120 Min. | Action – Adventure – Fantasy | August 2008
IMDB Rating: 7.0
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Staring: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones
Hellboy II: The Golden Army Review: Hellboy II: The Golden Army starts off in the same kind of story-telling style that The Princess Bride began with, although with a noticeably different romantic content. We see Hellboy as a young boy, and his adoptive father is reading to him a legend about an ancient warfare that has existed between humans and all manner of otherworldly beings for as long as anyone cares to remember. He listens with intense fascination as he learns of the tentative truce that was reached between the humans and the underworld, sealed by the separation and distribution of the Royal Crown of Bethmoora, the holder of which achieves power over the Golden Army. The humans thus took residence in the cities and the trolls and monsters have agreed to stay in the forests.
But due to deforestation and ever-expanding cities, there is some understandable unrest taking place among the underworld, and a Prince Nuada takes it upon himself to cancel the truce and reopen the battle with the humans. The plot of Hellboy II: The Golden Army, is decidedly more complicated than the original film, so suffice it to say that there are Prince Nuada and the demons on one side, and Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, and Princess Nuala (Nuada’s twin sister) fighting on the human side. A romance developing between Abe and Princess Nuala is complicated by the fact that any injuries that Nuada sustains are suffered identically by his twin sister, and he must be killed to be stopped. There is no use in describing the battle that takes place between Hellboy and his sidekicks and the demons in the movie, except to say that the special effects are absolutely phenomenal. There are enormous, sweeping feats of CGI taking place in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and trust me, that really means a lot coming from someone like me.
Hellboy has also let go of a lot of his timid approach to fame that we saw in the first movie, where he kept himself much more hidden. Now, he enjoys making public appearances, and even waves and gives autographs. The troll market and the way the underworld is made to exist within our own world are two of the movies strongest points. Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a film of visual wonders that are so well done you can almost feel them. I was reminded at various points of some of my older favorites, like The Goonies, Labyrinth, Time Bandits, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Aliens, The Cell, The Iron Giant, and that old Nintendo game, Life Force. Remember that thing? Classic! It was a step-up in the visual worlds that Guillermo del Toro was creating after the original Hellboy film, and the first Hellboy sequel is in turn a step up from that. What the next leap in visual imagery that del Toro comes up with I can’t begin to imagine, but for now Hellboy II: The Golden Army is more than enough to keep us occupied.