‘Hellboy II’ - mesmerising blend of real and supernatural world (Film Review - Rating ****)

October 4th, 2008 - 9:30 am ICT by IANS  

Film: “Hellboy II: The Golden Army”; Cast: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, John Hurt, Luke Goss; Director: Guillermo Del Toro; Rating: ****Sometimes Hollywood movies bludgeon us with an excess of special effects that it’s hard to believe there’s anything special about them at all. With “Hellboy II: The Golden Army”, director Guillermo del Toro transforms the use of special effects to something magical, beautiful, mesmerising with a lot of heart and soul.

Del Toro is clearly one of the best young directors in Hollywood and his underlying genius is his power of vision.

“Hellboy II” comes on the heels of the modestly successful “Hellboy”, released in 2004. The movie then did not receive breakthrough success, but established itself among hard core fans who were more than pleased.

This time around the studios have pumped in more money and Del Toro has made good use of every penny. He has created an incredible tableau of mythical creatures and monsters with a decent story line mixed with a good emotional backbone and sprinkled with the requisite superhero wisecrack humour.

In between the action, the movie settles down to a mature, warm and endearing depiction of relationships between the principal characters. The love angle is deftly explored, providing the movie with much heart and humour.

Hellboy (Ron Perlman), his woman Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) and this time joined by Johann Straus (voiced by Seth McFarlane) all work with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, a secret US government agency.

They have to contend with Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) from the mythological world, who has for centuries wanted to take over the world from the humans. He has a twin sister, who is connected to him very deeply but she doesn’t comply with his plans.

It is astonishing how Toro packs the frames of scenes with so many creatures. Each creature is a set of exquisite details and has its own unique character. He allows enough time for the viewer to soak in the nature of the creatures.

Toro is less inclined to impress and more interested in creating a connection between the viewer and the characters. There are the tiny but viscous tooth fairies with a twisted meaning for their name, the bean that turns into a gigantic and destructive forest god, and the golden army which is defeated in the end in a climactic battle.

The director envisions a blend of the real and supernatural world. The creatures may be other-worldly and supernatural but have very human natures, which makes it easier for us to relate to.

Like Peter Jackson with the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Toro understands the importance of details and the importance of infusing each scene with enough heart.

The actors all do a commendable job and their camaraderie is believable. Perlman as the lead actor is solid and manages to convey emotions through the red paint he is covered in.

The movie is also blessed with a singular vision since Del Toro was also involved in the developing of the story and script.

This movie joins “Iron Man” and “The Dark Knight” as the better action movies of the Hollywood summer and is certain to please almost all movie fans.

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