Jul 11, 2008|
Category IIA. Remember the good ol’ days? The days when larger-than-life characters like Frankenstein’s monster and The Creature from the Black Lagoon ruled the matinees? When “The Wizard of Oz” and “Clash of Titans” sent audiences on adventures through time and space? When the movies were an escape to a different world? Remember those?
Nah, neither do we. But Guillermo del Toro does, and following his bleak journey through the looking-glass and the Spanish Civil War in “Pan’s Labyrinth,” the Mexican with the endless imagination has returned with “Hellboy II.” Armed with a bigger budget and a stronger cast, he’s cooked up the classic meaty superhero sequel, where the plot—Hellboy and crew taking on a heavenly prince attempting to resurrect a golden army—is just an excuse for good summer fun.
Realism takes a firm backseat to monstrous dukeroos and endless explosions. From the first major set-piece featuring a face-off against a horde of “tooth fairies,” to the final battle against the unstoppable army of darkness, “Hellboy II” is a relentless adventure that outdoes every so-called “cinematic escape” this summer. Many critics cite the first “Star Wars” movie as a source of inspiration for the film—not only with respect to its sense of awe, but to its creation of a fully defined world, so deep and thorough that you can’t help but get sucked into its immersive universe. Its creatures are straight out of the comic book, and you grow to love these odd and slightly repulsive characters—be it a gilled fishman, a cloud of gas in a diving suit, or a big red devil from the bowels of hell.
At a time where CGI seems to be strangely be taking a step backwards, del Toro’s crew have managed to create a US$85 million visual masterpiece, in which you can’t tell where the detailed costumes end and the computer graphics begin.