R3view: Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Hellboy II poster

Director: Guillermo del Toro (Mimic, Hellboy I, Blade II, Pan’s Labyrinth)
Screenplay: Guillermo del Toro
Based on a Comic Book by: Mike Mignola
Producers: Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Mike Richardson, Joe Roth
Starring: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, John Alexander, James Dodd, Seth MacFarlane (voice)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 110 min


Guillermo Del Toro has always been somewhat of a delight around here. So we walk into Hellboy II: The Golden Army with much excitement and anticipation. Nearly the entire Row Three crew weighed in on this one. And you might just be surprised who the single nay-sayer is.

Synopsis: (IMDb) The mythical world starts a rebellion against humanity in order to rule the Earth, so as Hellboy and his team returns they must save the world from the rebellious creatures. Now, as the creatures who inhabit the spiritual realm gear-up for an all out attack on the human plane, the only one capable of saving the Earth is a tough talking hell-spawn rejected by both worlds.

Read all of our reviews below…



Kurt:

“Protecting our world from things that go bump in the night” is a line used to describe Hellboy and the Bureau of Paranormal Research & Defense (PBRD) that keep the occult and cthulu at bay for the world to simply cease to remember. Guillermo del Toro knows a thing or two about envisioning real horror (usually of the Catholic flavoured kind) up on screen, particularly in his Spanish language films, but also in the underrated bugs-in-the-sewers film Mimic. It is curious then that the Hellboy franchise (thus far at two entries, although I expect a few more to come along) favours more of a fantasy bent. Hellboy II is not particularly scary or tense, but rather like J. R. R. Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings (or Steve Barron‘s Merlin), woven through with camaraderie and a melancholy for something the world is losing piece by piece. The reading in the middle of the film of Lord Tennyson‘s poem, In Memorium coupled with the auctioning away of Pagan artifacts at a Soothbys-esque auction and a few of the choices Big Red is forced to make (or witness) cements this concept harder than Hellboys rock-fist. This is a curious amalgamation for the goofy smart aleck-ness of Ron Perlman‘s (the actor is spot on as always) take on Hellboy and his relationship with the ‘Men In Black‘ for which he grudgingly co-exists. The humour, twin love stories, large action beats and domestic matters are blended like free-form jazz (highlights are a duel between Hellboy and Prince Nuada (Blade II‘s Luke Goss all simmering intensity). Considering the time and money spent on the film, it is rare to have this fast-and-loose vibe going for it: I was not complaining too much (see below). And Del Toro does not aim to make film scary (like the superior Pan’s Labyrinth) but he amps the wonder-factor of the film by the sheer volume of interesting denizens of the underworld. His troll market under the Brooklyn Bridge is the 21st century equivalent of George Lucas‘s space-port ‘hive of scum an villainy’ and bless him for realizing it in such a tactile manner on screen, a brilliant blending of CGI and make-up effects. But back to the point at hand. The mourning of the loss of wonder, inevitably subsumed by modernity, science (and perhaps even Christianity, just as it drove out the druids and other pagan oddities as it took over the western world) and forgotten or sneered at by the human urban denizens (well that is until thousands of freaky spider-like insects start eating them alive) by the very filmmaker that is best at putting the on screen we have today is more than a bit unsettling. If the modern blockbuster slowly is eroding its audience of any sense of wonder than the BPRD equivalent looking out for us is likely Guillermo Del Toro, Brad Bird, Julie Taymour and Tarsem Singh whist Steven Spielberg (a combination of John Hurt and Jeffrey Tambor‘s father figures).

One wonders if the big red-headed Mexican director would have been the more correct choice for doing Lord of the Rings (as much as I love Peter Jackson‘s trilogy, I am willing to bet that Del Toro‘s would have been better, somehow) rather than his upcoming gig of the less serious and grand The Hobbit. That of course is a whole different conversation.

