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Three Austin Geeks Rave About HELLBOY 2!!! They're not plants, they're Elementals!

Hey folks, Harry here... I haven't had much sleep recently - given that Convergence had me dozing at 5am, 7am, 6am and 4am on consecutive nights - with early days after each.... and today was no different - getting about 5 hours, and now it's 4:35am and I'm just getting home from this wondrous night. I'll work to compose my thoughts about the film later today, but HELLBOY 2 is all at once joyous, wondrous, stunningly beautiful, melancholic and funny... and somehow the tones all work together. There's just one scene that felt odd to me, but I'll talk about it in my full review. Suffice to say, I'm heading to see it again Friday - mainly so my sis and nephew can see it, but also because I missed a key sequence due to my ass dilating to deposit a few fecal rocks and waiting on a guy to get out of the stall. So let's get to these fan reviews... Up first, we have - The Beef

I remember two years ago when all the talk about PAN'S LABYRINTH was spreading around and how brilliant it was, that the focus of all the praises seemed to be placed on the fantastic elements, of which there turned out to be a fairly minimal amount in the film overall. Everyone was talking about how incredibly imagined the fantasy world was and how beautiful and frightening the Fawn and Pale Man were, and the talk really got the expectations I had steered in the wrong direction. The film IS excellent, but the word of mouth going around was that it was a great fantasy film, and yet there is very little visual fantasy flare in the picture. HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY is in many ways the film I was expecting to see when I walked into PAN'S LABYRINTH. This go around Hellboy and his colleague of freaks, Abe Sapien (The man-fish with a keen intellect) and Liz Sherman (The flame girl with the key to Big Red's heart) are on the hunt for a prince in the hidden world of mythical creatures who is hellbent on starting a war against mankind. The story goes, as told to Hellboy as a young demon child on Christmas day, that a long time ago a war was waged between mankind and another realm of creatures. In the process an indestructible army of soldiers were built by the creatures and were controlled by the Woodland King. The King opted to end the bloodshed and called for a truce between the two worlds, and in the process chose to split the crown which controlled the Golden Army into thirds, with one piece going to the realm of mankind and the creature realm retaining the other two pieces. While the crown is incomplete the Golden Army will remain dormant and peace would exist between the two civilizations. Now, with the Prince of the Woodland King dissatisfied with the creatures' place in the modern world he aims to ressurect the Golden Army and put an end to the truce. The first thing that really grabbed my attention while comparing this film to the first HELLBOY was a real sense of family between the three lead characters. The first film focused on Hellboy's father/son relationship with the professor, with Liz and Abe feeling like colorful secondary characters. In this installment there's a more apparent kinship between the three, helped along by the fact that Hellboy and Liz are actually an item and are in the stages of learning each other's faults and getting on each's nerves. Abe, playing the mediator to the couple, is also given a hefty amount of material which is a much deserved reward for Doug Jones. Having spent the majority of his career behind masks or suffocated in plaster his character really has an arc for Doug to sink his teeth into, and he pulls off a touching performance without using the expressiveness of anything above his lower lip. There's even an uncommon level of depth given to the Prince Nuada character in terms of villains, because it's rather difficult to label him as an actual villain. He's really an extremist willing to do whatever's necessary to fight for what he believes to be right, and it just so happens those beliefs conflict with Hellboy's profession. In his own mind Nuada's actions are justifiable which really grabs sympathy from the viewer, even though he resides on the side wanting to kill us all off. I found myself siding with his beliefs in fact, but disagreeing with his methods (but only because he would want me dead). There's also a more developed level of playfulness in this picture over the last one. The jokes, of which there are many, seem to flow more naturally and peak at a sequence where Hellboy and Abe share some brewskies while venting about female troubles while listening to Barry Manilow. The introduction of Johann Krauss, a German ectoplasmic smoke being, as the new team member will also invoke many a laugh from the audience thanks in no small part to the voice talents of Seth McFarlane. Lastly, I was quite impressed with the action sequences of HELLBOY II, and I think this may be where I noticed the biggest improvement in Del Toro's filmmaking cannon. With HELLBOY and BLADE II being the only two films Del Toro has done that involve any hightened action sequences I really noticed a much more fluid fight choreography in this film, and I think some better editing to the action sequences overall making them feel more lively. I didn't think Ron Perlman toting around a gigantic hand could make a more active and enjoyable fight with Luke Goss (Prince Nuada) than Wesley Snipes against the same actor (Goss played Nomak the head Reaper in BLADE II), but the almost sixty year old Perlman benefited from a more elaborate set piece, a choreography willing to utilize it to its fullest, and a camera that captured it all much cleaner. All these points being made, the real star of this show is without question the imagination that went into the sets of the creature realm, and the creature designs. Looking at the different beasts in HELLBOY II was like, for me, looking at the lovechild of Stan Winston doing a Clive Barker project. The creatures are incomparable in their odd originality, and the last time I can recall seeing a similar effort was Clive Barker's NIGHTBREED. Each monster is a species unto itself, and none of them resemble each other in the slightest. The troll market set and its inhabitants will probably be remembered amongst the more creative accomplishments in fantasy film. HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY is a lot more of what made the first film good with a helpful dose of the stuff that makes Del Toro's smaller and more personal films great. There's a sharp focus on character, and some troublesome questions that arise more than once during the movie. There are certain elements and decisions that may come in to play in the event of a HELLBOY III, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing how they play out. Thanks, The Beef

