July 12, 2008

Review: Hellboy 2

Poor Hellboy. He's such a great character. More pulp detective than super hero, he is almost always in over his head but doing his best to get the job done. And he's so charismatic while doing it! The first movie wasn't exactly art house fare but it knew what it was and seemed to enjoy just being a fun action romp that didn't take itself too seriously. Hellboy was, and is, brought to life pitch perfect by Ron Perlman who showed that he can have an entire movie rest on his shoulders after a career as a character actor.

And the first movie was a success. Not a runaway smash hit, but a success nonetheless. You can almost hear the pre-production meetings as you watch Hellboy 2: "So what we'd like is some of that Pan's Labyrinth art style, but without all that dreary drama and with a lot more wire work and explosions! Don't worry, we'll balance it out with more jokes." Hellboy 2 is inarguably gorgeous. In fact, I think del Torro outdoes Pan's Labyrinth in character design and perhaps even cinematography. Ultimately though, Hellboy 2 suffers from the most common sequel syndrome: more. They decided they were going to take the first movie up a notch to eleven and what was a neat little fun action movie turned into a special effects extravaganza with a fight scene every five minutes broken up by mostly funny but pretty forced humor bits. Ron Pearlman is still great, but Selma Blair gets a bunch more meat to her part and chokes hard. She couldn't be more wooden if she put down roots, but even then she's out acted by the Giving Tree.

It's hard to admit that I'm as disappointed as I am about this movie. It's not what I'd call bad. After all, the plot dragged but it made sense and though the action scenes were done well but were just far too plentiful. Sequels don't have to be the first movie on steroids. It's ok to just tell the next chapter of the character's lives and tell it well. I *want* to hear about Hellboy's continuing adventures but I don't necessarily need to see every slow motion punch he's ever thrown.


Unknown said...

Is it just me, or is your line about Selma Blair choking on too much meat funny in a dirty way?

MosBen said...

Oops, late night accidental lewd humor.

sarah said...


I watched legally blonde last night & selma blair can't act in that movie. which made Neal & I try to think of a movie where she can act...not just look sullen, but act. None came to mind.

Unknown said...

You should watch Cruel Intentions. Not because Selma Blair is good in it... she isn't. But because Sarah Michelle Gellar is incredibly hot.

MosBen said...

I will attest to that. Sarah Michelle Gellar is totally hot in that movie.

LameAim said...

I enjoyed Hellboy 2, though your comments are definitely warranted. The comedy felt a little off balance in spots but I appreciated it as a whole. I imagine it'll occupy the same space in my DVD collection that Constantine does... semi-decent story, uneven cast/acting, but goddamn its gorgeous!

Also, Cruel Intentions is one of only two Sarah Michelle Gellar projects I've seen where my eyes don't go directly to her nose. Kudos given for that feat alone. (FYI, the other one was Simply Irresistible and my eyes alternated between the ceiling and the floor...)