Hellboy II

July 20th, 2008 by Potato

I just got back from seeing Hellboy II, and we had a terrible time. Granted, part of that was not the movie’s fault: my pop was warm and flat, with no ice. Granted, I occasionally order it with no ice so it’s sweeter and doesn’t hurt my teeth, but then it’s usually at least starting cold or at least cool. This was like body temperature. Ick. The popcorn also wasn’t very good, and the theatre’s A/C didn’t quite seem up to the task of a Batman opening weekend — oh, and of course, we had actually gone to see Batman, but even 2 hours before the show they were sold out. D’oh.

So starting off in a foul mood, Hellboy II didn’t really serve as the fun-filled action pick-me-up we were hoping for. It just dragged. And I like good pacing and long movies. Normally, I’d try to do a full review, try to find the good bits, what could be built upon for a director’s cut, but Wayfare came out of it saying “that was the second worst movie I’ve ever seen” so I don’t really feel the need to even try for this one. There were parts, a number of parts, where I was bored. The effects were good, the acting was good, the cinematography was ok, the dialog was not terrible — but it just never came together. It wasn’t trainwreck bad, it was just… empty.

Don’t bother with it — if Batman’s sold out, try Wall-E or go home.

Edit: Ok, I’ve been talking with a few people who did like Hellboy II, so here’s a bit more about what I didn’t like. First up, it was visually stunning, I’ve got to give it that. The creature design was something else. But nothing that happened really ever seemed to matter. Right at the beginning, there was the bit about “what happens if someone does challenge the crown?” and we knew as soon as we saw Nuala, that that’s what would happen (it was a surprise that Hellboy himself ended up being of royal blood and challenging, but that was a strange, minor twist that just added a fight sequence, and didn’t really break the spell of predetermination for me). Once we figured out that she and her brother shared some crazy link, her suicide also became pretty obvious. But in a more general way, in almost every scene, nothing seemed to really matter. The guys in the suits got eaten alive right at the beginning, and Hellboy and crew just didn’t seem to care. At all. They found a troll market full of all kinds of weird creatures, and it was just like “whatever”. Perhaps they needed someone in the role of “outsider” to help the audience relate to the strangeness on screen, another John Myers. The outsider is often little more than a gimmick, but unfortunately they just weren’t able to get any kind of gravity into their situations as it was. Even when fighting the tree-god whilst holding the baby, Hellboy was all like “hey, relax, I do this every day” — there was no sense of peril, no weight to the action. The most human, meaningful scene seemed to be the drunken karaoke one, the one where the characters seemed to be most life-like and actually cared about what was happening. It was at that point where I sort of said “ok, this is some bullshit right here, that this cheesy scene that should be the best one yet, when it should be the first one up for the cutting-room floor if the running time needed to be shortened.” Not that it matters in an action movie, but there was also zero chemistry between big Red and Liz. She spent almost the whole movie being angry and sullen with him, not exactly endearing.

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