Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

I was hoping to love this movie, and I didn't. I mean, I liked it, I think. But I didn't love it unreservedly. And now that I'm home and thinking about it, there are more and more things that are bugging me about it. This is going to be one of those things where I talk about things that happened in the movie. So if you haven't seen it yet and that sort of thing bugs you, you should probably stop reading.

Anyway, take the ending. After the plot gets dealt with, Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz, and the ectoplasmic Nazi file out of the cave, and then they all tell Jeffrey Tambor to take this job and shove it. Take that, The Man! And the ectoplasmic Nazi (with the voice of the fish from American Dad) references his ghost penis. The weird thing is that there has been no foreshadowing of this. At all. I guess we're just supposed to hate Tambor on principle because he's an authority figure? But I didn't even know these guys hated their job, and then they're all of a sudden walking out. I'm surprised they didn't close the movie by high-fiving in freeze-frame. And in one scene, the ectoplasmic Nazi is an officious German who insists that everyone follow all the rules, and then he's suddenly all "Voo-hoo! Let's steal a plane!" The whole thing comes out of nowhere, and I found it a really unsatisfying ending.

My theory is that this ending was tacked on after people found the actual ending of the plot kind of a downer, what with Abe Sapien's newfound love suddenly dying like that. That bugged me too. When a movie sets up a dilemma (Hellboy must defeat teh prince, but if he hurts the prince, the princess also gets hurt! What will he do?) and then resolves it (answer: pummel the prince, but not kill him, thus saving the princess!) it feels like a cheat to immediately kill off the princess anyway. She could have just cut her own hamstrings at the beginning of the battle, thus crippling the prince and saving us all a fight scene. By the way, have you noticed that ever since The Matrix, you can't have a battle without someone leaning way back in a limbo pose to avoid something and then running along a wall? I guess maybe Abe quit because he was mad that he's not allowed to have a love interest?

Anyway, there were a couple of other scenes that bugged me (the introduction with an annoying kid who was far less interesting than Ron Perlman and the drinking that went on forever), but I'm not sure they made me hate the movie. I really loved the sets, for example. Rhias and I kept nudging each other and pointing to shoggoths in the background. And both the library and the troll market were fascinating. I might actually have preferred this movie if the main characters had been removed so that I could get a better look at the stuff in the background. And I liked a lot of the little things, like the line "I'm not a kid! I'm a tumor!"

I just wish I liked the movie itself more, you know?


DC Food Blog said...

I hate the fact that none of the good guys, save Hellboy and Nazi ectoplasm possessing a Golden Army-bot gets to throw a punch. Seriously, you have a character like Liz who is pyrokinetic and the only thing she gets to to is melt the crown? Even Storm from the first X-men movie got more to do.

patrick said...

Hellboy is dependably fun; for sure that director has an amazing imagination, reminded me a lot of his work in Pan's Labyrinth