Wow - sounds pretty awesome, eh? Well it is! Here's Ben with the next look...

Hey Harry, Ben here, thanks again for helping me get into the screening, you helped make it one of the best nights of my life! Thought I would send along my review to help in any way I can to get as much attention toward this wonderful film as I can...(not that it needs it) SPOILERS: Hellboy 2 is a fantastic film, pure and simple. It has balls, it has heart, it will make you cry, cheer, and probably get a boner. It's awesome like Ninjas are awesome. That's the short version... HB II starts off with a wonderfully realized, and unique prologue explaining the origin of the Golden Army and the fairy worlds war with mankind. A stirring sequence realized with beautiful marionettes and Danny Elfman's muscular, angry and beautiful score sets the stakes for the rest of the film, setting up both the importance of the Golden Army in the world of men, and Hellboy's possible future connection to it. The young Hellboy was a sight to see, very cool...we get to see the purity, sweetness and closeness he had with his father and it's simply awesome. The opening credits are masterful, and feature a doom-flavored Elfman epic against the clock-work fire-gears of the Goblins as they create the Hellboy 2 titles in flame and steel. Moving on, we are introduced to Nuada, who is played to perfection by the always great Luke Goss. Wink is fricking amazing, and never once did I doubt his reality in the film. The opening scene in the auction house is powerful and hilarious and sets up Liz and HB's relationship struggles for a nice payoff at the end. Abe gets more screen time and Doug Jones does wonders, not only voicing the character brilliantly, but creating a physical brilliance that tops even his first performance as the fish-stick. Many incredible set pieces follow, including the amazing Nuada kills everyone scene, the Troll Market (which is as good as you hear, even better actually), many great scenes with McFarlane stealing the film as the stiff, hilarious and oh, so German Johan, and a finale that is the equivalent of freebasing millennium falcon dust whilst on a Hawkman rocket cycle listening to Slayer. There are many scenes that will make you laugh your ass off, a few that should make you cry if you have any heart at all, and an exciting glimpse of the stylistic and visionary genius that Del Toro will be giving us in the Hobbit. (Wait until you see the Irish Goblin and the underground city, you will be wishing the Hobbit came out tomorrow) I got to meet Mike Mignola who was awesome, Del Toro, and Doug Jones who were frankly 2 of THE nicest, most classy people I have EVER met. A night for the ages! Thanks Harry, Guillermo, Doug, Mike and to the Drafthouse! Ben

