Big budget blockbusters these days are playing out less like adventure stories on steroids, than a mass murderer’s wet dream, and Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army seems to be no exception. So with the continued existence of an equally belligerent humankind at risk when the mystical world in a parallel universe goes into homicidal revenge mode, my instinctual response to all the mandatory bloody mayhem as usual is, sorry to say, who cares?
Galloping along at its attention deficit disorder pace, Hellboy II’s details are flung at the audience on perpetual fast forward, stopping briefly along the way for the usual overly efficient endless succession of blood splattering, bone crunching mini-climaxes, in addition to funny punchlines that distract more than enhance. And as the plot drifts around the comical carnage in between the cracks, we learn that Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) is mad as hell at the human race for ruining the planet. After taking down his own dad, the peacenik king of the mythical world, the prince conspires to assemble and deploy his Golden Army against humanity.
Enter Hellboy (Ron Perlman), that ranting, beer guzzling gym body with castrated horns and receding hairline, to protect humankind against this assault, and in league with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense in Trenton, New Jersey. At the same time, Hellboy’s main pyrokinetic squeeze Liz (Selma Blair), is all fired up in more ways than one, when she discovers she’s been knocked up by the horny dude minus his horns. Not to worry, the incidental baby daddy won’t let pending fatherhood cramp his style, as he goes toe to toe at hyper-decibel noise rackets with assorted nightmarish creatures too numerous too mention in a mere movie review.
Del Toro’s sequel followup adaptation of the Mike Mignola comix four years later is infused with the creative guru’s unique imaginary world blending the fantastical and frightening. But his main competition here is not so much with an antagonistic magical species, as with the special effects whiz kids back in Hollywood who simply upstage any bid for engaging or original storytelling. Not to mention that following a theatrical rendezvous with Hellboy II, the post-traumatic stressed out audience may feel more beaten over the head and battle fatigued than the movie villains.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
DVD Features: Commentary with Director Guillermo del Toro; Feature Commentary with Cast Members Jeffrey Tambor, Selma Blair and Luke Goss; Set Visits: Seven mini documentaries provide viewers with unlimited access to the Hellboy II: The Golden Army set; Troll Market Tour with Guillermo del Toro: Using sketches and backstage video, del; Toro walks the audience through the creation of one of the film’s most distinctive sets, the legendary Troll Market; Animated Zinco Epilogue Comic; Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary by Director Guillermo del Toro.
Blu-ray And 3-Disc Special Edition DVD Additional In-Depth Features:
*Prologue: A special introduction to the DVD from director Guillermo del Toro.
Pre-Production Vault: Director’s Notebook: Exclusive interviews, image scans and text from Guillermo del Toro’s personal notebook; Concept Art Gallery: Original designs and concepts for Hellboy II: The Golden Army’s costumes and sets. Hellboy: In Service Of The Demon: Over two hours of footage that takes fans into the creation of this film. Production Workshop: Professor Broom’s Puppet Theatre: A special look inside the opening sequence of the film including storyboards and animatics. Image Gallery Featuring Teaser Banners, One-Sheets and Poster Explorations DVD Rom: Hellboy II: The Golden Army Script
Exclusive Blu-ray Hi-Def Bonus Interactive Features:
BD-Live My Chat: Using your internet-connected player, host a text chat with your friends who also own Hellboy II: The Golden Army on Blu-ray(TM) Hi-Def while you watch the movie in synchronization. Sneak Peek of Wanted: Watch never-before seen footage from the explosive action movie Wanted, starring Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy. My Scenes Sharing: Show your friends your favorite scenes from Hellboy II: The Golden Army via BD-Live. Comic Book Builder: Create an original downloadable Hellboy adventure by selecting still images from the movie, dropping them into comic book layouts and adding text. The result can be e-mailed to friends or published via BD-Live buddy lists. U-Control: Universal’s exclusive signature feature U-Control allows viewers to delve into the making of the film with the click of the remote without ever leaving the movie. Scene Explorer: Schufften Goggle View: View scenes from the film as it progresses from storyboards and early renderings of the visual effects to the final film. Director’s Notebook: Fans will get an interactive glimpse at the director’s personal journal and view how early thematic concepts evolved into the final film. Includes an introduction by Guillermo Del Toro. Set Visits: Interactive vignettes provide information about key moments in the film. Comic Book Back-Story Interactive Feature: Clickable motion pages provide backstories of the film’s characters.