"HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY – 3-DISC SPECIAL EDITION"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ***** (out of 5 stars)
Ron Perlman as HELLBOY
Selma Blair as LIZ SHERMAN
Doug Jones as ABE SAPIEN
Jeffrey Tambor as TOM MANNING
Luke Goss as PRINCE NUADA
Anna Walton as PRINCESS NUALA
Directed by: Guillermo Del Toro
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On the DVD of “Hellboy II: The Golden Army,” Guillermo Del Toro says in one of his introductions: “We tried to reveal every aspect of the making of this film as thoroughly as possible.”
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Never have there been truer words spoken by a filmmaker in Hollywood.
Whether you are interested in the story and characters of “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” should only factor in a tiny part of your decision to pick up this DVD. It is one of the most comprehensive and in-depths look at a major film production I’ve seen in a long time.
First, let’s look at the film. As a sequel to the 2004 hit, “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” also had to live up to Del Toro’s Oscar-winning masterpiece “Pan’s Labyrinth.” The influence in this film is clear, as Del Toro has significantly stepped up the production design and creature shop.
In this new film, the demon-turned-good-guy Hellboy (Ron Perlman) goes up against a group of fantasy creatures that are intent on overthrowing humanity. In order to do this, the upstart leader Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) plans to bring to life the exiled and immortal Golden Army. Hellboy works with his friends at the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense to track down Prince Nuada and stave off the attack.
From a casting perspective, the “Hellboy” films are brilliant. Just as Del Toro seems to have been born to direct this series, Ron Perlman was born to play Hellboy. Additionally, Del Toro used Doug Jones to play Abe Sapien again, this time allowing him to use his own voice in the film.
In short, this movie is a lot of fun. It’s dark and serious enough to be a grown-up movie. On the other hand, there’s still a whimsical comic book element to the film that keeps things somewhat light-hearted... even in the face of genocide. I do enjoy a good superhero movie with traditional heroes, but I will also always make room for Hellboy.
From the DVD angle, this three-disc special edition is packed full of extra bonus features. On the feature disc, there are deleted scenes and a Troll Market tour with Del Toro. The third disc is reserved for Digital copy to make this film easy to watch on your portable device. However, the second disc is the real gem.
Disc two contains a feature-length documentary about the making of “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” from beginning to end. You get to see how director Guillermo Del Toro approaches the production with child-like enthusiasm. You also get to see how all the different elements were created in pre-production and how things were wrapped up in post production. With a running time pushing 150 minutes, the bonus content will take you longer to watch than the film itself.
Also included on the second disc is a look into the director’s notebook, a featurette about the puppet theater that was used to create the opening sequence of the film and multiple image galleries with discussion by Del Toro and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola.