Tag Archives: Comic Books

MOVIE REVIEW: Hellboy II: The Golden Army Is Glorious Fun!

Although technically not a superhero movie, Hellboy II: The Golden Army is one of the most beautifully visual films of this or any other year. It’s also a combination of a lot of genres: comic book movie, action flick, fairytale, horror story, eco-fable, romantic drama, pulpy noir, FX flick. The thing is, because of writer/director Guillermo Del Toro’s love of the characters, and his amazing visual sense, all of these genres fuse into a whole that is ever-so-slightly greater than the sum of its parts.

Hellboy [Ron Perlman] and Liz Sherman [Selma Blair are together in this film – a situation that is more a bit awkward. As Abe Sapien [Doug Jones] puts it, “They have their good days and their bad days… and their really bad days. Complicating matters are Hellboy’s longings to go public – FBI liaison Tom Manning [a woefully underused Jeffrey Tambor] is particularly put out by a photo which the big guy posed for… and autographed!

Into this chipper little situation comes an elvish prince named Nuada [Luke Goss], who wants to raise the legendary Golden Army to destroy mankind as mankind has been replacing nature with shopping malls and parking lots. His twin sister, Nuala [Anna Walton] is dead set against this and flees – encountering Abe in the Troll Market [think a fusion of the Star Wars Cantina and the Floating Market from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere], where he helps save her from a troll. Everything escalates from there.

HB vs. Golden Army

Perhaps The Golden Army’s greatest asset is Del Toro’s amazing visuals. All of the film’s creatures are beautiful [sometimes in very disturbing ways] and the sets are enthralling. The creatures are mostly practical and the prostheses and animatronics are absolutely state of the art. Of course, they wouldn’t mean anything if the story and the characters didn’t support them – but they do.

The film is probably hardest on Abe, who encounters romance for the first time in his life, but the Hellboy/Liz relationship takes some interesting and powerful turns as well. Then there’s the new kid on the block, Johann Strauss [voiced by Seth McFarlane], a Teutonic being of ectoplasm housed in an encounter suit that resembles the old spider-Man villain, Mysterio. Brought in to bring Hellboy to heal, Strauss shows some unique abilities, but can’t contain the curmudgeonly demon.

Del Toro shows that Pan’s Labyrinth was no fluke as he sets up action sequences and emotional situations that are simultaneously larger than life and as real as oxygen. He puts his characters through trials of epic proportion, while keeping their feet firmly on the metaphoric ground. The only real flaw of the film is that it may be too rich, too full. There’s so much going on – on every level – that it’s hard to get it all in one viewing. The cliché, “I laughed. I cried. It became part of me,” may actually apply here – Hellboy II: The Golden Army has an effect that lingers long after you’ve left the theater.

Final Grade: A

PREVIEWS: Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe Screenshots and Trailer Debut

MK Vs. DCU MK Vs. DCU

MK Vs DCU MK Vs. DCU

For the first time ever Scorpion, Sub-Zero and the Mortal Kombat warriors battle with Batman, Superman and other popular DC Universe Super Heroes. Choose your side and challenge your opponents with a new fighting system including Freefall Kombat and Klose Kombat along with dynamic multi-tiered environments. Plus, pick your favorite character from MK or DCU and pursue a fighting adventure in the new single player mode with an intertwined storyline and two unique perspectives.

TELEVISION REVIEW: Starz Inside: Comic Books Unbound, wows Michelle!

starzinside

Starz Inside has quickly become one of my favorite series of television documentaries. If you are a fan of Pop Culture, this series is made for you. In the last few months they took us inside Pixar Animation, gave us an in-depth look at the creators of Animation, showed us men behind some of our favorite Video Games, and this week, on June 10, we Starz Inside shows us genius’ behind our favorite comic books.  This is the summer of the Superhero film so naturally this amazingly detailed documentary starts off in the obvious place – showing us how the film industry has embraced Comic-Books. We see some footage of the upcoming the upcoming Hellboy II film.  The documentary focuses primarily on the history of comic book films. Starting with the aforementioned Hellboy II then delves into the history of some of the pulp films from the 40s with some vintage clips.  The do a really nice segment on the Superman and Batman films 

It’s amazing seeing this little segment because it shows just how cyclical this business called show is.  And the more things change, the more they stay the same. The doc touches a bit on how Capital Hill investigated comics during the 50s. Apparently there was a sexual relationship between Batman and Robin. This witch hunt led to the creation of the Comic-book code, but it ended up scaring Hollywood. I want to watch Fritz the Cat! Wow, talk about racy. Did you know Stallone and Eastwood were both up for Superman?  What makes the Starz Inside Series so strong is that they always attack a topic that most stodgy documentaries would avoid.  They do it and handle their topics with love and care.  The reverence the producers have for this material really comes through, without being pretentious or stodgy. It manages to strike just the right tone.  The pacing and amount of material covered is just right. Starz Inside: Comic Books Unbound premieres June 10, at 10pm.

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EM Review by
Michelle Alexandria
Originally posted 6.07.08