Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Collector's Set)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
8 out of 10
Extras Rating:
9 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Rob Perlman as Hellboy
Selma Blair as Liz Sherman
Doug Jones as Abe Sapien
Seth MacFarlane as the voice of Johann Krauss
Luke Goss as Prince Nuada
Anna Walton as Princess Nuala
Jeffrey Tambor as Tom Manning

Special Features:
Disc 1
Feature Commentary with Director Guillermo del Toro
Feature Commentary with Cast Members Jeffrey Tambor, Selma Blair & Luke Gross
Set Visits
Troll Market Tour with Guillermo del Toro
Zinco Epilogue Animated Comic
Deleted Scenes wtih Optional Commentary by Director Guillermo del Toro

Disc 2:
Prologue
Hellboy: In Service of the Demon
Production Workshop
Pre-Production Vault
Marketing Campaign
Script

Disc 3:
Digital Copy
Script

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish, French Language
Spanish, French Subtitles
Running Time: 120 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the official DVD description:

" The fate of mankind hangs in the balance when a ruthless prince awakens an unstoppable army of creatures and wages war with the human world. It's up to Hellboy and his team of paranormal outcasts to face off with the forces of darkness in the ultimate battle of good versus evil!

From the visionary director of 'Pan's Labyrinth,' 'Hellboy II: The Golden Army' takes you into fantastical worlds with imaginative creatures and thrilling fight sequences unlike anything you've ever seen before!"

"Hellboy II: The Golden Army" is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and some language.

Mini-Review:
I desperately wanted to enjoy the first "Hellboy" film, but was disappointed by my own high expectations. There were parts of it that I enjoyed, but I found a lot of it to be cheesy and hard to follow. So I went into "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" with tempered expectations. I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. I found it to be one of those rare sequels that surpasses the original. "Hellboy II" has a better plot, bigger visuals, more action, and more creatures.

It's obvious that Guillermo del Toro was able to cut loose in this film no doubt thanks to his success with "Pan's Labyrinth." One of the first places this is apparent is with the creatures. As Hellboy enters the Troll Market for the first time, it's a lot like seeing Luke and Obi-Wan entering the Mos Eisley Cantina. It opens up an incredible new world and there are just so many bizarre, imaginative creatures to see that it blows you away. This carries on throughout the film with the Elemental plant creature, the Angel of Death, the Tooth Fairies, and the Golden Army. His extensive use of makeup and practical effects adds to the realism of the creatures more than cartoony CGI we see in a lot of films.

Like any good sequel, "Hellboy II" adds a few new favorites to the cast of characters. We're introduced to Johann Krauss, the by-the-book leader of the BPRD that also happens to be a gaseous being. He's imaginative and adds a lot of comedy relief to the film. Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane provides his voice. Luke Goss is also impressive as Prince Nuada. He's got a great look, he's sympathetic to some degree, and he's an impressive fighter. His swordfighting and martial arts moves were quite cool. But the returning characters are also back in top form. Rob Perlman is awesome yet again as Hellboy. Doug Jones gets to do a lot more with the character of Abe Sapien... including the voice this time around.

This is just an absolutely beautiful film. The production design is jaw dropping and the cinematography makes it look like it had a lot bigger budget than it did. Every frame of the movie is beautiful.

I also took a chance and showed this to my young children and they absolutely fell in love with it. I was surprised how well this film played with children. With the exception of the Tooth Fairies, the vast majority of this movie is OK for kids. Maybe some new young fans will help get a "Hellboy 3" made.

On the down side, there is still a bit of cheese in this film. In one scene, Hellboy flees a giant plant monster while holding a baby. It was way over the top and was the one point where the movie wasn't doing everything right. It's then followed by a horrible scene where a crowd of New Yorkers attack Hellboy for being a freak. It was stupid and didn't fit the story. If Hellboy would be accepted anywhere, it would be New York. And Las Vegas. And LA. In another scene, del Toro takes a chance by having Hellboy and Abe sing Barry Manilow. In a theater with a large audience it drew a lot of laughs, but I wonder how it will play in someone's home theater. It could easily fall flat.

I think if you're a fan of fantasy, sci-fi, or action movies, then this movie is something you're going to want to check out. I think most Hellboy fans will enjoy it and those that weren't all that impressed with the first one should revisit the sequel. Like me, you might fall in love with it again.

There are a lot of bonus features on this DVD. "Hellboy: In Service of the Demon" is a 2 and a half hour long documentary on the making of the movie. It covers everything you could possibly hope for. This is supplemented by set visit featurettes where you get to see behind the scenes footage of several of the fight scenes. You really begin to appreciate the work that went into them. Along with this is a tour of the Troll Market conducted by Guillermo del Toro himself. You'll also find other bonus feature standards like feature commentaries, animatics of the opening sequence, and art galleries. Rounding out the bonus features is an animated comic called "Zinco Epilogue" which features the resurrection of a couple of characters from the first film. I got the "Collector's Set" which also came with a Drew Struzan poster, a copy of del Toro's notebook, and a bust of a Golden Army robot created by Gentle Giant. It's way cool.

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