Monday, September 8, 2008

Hellboy II

I wasn’t thinking…that’s the problem. I was pleasantly surprised by the first Hellboy which exceeded my expectations (which weren’t all that high to begin with). However, I liked the edginess of Hellboy’s character and thought that the first movie was exceptional. I know that sequels rarely improve on the original…but with comic book based movies there is a trend away from that concept. With comic books you have the latitude to create a new nemesis or explore new facets of your character’s personality. There was great potential for this movie but it fell woefully short. My biggest problem really lies in the writing. The plot was marginal, providing a very weak foundation upon which to build the rest of the movie. The overall plot line had potential if done properly. The sub-plots were not fully developed and were very transparent. The lack of depth made the sub-plots laughable. The characters were extremely one-dimensional and irritably predictable. The dialogue made it even more tedious to watch. I like comic book dialogue which can oftentimes be refreshing. This dialogue was tepid at best. Weak and predictable. I didn’t care about any of the characters…they could have killed off the whole lot without the audience feeling connected to their loss. The acting was okay. With the predictable dialogue it almost seemed like a couple of the actors were gagging on their lines…especially fish-stick. His lines were often sappy sweet. He did get off a good line about leather straps that made me chuckle but for the most part I found his character to be tedious. A combination of dialogue and acting. I really enjoyed Ron Perlman in the lead of the original Hellboy and expected a repeat performance. I thought Perlman delivered his lines professionally even though he didn’t have much to work with. Hellboy is an edgy character, but some of the edginess was overdone. Perlman did an excellent job of tempering the writing and dialogue with great acting. Selma Blair played Liz Sherman AKA Hellboy’s baby’s mama. She handled a big part of one of the sub-plots that wasn’t developed efficiently. I thought her acting was spot on in spite of the other issues. The acting as a whole was decent, with a chunk of the acting completed by animated characters. The acting would have benefited greatly from a better script. The special effects might be considered par for the course in today’s CGI enhanced world. However, I was fully entertained by many of the special effects. I think the special effects were almost a crutch in this film, which seemed to rely on the dazzling, big screen antics of CGI to make up for other failures. On the small screen, those effects will be shrunk down to a level that the film will lose even more of it’s appeal. The interaction of the CGI characters and puppets with the real characters was seamless. I felt the animators delivered fully on their part of this film. It is too bad that they were required to carry the film. Hellboy was rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America. This rating is based most heavily in the animated violence that is rampant throughout the movie. Most of the action sequences are violence related. The language wasn’t over the top and I don’t recall any nudity. The violence did not contain the type of gore that would concern me with younger viewers. I felt that the rating was appropriate but had no problems with my nine-year-old son watching this movie with me. I think he was a little more entertained than I was, so maybe I got my money’s worth if he enjoyed it.


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