nearest comic book or graphic novel retailer. You can choose to start at the beginning with Hellboy, Vol. 1: Seed of Destruction, or, for a more stand-alone experience, try Hellboy In Hell, Vol. 1: The Descent, Hellboy: The Midnight Circus, or Hellboy: Weird Tales. Additionally, don't be afraid to delve into the B.P.R.D. books, or perhaps give the Abe Sapien series a shot? I feel as if there's something out there for every Hellboy enthusiast. Hell, there's even a book wherein Hellboy teams up with Batman! Yup, that totally exists. See you in hell, folks!

Extra Tidbit: There's more than meets the eye in regard to Hellboy's stone fore-arm and hand. Aside from being an extremity to punch demons in the face with, it's also a key that serves to open a portal that will allow the Gods of Chaos to enter our world.
Source: joblo.com



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