Lastly - we have The Brain Machine

I'll keep this short and sweet. This movie kicks all sorts of ass. It is beautifully made, laugh out loud funny, and I can't believe that Universal wrote the check for not only every dream Guillermo Del Toro had for it, but my dinner too. Have I been paid off to tell you it's a fun night at the movies? You're damn right. Call me a plant if you want, but Hellboy 2 delivers. If you liked the first film, you are going to have a great time. This movie feels, looks and acts like the best of sequels. It takes what worked for the first one, and steps it up two or three notches. You can see where every penny of the budget was spent. It was spent on making a movie that geeks will love from beginning to end. The sets, and monsters on display here are wilder that you can imagine, and a true joy to experience. Guillermo Del Toro is unique in his ability achieve the visual acrobatics on display here. Yes, there is CGI used - of course. But there is also a lot of truly great puppetry, and animatronics used to perfect effect. The way fantasy film making should be done. So many directors today rely on CGI - It becomes a crutch. Here you can feel the reality of the monsters, and their environments. There is no real need to go into story specifics. It's Hellboy. There are good guys, and really nasty bad guys who want to destroy our world as we know it. Hellboy kicks their asses. If that's a spoiler - so be it. We have the introduction of a few new characters - Johann Kraus - an ectoplasmic entity that is truly fantastic to watch, we see Hellboy as an adolescent, we see Hellboy and Abe Sapien drunk on Tecate singing a Barry Manilow song (WTF?? - it is funny as hell) and more original creatures than I have ever seen in a film - ever. The film was followed by a very funny, and informative Q&A with Hellboy writer and creator Mike Mignola, Del Toro, and creature master Doug Jones. I have to say, Guillermo Del Toro is one of the funniest guys I have ever heard talk about film. He has a masterful use of the word "Fuck" and has created a frightfull drink called a "Muppet" that was shared by The Alamo Drafthouse's Tim League and another (un)fortunate audience member. They will have a sweet hangover tomorrow - and enjoy every minute of it. In the Q&A, Del Toro touched on many aspects of the filming of Hellboy 2, scenes that never made it into the film (an extended underwater battle with Abe), and the god auful scent of the set durring the "Troll Market" sequence (a truly magical scene that alone deserves you $10). Del Toro also hinted at the fact that Bruce Campbell could be appearing in Hellboy 3 as Lobster Johnson - depending on this weeks box office, of course. For those video gamers out there, Bruce apparently does voice Lobster Johnson if you are fortunate to unlock that character at the end of the game... very cool. Unfortunately, not a lot of Hobbit news. Casting has yet to be decided. I was surprised how few Hobbit questions were asked... almost as though people did not want to jinx anything. Thank you AICN, The Alamo Drafthouse, Universal, Doug Jones, Mike Mignola and of course Guillermo Del Toro. It was a truly fun, classy evening. The Hobbit is in fine hands. If you have any doubts, they will vanish after seeing Hellyboy 2. A truly great continuation. Bottom line is - If you were a fan of the first Hellboy movie - you will not be disapointed. Go see it this weekend so we can get more! Bring on Hellboy 3-D! I am The Brain Machine.
Readers Talkback
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  • July 9, 2008, 4:57 a.m. CST

    Sounds Ok


    Hope I like it

  • July 9, 2008, 5:03 a.m. CST

    Does this mean...

    by m_reporter

    ... that if we do get Hellboy 3 it will be based on Conqueror Worm?<p> That would be awesome, one of my favorite Hellboy stories and Bruce is an awesome choice for Lobster Johnson.

  • July 9, 2008, 5:04 a.m. CST

    I thought that said "Brian Austin Green"

    by tonagan

    I wonder how he liked Hellboy 2?

  • July 9, 2008, 5:11 a.m. CST need 8 hours of sleep

    by bacci40

    not sure if the docs told you this, but part of any good weight loss program is normal sleep patterns...and of course hellboy 2 rox...cuz the suits were totally hands off on this project, and del toro really is in mignola's head...this may not be the blockbuster that dk will be, but there is no question that this vision will outlast dk as a true piece of cinematic art

  • July 9, 2008, 5:11 a.m. CST


    by DURANGO66

  • July 9, 2008, 5:22 a.m. CST

    Why, oh, Why!

    by ElsieZiiippp

    Are most of these sorts of reviews written by people with no concept of how to use the English language correctly?

  • July 9, 2008, 5:25 a.m. CST

    Harry you just green lit the TBers collective scream

    by Xiphos_2

    Of Plant! You know that right?

  • July 9, 2008, 5:25 a.m. CST

    Cool as Balls

    by redfist

    Will hereby be replaced by "freebasing millennium falcon dust whilst on a Hawkman rocket cycle listening to Slayer." chest bumping fat kids.

