14 July 2008

Hell, boy

I've been puzzling over the single best word to describe "Hellboy II: The Golden Army." Best I can do is "sumptuous." So many gorgeous moments. It's like the film version of the old AD&D "Monster Manual." Trolls, earth elementals, dark elves, a nasty gang of fairies, and of course the big red demon with the ground-off horns.

What's nice about this film, as walls are smashed, giant guns are blowing stuff up and swords are crossing, never lost is the fact that this film is about life (I'd say "humanity," but that's clearly not the case, given the rogues gallery of creatures). It's an extension of the first "Hellboy," which pondered what it is that makes a man a man. But it's better than that first movie. More imaginative, and more powerful, if less funny, and certainly something to give Tolkien fans hope for with his coming adaptation of "The Hobbit."

I was never a "Blade" fan. And I wanted to like "Mimic," but didn't (Mmmmm, Mira Sorvino). "Cronos" was good, but overrated. While this new Hellboy film is fantastic, it's still del Toro's quieter, Spanish language films — "The Devil's Backbone" and "Pan's Labyrinth" — that stand as his masterpieces.

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