[img]http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/2654/hellboyiithegoldenarmyb.jpg[/img]Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Blu-ray)
Starring: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Runtime: 120 minutes
Release Date: November 11, 2008
I enjoyed the first Hellboy movie, even though (or maybe because) I wasn’t familiar with the original comic material, and it pretty much delivered above my average expectations. The movie was fun, it was funny, the action was well done, and the costumes and CG were well integrated and blended right in. All of this partly built up my expectation for the second movie, and partly built up my expectation for failure… so I guess I was about even.
Del Toro is well established in the “creature niche”, and his previous experience did not go to waste here. Again, the look of the movie, the costumes, makeup and CG were all very good. Throughout the movie, the creatures, demons, and other supernatural characters looked great, and this can be especially tough in HD. Overall picture quality was impressive, and I found it to be a very suitable feature debut for my new Panasonic V10 plasma, paired with my Oppo BDP-83 player, both set for 24p/96Hz mode. It was pretty consistent throughout, and detail was always good, as well as colour.
The sound, although I was not able to evaluate the HD audio tracks, was still above average in DTS 6.1. Dialogue was clear, the surround channels were used appropriately (and could have used even more actually IMO), and the LFE was very active, and a lot of fun. It may have been a bit boomy, but that is more likely the fact that I haven’t been able to really calibrate my setup in its new location. The only real issue I had was with the early scene with Hellboy in his youth, when his vocals seemed to be a little bit out of sync with the video.
The movie itself carried on an interesting story, if not as involving as the original. In my eyes, it made up for some (rare) questionable dialogue and the odd scene that runs too long with some of the great ideas it brought out. I loved the Tooth Fairies, and the Troll market. And the story behind the main plot, showing the elves as a forgotten people living in man’s shadow, was a slightly different take on a well known mythology that I liked. The actual Golden Army was a fun idea, and although it may not have been explored as much as it could have been, it served its purpose and added a great fight scene.
The characters and acting were about on par with the original, but I think I preferred the original Abe voiced by David Hyde-Pierce. Jeffrey Tambor is always entertaining to watch, and the other regulars delivered performances in keeping with the rest of the movie, with no complaints from me.
Overall, Hellboy II: The Golden Army was a good way to spend 2 hours, it kept me involved and entertained, and had lots of eye candy and effects. Actually it made me want to go back and pick up the first one on BD, so it must have left a good impression.