Hellboy and Hellboy II Review

15 Jul

On Friday night I went to see “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (wikipedia links will contain spoilers) with Rob and my dad. Seeing that I had never actually seen the first “Hellboy” from start to finish I decided to watch the DVD at work Friday morning. Watching the original movie really got me excited about seeing “Hellboy II” because I really enjoyed the original. Both movies come from comics by Mike Mignola.

The first “Hellboy” starts out on an island off of Scotland where U.S. military personal are searching for evidence of Nazi installment. They find the Nazi’s as they are working with a Russian mystic to open a portal to another dimension. The Nazi’s are trying to wake the “seven gods of chaos” to defeat their enemies. The portal is opened, but then the Americans manage to close it and the mystic is sucked into the other dimension and the military finds a small red devil. They name it Hellboy. The baby Hellboy is VERY cute!

The movie then jumps to many years later with a full grown Hellboy now living and working for the “Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD)” along with fellow supernatural person Abe Sapien. Abe Sapien is a psychic, intelligent water creature. Similar to a merman only with legs like a human.

Much of the first movie revolves around Hellboy and Liz Sheman. Liz Sherman is a “pyrokinetic.” She basically bursts into flames when she becomes angry. We first see her in an insane asylum where she has secluded herself because she cannot control her powers. During the entire movie she seems detached and afraid of her own power. She keeps her head down and seems ashamed of her power. Hellboy spends much of his time trying to show Liz how he feels for her and being jealous of any guy she spends time with.

The Russian mystic returns and captures Hellboy and Liz demanding Hellboy use his powers to fulfill his destiny. He explains that Hellboy’s stone hand was designed to open a gateway to the other dimension. In order to save Liz Hellboy reluctantly agrees and begins to open the locks before an FBI agent reminds him of how his father raised him. As will be expected Hellboy defeats the monster, but Liz’s soul had been taken by the mystic and she laid motionless and dead. Hellboy whispered in her ear and with a kiss she jolts back to life. When asked what he said to revive her Hellboy responds “Hey, you on the other side. Let her go. Because for her I’ll cross over, and then you’ll be sorry.”

Overall, Hellboy had an excellent balance between “B-Movie” comedy and comic book sci-fi. The characters as a whole seemed to balance each other out and there was a good balance between the human FBI agents and the supernaturals. I also thought that we saw a glimpse into Hellboy’s inner self that made him very human, something that seemed to be missing from the second movie.

“Hellboy II: The Golden Army” starts out with Hellboy’s human father telling him a story as a child about Elves and other mythical creatures and how they used to share the Earth with humans until the humans became greedy. The mythical creatures by creating a massive robotic army. This Golden Army nearly leads to the destruction of the human race, but King Balor (King of the Elves and commander of the Golden Army) ended the fight and made a truce with the humans.

The Golden Army can only be controlled by someone wearing a special crown, as such King Balor divides the crown in three pieces and gives one to the humans preventing anyone from using the Army and the Army sits idle for many years. Balor’s son, Prince Nuada, was so infuriated by his fathers decision that he  went into exile for many years plotting his return and the return of the Golden Army.

At the BPRD we find that Liz has had a complete makeover and is now living with Hellboy. We also meet the new leader of the BPRD, Johann Krauss. Johann Krauss is disembodied ectoplasmic spirit with psychic abilities. That means that he is just a gas. He fills a suit that keeps him from dissipating but is able to leave the suit entirely, or just send part of his gas out to take control of inanimate objects. Johann Krauss, as you would expect, has a German accent and is voiced by Seth MacFarlane (creator of “Family Guy“) and steals a number of scenes in this movie.

Prince Nuada steals the human’s piece of the crown and kills his father for the second piece. His twin sister, Prince Nuala, escapes  with the final piece. While she is hiding she runs into Abe where they touch hands and are able to psychical learn about each other. Abe brings her back to the BPRD headquarters where it becomes apparent that Abe is infatuated with the Princess. The Prince uses his connection with his sister to find her and Hellboy is forced to fight with the Prince. During this fight it is revealed that every injury the Prince takes, the Princess does also. They are permanently linked. When Abe tells Hellboy that he cannot hurt the Prince without hurting the Princess he is distracted and takes a spear to the chest just below his heart and is severely hurt. When Abe attempts to surgically remove the spear it only grows closer to the heart.

The four must travel to where the Golden Army is kept to meet with the Prince and get the spear removed. As they go they meet the Angel of Death who reveals that she is waiting specifically for Hellboy and that she is there at every turn in his life. She says that she can save Hellboy but only if Liz wants her to. She warns Liz that Hellboy’s reason for being is the destruction of the Earth and that she will suffer most from his destiny, but Liz must save him.

The peak of the movie comes with the final fight between Hellboy and Prince Nuada. As is my policy I will not spoil how these events take place, but will tell you that the good guys win and save the Earth from the Golden Army.

Overall both movies are very good. I very much prefer the first movie because the second seemed to be too obvious and relied on laughing at itself from time to time. I also didn’t like that they made some major changes without really explaining them. The major change comes in Liz’s character. She seems to be the vocal leader ordering Hellboy around in this movie and has complete control over her powers, yet the last time we saw her she was still struggling with herself. Also, in the first movie she would always burn blue with the fire turning yellow when it began to burn on something or someone else. The second contains only red flames. Another minor change is that Abe’s voice is no longer David Hyde Pierce in the second movie. Not huge, but noticeable. I enjoyed Hyde Pierce in the first and thought he really helped round out the character. They didn’t explain (that I noticed) the amount of time that passed between the first and second movie so I don’t know if Liz’s metamorphosis was a matter of days or years.

Funniest scene in Hellboy II: Abe and Hellboy get drunk (on Tecate) and Hellboy notices that Abe was listening to a love song compilation CD. Abe admitted to be listening to “Can’t Smile Without You” by Barry Manilow. This scene steals the show when first Abe, then Hellboy sing along (and I can see you humming it in your head also!).

I give Hellboy 3 out of 5 and Hellboy II: The Golden Army 2.75 out of 5.

If you haven’t seen the first I recommend a rental now! If you enjoyed the first and enjoyed it, or are a big comic fan I say go out and see Hellboy II!

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2 Responses to “Hellboy and Hellboy II Review”

  1. patrick July 24, 2008 at 2:37 am #

    Hellboy is dependably fun; for sure that director of Hellboy 2 has an amazing imagination, reminds me of his work in Pan’s Labyrinth

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