Hellboy II - The Golden Army (2008/Universal Blu-ray + DVD-Video)
Picture: B+/B- Sound: A-/B- Extras: B- Film: B-
Columbia Pictures dropped the chance to do a sequel to Hellboy (2004), it was a surprise and I figured they would continue
by lightening up the film and adding a little more humor. That director Guillermo Del Toro would return
and had a notable critical and commercial success with Pan’s Labyrinth made that decision all the more odd and possibly a
mistake. Universal picked up the film
(along with a Dark Horse Comics contract) taking on the follow-up with great
ambition. The resulting Hellboy II - The Golden Army (2008)
could have remained as dark, but instead was as expected, a little brighter and
safer, though Del Toro retained a majority of the look and feel of the first,
if not as intricately or as distinctly so.
about the film’s plot, try our theatrical review at this link, which includes
links to our coverage of an animated DVD and the Blu-ray for the first film:
about agree with my friend’s analysis of the film, though I think it might work
a bit more than he did, but not by much and not as well as the first film
did. Part of the problem is that when
Del Toro makes sequels (Blade 2
being the other; he did not direct the first film), it becomes an exercise that
assumes you saw the first film and becomes lax in reestablishing the world set
by the first. He also again tampers with
some items that work, including Abe Sapien, who is simply not as effective or
realistic here as he was in the first film.
script has some fun moments and the money is on the screen, plus most of the
original cast is back, especially the indispensable Ron Perlman and Jeffrey
Tambor at his usual comic best. No, this
is not as dark or effective as the first and may be more typical of the hero
vs. villain Superhero genre film, but it was lost in the huge wave of Dark Knight success and now that it has
a few weeks on its own to win the home theater market, will hopefully finds the
first two films a new audience.
1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image here is as rich and solid as that of the
same on the Blu-ray of the first film with some of the more well thought-out
digital effects in franchise filmmaking and Del Toro knows what he wants. Though the effects are not as intricate, it
is as detailed and the image is solid (good color, some good depth, shots with
a narrative point) even when it is limited by some grain and minor degrading by
the digital work. Director of
Photography Guillermo Navarro, A.S.C., is back, explaining the consistent look
of this film and between the two films to date.
In this case, shots are lit a little more clearly and that is a plus on
the Blu-ray, while the anamorphically enhanced DVD looks good for that format,
but is no match for the Blu-ray.
HD Master Audio (MA) lossless 7.1 mix is one of the best 7.1 mixes we have come
across to date and though the PCM 16/48 5.1 mix on the first film was
impressive, this is even more dynamic with less of a sonic ceiling, more
articulation and dynamic range throughout.
You also get DTS 5.1 Spanish & French 5.1 options on the Blu-ray,
both of which still sound better than the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the
DVD. I was surprised Universal did not
had DTS to the DVD, but the DTS 7.1 on the Blu-ray is up there with Pan’s Labyrinth, Hairspray and Dark City
as among the best of the limited number of 7.1 mixes in the format to
date. Danny Elfman takes over form Marco
Beltrami for the score here and does a decent job, but the intent it once
again, more commercial. This will be
demo material for years to come.
both editions include digital copy for a limited time that allows you a free
copy of the film for a PC/PC portable device, the 2+ hours-long making-of piece
In Service Of The Demon, image galleries, Director’s Notebook,
Production Workshop Puppet Theater, Deleted Scenes with optional Director’s
Commentary, Troll Market Tour with Del Toro, Feature Commentary by Del Toro, Zinco
Epilogue Animated Comic Book and DVD-ROM accessible screenplay. The Blu-ray adds U-Control features that
offer a more extensive Director’s Notebook, Concert Art Gallery & Set
Visits while you watch the film.
on the first film, try this link:
- Nicholas Sheffo