  • July 9, 2008, 5:44 a.m. CST

    can't wait for friday

    by palewook

  • July 9, 2008, 5:44 a.m. CST

    I bet Brian Austin Green...

    by mrfan

    would have loved Hellboy 2 tonagan. Still waiting for his review.

  • July 9, 2008, 6:15 a.m. CST

    "I'll talk about it in my full review."

    by Trazadone

    "HELLBOY 2 is all at once joyous, wondrous, stunningly beautiful, melancholic and funny... and somehow the tones all work together. There's just one scene that felt odd to me" Harry, that's all you need to say. Don't bother with the 10,000 word essay. That's a good enough review. I'm glad you liked it.

  • July 9, 2008, 6:43 a.m. CST

    Hellboy is one of my fiancee's favorite movies

    by Magic Rat

    yeah, and that totally shocked both her and I. She was expecting to hate it and walked out of the theater in love with Hellboy and Abe. She's really looking forward to this one.

  • July 9, 2008, 7:09 a.m. CST

    when will i be famous?

    by Mr_X whatever happened to his brother?

  • July 9, 2008, 7:26 a.m. CST

    Official 5 min animated prequel to movie here:

    by Curious Jorge

  • July 9, 2008, 7:38 a.m. CST

    Yeah but does the guy standing next to you

    by Series7

    Give a shit about Hellboy? Bibbity bobbity bo, everyone who's ever seen the words Aint-it-cool-news likes Hellboy. But will it be a hit, or a Speed Racer? I'm just saying, because I really only converse with one other non geek and everyone else I know doesn't seem to care about Hellboy. Even my girlfriend who loved Pan about a million times more then I did, doesn't even care about this.....but they all want to see this batman fellow? It'll be interesting to see how Hellboy plays out with the audience. Check that huge risk number 2 for the summer.

  • July 9, 2008, 7:44 a.m. CST

    with one other geek*

    by Series7

    outside of this site of course. Man that came off as a huge Freudian slip.

  • July 9, 2008, 7:58 a.m. CST

    Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit!

    by hyperboycomics

    That's some cool news!

  • July 9, 2008, 8:02 a.m. CST

    Saw HB2, loved it, much more than HB1.

    by MadMo

    Saw it Tues, 7/8 in Dallas. Great movie. I loved it. I enjoyed HB1, but only so-so. HB2 is so much better and was a blast. The audience seemed to love it, too.

  • July 9, 2008, 8:04 a.m. CST

    You got that right, bacci40!

    by MadMo

    I totally agree, this movie felt like the suits were cut out of the loop & GDT was allowed to work his magic.

  • July 9, 2008, 8:32 a.m. CST

    Selma Blair is quite the piece

    by Slippy

    That is all.

  • July 9, 2008, 8:45 a.m. CST


    by Jonah Echo

    It's already been a really great summer for movies, at least in my opinion(Ive skipped Wanted, Hancock, Zohan, Guru, etc) and HB2, Dark Knight and X-Files are on my most anticipated list. I'm even looking forward to see Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3-D this weekend, in a double feature with HB2.

  • July 9, 2008, 8:49 a.m. CST

    did you guys know...?

    by dingus khan

    ...that guillermo del toro is a visionary director???!!!!

  • July 9, 2008, 8:52 a.m. CST

    by Series7

    I think your giving Nolan WAY too much early credit. GDT has never made anything as boring and bland as Insomnia, which was a basterdisation remake of a forign movie. Also I think you've left out all of GDT older better Spanish work. Movies like Mimic/Blade2/Hellboy Uno you can tell where all very studio handled, well not Blade 2 (which is not mediocre in any form). But it wasn't until studios saw how well Pan was percieved by the Oscars (3 of them) and realized that they should give GDT free reign on a big budget movie. Personally I don't see a point comparing the two, except that they are good examples of foreign directors who came to Hollywood and continued to make good movies instead of crap like Woo and Mikael Håfström. I don't think I would put either of them in Peter Jackson category yet (who has never made a bad movie), while Nolan has Insomnia and GDT has Mimic. I just think it would be stupid not to see Hellboy in theaters, if not just to get more money to go to the Hobbit, lets face it the better Hellboy 2 does the better chance of more money goes into the Hobbit.

