July 11, 2008 Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Studio: Universal Pictures Rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and some language
A denizen of the underworld fights to save humanity, proving you can't judge a book by its cover.
Coming off of the moderate success of the first movie in this series, Ron Perlman returns as the title character in the big budget "Hellboy II: The Golden Army."
The story revolves around the mythical creatures of the Earth declaring war on humanity. Elves, trolls and monsters say they're making the move in order to save the planet.
That leaves Hellboy and his teammates from the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense to take a stand. They want to head off any potential bloodshed and restore the peace. But elf Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) is determined to awaken the invincible Golden Army by collecting three pieces of a crown used to control the mammoth machine warriors. If he's successful, mankind will fall.
Director Guillermo del Toro goes all out to create a fantastic and visually marvelous world. The creatures he introduces spring from the deepest part of the imagination. The best part includes a trip through the "Troll Market," which brings back memories of the famous "Cantina" sequence from the original "Star Wars" movie.
Perlman is once again perfect as the hero. He's a demonspawn rejected by two worlds who is gruff, rough and surprisingly sensitive and funny. Despite his fearsome appearance, Hellboy has a heart of gold. He loves cats, loves his girlfriend and his buddies and does his best to do the right thing. But Liz (Selma Blair) has more going for her than just being Hellboy's girl. Her power and control over fire make her a formidable and powerful foe.
Joined by the amphibious Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) and the ectoplasmic Johann Krauss (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), this team is entertaining to watch as it journeys into the realm of the supernatural.
But the movie has more going for it than just a snazzy look. The story presents some great questions about good guys, bad guys and shades of gray. Plus, there are two memorable moments where characters have to make tough choices. The decisions they come up with are believable and very human, even if they're not what a more traditional "hero" might do.
Nice performances, a solid story and beautiful pictures. That adds up to a winner in my book.
On my rating scale, "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" hits a Home Run.
THE SIMPSONS Tonight at 8:00 PM The Saga of Carl; Dangers on a Train
When Homer, Moe, Lenny and Carl win the lottery, Carl takes off to Iceland with all the money; Marge mistakenly signs up for a website for married people looking for extramarital relationships