By Fred Topel | Image property of Universal Pictures
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Watching Hellboy II: The Golden Army made me feel like I was watching Labyrinth. Not Pan's Labyrinth, I mean the Jim Henson one which is my favorite movie of all time (tied with Toy Story 2). It's just so full of creativity.
Review: Hellboy II: The Golden Army
This is actually what I wanted Pan's Labyrinth to be. There are way more creatures than Pan's and they all get more screen time. They're all much more creative. Many are still variations on eyes and wrinkles, but they all have a unique twist. It is like a Jim Henson world where every character has a clever gimmick.
It exists in our world just enough to ground it. There's the city and the bystanders. Even the detective genre staples give us an entrée into the fantasy.
The film has more humor than I remember in the original Hellboy. It's so blasé and nonchalant about the fantastical world, it shows a lot more confidence on del Toro's part. I love non sequiturs in the middle of epic catastrophe, and the slapstick is just a hoot. Giving the monsters more humorous moments makes them more human.
It's certainly not subtle. Showing Planned Parenthood billboards framed purposely and certain musical choices are pretty obvious. But this is not a subtle world. It's got real themes and moral questions. There's just no reason to bury them beneath the surface. It's just what it's about.
The pace is way better than any previous Guillermo Del Toro movie. It still lingers lovingly on the creatures, it's just packed with material. There's no downtime. I was actually rooting for the evil prince because I just wanted to see those gold guys.
It's got the best white guy fighting since District B13, which was the best white guy fighting since The Matrix. These guys are in makeup and costumes, but they move fast and do badass katas.
This is the Hellboy movie. Hellboy 1 was just some thing that was made. It's the most creative movie of the year. I would call it Fred's Labyrinth.