  • July 9, 2008, 9:04 a.m. CST

    Jonah Echo

    by Series7

    Dude, if you didn't see U23D in theaters, well then I feel sorry for you. I understand why you would skip it, I couldn't convince ANYone to go with me. But the use of 3D in that movie was amazing, and so cool. Hopefully journey will be just as fun, I hate when people see a movie like Journey on the tele and go... I'll wait for DVD or TBS to show it. Its amazing how little people care for the movie going experience these days, though everyone and there mom is talking about seeing Dark Knight in theaters....though not realizing about the whole IMAX part of it. Maybe its just the people I work with, but man people just don't care about movies.

  • July 9, 2008, 9:24 a.m. CST

    Jesus, Harry.

    by jimmay

    Please never tell me again, at least not in such graphic detail, of the operations of your sphincter.

  • July 9, 2008, 9:26 a.m. CST

    Will "Hellboy II" Break Universal's Summer Streak?

    by Mr. Profit

    Sara Marshall - Hit. Baby Mama - Hit. The Strangers - Hit. The Incredible Hulk - Hit. Wanted - Hit. With "Hellboy" it SHOULD be a huge hit. But I don't know if the audience is there. The trailer was pretty effective. As for the movie? I think it's a fantastically directed movie with good vision (you can tell Del Toro let loose with his imagination) and great fantasy/visual effects that reminded me of old school stuff like The Dark Crystal. I hope it finds the audience it deserves. But if it doesn't, it won't be because it's a bad movie. Because it isn't. It's quite good. It looks more expensive than most of the Summer movies that were released. <p>And no they didn't buy me dinner. (What a stupid thing to include in a review anyway?)</P>

  • July 9, 2008, 9:32 a.m. CST

    Peter Jackson made a bad movie...

    by Mr. Profit

    Have we forgotton King Kong so soon? That movie was just FAIL from start to finish. Bloated. Foolish. And it seemed like they spent too much time working on the Kong FX and making a realistic version of old time New York that they forgot to hire good actors and have better FX on the island. When the old dinosaurs of Jurassic Park beat your new school CGI you got problems. And the bug sequence was ridiculous. So yeah, in a battle between Del Toro and PJ, I'll take Del Toro. Let's hope his Hobbit isn't 45 minutes too long like Return of the King was.

  • July 9, 2008, 9:32 a.m. CST


    by the_desolate_son exhibit a similarly poor grasp of said language. What is it they say about people who live in glass houses?

  • July 9, 2008, 9:47 a.m. CST

    "A truly magical scene that alone deserves your $10"

    by WerePlatypus

    It's not a review. . . it's a sales pitch. Now I HAVE to go see it! Thank you Brain Machine. Thank you for using JUST the right words to make me get up off my ass and go spend my ten bucks. I think that just because you said hellboy "DELIVERS," I'm going to tip the ugly concession wench and extra fifty cents.

  • July 9, 2008, 10 a.m. CST


    by The Brain Machine

    You could go see Hancock instead. There is more imagination in that one scene than the majority of Hollywood bile. Why So Serious?

  • July 9, 2008, 10:24 a.m. CST

    My favorite line. Ever.

    by alanmoore

    "like freebasing millennium falcon dust whilest riding on a Hawkman rocket cycle and listening to Slayer." You, sir, are a God.

  • July 9, 2008, 12:19 p.m. CST


    by fiester

    What's in it?

  • July 9, 2008, 1:36 p.m. CST

    HellBoy II is so good, Harry almost shit himself..

    by Rue The Day

  • July 9, 2008, 3:18 p.m. CST


    by Rando Calrisian

    Read Harry's review. The part about half a glass of Tequila - that's the "Muppet" There was video takes last night, I would expect to see it up on The Alamo Drafthouse's website soon. Maybe Harry will post a link. <br> <br> Very funny.

