Let me begin by saying I was a huge fan of del Toro's first Hellboy & Pan's Labyrinth. These flick was directed and written by Guillermo del Toro (director of Pan's Labyrinth a disturbing fairy tale set in Fascist Spain that won the 2006 Oscar for best foreign film). Del Toro attempts to fuse the bam-pow studio mind-set to a more expressive artistic sensibility and dazzles us with some visually astounding images.
While the first movie dealt with the whole Nazis sinful experiments stuff and the daily life of Hellboy and his team, Hellboy II The Golden Army goes in a more fantastical direction and is about the whole world - real and fantastic - and Hellboy's place in it. For centuries, there's been a treaty among the human race and the mythological world, but a white-faced guy named Prince Nuada thinks the supernatural world has gotten a raw deal and wants to violate the truce. His plan is to wake up the Golden Army, which I'm guessing would be really bad for all us. I need to rewatch it just for the Golden Army encounter at the end. A few of the jokes fall flat but most of them connect, and the visual comedy is insinuating but appreciated.
The creature creations take first place for bizarre brilliance. The most persuasive reasons to see this flick are the fantasy creatures themselves. There are great creatures, my favorite being the tooth fairies (not the kind you are thinking about). Some of them will seem familiar but most of them are original and beautifully executed, and the vast majority of them are not CG. The result is like "Pan's Labyrinth" on steroids.
I would say it's entirely kid appropriate too...as long as your kid is into magic and monsters. In addition any film that's nutty enough to use a Barry Manilow song as its love theme, and get away with it, is nothing if not inspired. Ultimately, the cranium from which it sprang is filled with marvels, so no matter what del Toro chooses to let loose is certain to drum up a swarm of fans.
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