  • July 9, 2008, 3:30 p.m. CST

    I was there last night.

    by Rando Calrisian

    Great Sci-Fi Action Comedy. It ain't perfect - but it's fun. Batman will destroy it next week, so if you like this kind of movie - it's worth supporting. <br> <br> I for one think we're having a pretty great summer movie season. With some more great flicks on the way. It's been a long time since we can say there were at least 6 SOLID genre films. This one is on the list. Maybe Hollywood is finally paying attention. Probably not. <br> <br> I was there with my wife. We both thought HB2 was better than the first one. There was a 9 year old girl with her parents next to us, and she seemed to love it. She was jumping up and down at the end of the movie - so if your young un's aren't easily scared - it would be ok. It is kind of intense at the beginning. Your kid will probably be turned off the Tooth Fairy for ever. <br> <br> I liken Hellboy to Ghostbusters and Men in Black. the sequels to those films were a huge let down to me. This one was a lot of fun. I would gladly see more Hellboy.

  • July 9, 2008, 3:36 p.m. CST

    Why do people have to make it a competition between Helboy, Iron

    by Roninmerc

    Shouldn't we simply be happy that there has been a bunch of quality and entertaining geek movies released lately? This summer has been amazing for comic and fantasy film fans. Wall-E was great, so was Iron Man and Kung Fu Panda. I didn't love Hulk but I certainly enjoyed it. I have no doubt that both Hellboy and TDK will be good. Obviously some movies are better than others and The Dark Knight will probably be the best but that shouldn't take away from Hellboy.

  • July 9, 2008, 3:47 p.m. CST

    I agree Roninmerc

    by Rando Calrisian

    I think the problem is there have been so many good genre flicks this summer, some of them will excape being seen in the theater by many people who might have seen them if there was a dry spell for genre films. <br> <br> It seems there has been at least one new comic book or genre feature out every week for the last month and a half. That's nuts. I love it. <br> <br> I didn't mean to say that Batman would destroy HB2 next week because it will be better (though it might) - but the audience for TDK is so much larger than for Hellboy. It is going to be a juggernaut. HB is cool in his own right. <br> <br> I try to see them all and just have fun.

  • July 9, 2008, 4:08 p.m. CST

    It's Awesome Like.......

    by DoogieHowitzer

    Ninjas are awesome. Hmm will it really give me a boner? Wouldn't that make it awesome like Viagra is awesome? I plan on seeing it this weekend, but I hope it is neither awesome like Ninjas nor Viagra, but awesome like LOTR or StarWars.

  • July 9, 2008, 4:49 p.m. CST

    The Brendan Fraser 3D experience...

    by andrew coleman

    I forgot that was coming out. That movie will probably bomb but I shall make it and HB2 a double feature... Now which should I see first?

  • July 9, 2008, 5:14 p.m. CST

    that one wrote...

    by seekshelter

    "Hellboy 2 is a fantastic film, pure and simple. " under his spoiler section.... ???

  • July 9, 2008, 6:29 p.m. CST

    Hellboy 1 was only ok

    by OB1KNBI

    It's hard for me to know if Harry likes it because it really is a good movie or is it because he's friends with the director. I still to this date remember reading his review of Blade II and thinking that movie was going to be off the charts amazing, and walking away thinking it was really only and ok movie. Same thing with the first Hellboy. It wasn't a terrible movie to be sure, but it wasn't all that great either. IF, and it's a big if at that, I see Hellboy 2 this weekend, it's going to be based more on more than it's going to be reviews on this website. I'll be stunned if a negative review of the movie pops up on this site outside of the talkbacks. I'm still trying to figure out how "Journey to the Center of the Earth" has gotten such high marks on Rottentomatoes. If anyone can clue me in on that one, I'd love to hear it, because the movie looks like complete shit to me!! Granted the critics are saying only see it in 3D, but still...

  • July 9, 2008, 6:30 p.m. CST

    Holy Crap, Lois!

    by Billy Goat

    This is worse than that time I fought the Golden Army!

  • July 10, 2008, 1:43 a.m. CST

    "Plant!" posters are balls

    by deanbarry

    They make me want to stick my head up the anus of an elephant! Plant! I'd like to plant one on you...goddammit! As for dissing on King Kong and Peter Jackson. Puh Leese...That is just plain wrong! I maybe the only person in the world who enjoyed the hell out of that movie. And I'm damn proud.

  • July 10, 2008, 2:35 a.m. CST

    Lobster Johnson?

    by OswaldWasAPussy

    How am I the only one to comment on Bruce Campbell maybe doing Lobster Johnson in HB III? WTF is wrong with you all? That would rock harder than Big Red's right hand!