Hellboy II mildly suffers from similar uninspired plotting as the first one. The story serves to get the actors from on set-piece to the next, with character stuff plugging the gaps. You do not want to think about the logic of the FBI or the story too much, it’ll make your head hurt. But Del Toro has always functioned best with what is up on screen visually and emotional themes. Hellboy II more than makes up for its familiar and weak plotting with solid action set-pieces (the wire-fu choreography is up to spec with contemporary Chinese wuxia films), goofy charm and enough visual chops to keep the magic lantern running for damn near perpetuity. The visual delights are legion, from the CGI-puppetry of the prologue (see also the Danish film Strings), to the above mentioned troll market, to the magnificent realization of a forest god (shades of Hiyao Miyazaki‘s Mononke Hime finale) to the titular Golden Army which are a menacing marvel of complicated clockwork.

“See You Next Wednesday”




John:

It is quite possible to create magic when crafting a movie and Guillermo del Toro has proven in the past that he is a master when it comes to imaginative characters and settings. Pan’s Labyrinth is the quintessential fairy tale that had me mesmerized completely. Hellboy II: The Golden Army wants to do this also but it also strives to be mainstream and this is where the movie fails. Do not get me wrong, Hellboy II is a better than average blockbuster and del Toro is able to create a sense of wonder in many of the movie’s moments but it also falls back on an uninspired plot with characters that are either under developed or that just make strange decisions and cheesy humour.

Right off the bat I knew that I was going to be somewhat disappointed in HBII. I stayed away from re-watching just so I could go in without too high of expectations. Perhaps I was wrong to do so. If I had re-watched the original I would have lowered them actually. I was still coming off a high from Pan’s Labyrinth even though it has been a year and half. When the movie opens we get the history of the Golden Army in the form of John Hurt telling a bedtime story to Hellboy. The way the story is recreated using wooden art figures is truly beautiful to watch and the opening really pumped me up for the rest of the movie. Unfortunately we are taken to the Bureau of Paranormal Research & Defense right after and we are presented with several sight gags while Hellboy and Tom Manning discuss the need for Hellboy to be hidden. The ongoing gags only take away from the discussion between the two characters and really should have been cut out.

A second problem that HBII suffers from is the way some of the characters act. A fair amount of the movie is made up of angst over being different from the normal people and not being accepted. In the battle when Prince Nuada releases the Elemental God against HB he stands high over Hellboy questioning him about the fact that no one accepts him and that in order to save those who hate him he has to destroy a one of a kind being. The character of Nuada at this point fell apart for me. If Nuada was truly worried about preserving this one of a kind being he should not have summoned it up into a battle. Even with this complaint though, the battle between Hellboy and the Elemental has one of the most dramatic and gorgeous conclusions of any battle in film.

Also introduced in HBII is the character of Johann Strauss. Strauss is the antithesis of the Hellboy in that he believes in the chain of command. A great effort is made to show just how he is the opposite and the character is quite interesting which makes it all the more frustrating when he makes acts as he does near the end of the HBII. More time should have been given to Strauss in order to justify his characters shift.

Overall, Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a stunning movie that highlights del Toro’s wonderful imagination but it really is hurt by its need to fit into the standard blockbuster formula. With the financial success that HBII, it is pretty much a guaranteed thing that there will be a Hellboy III in our future as the story pretty much calls for it. I am looking forward to it but I believe it will suffer the same flaw. Del Toro needs more freedom for his creativity than what summer blockbusters will allow.




Jonathan:

First things first – is Guillermo del Toro the most imaginative living filmmaker on the planet? A darker, more twisted Jim Henson perhaps? As I saw each new creature that undoubtedly came straight from the depths of his sketchbook and his visionary mind (as all the previews enjoyed putting it), I couldn’t help but wonder this. I cannot even begin to fathom how one’s mind could think up such things, which really just kept me in awe.

With that said, Hellboy II: The Goldern Army is just plain awesome. It ups the ante from the first one quite a bit. The action scenes are more complex, the effects better, the monsters bigger, and the consequences more dire. While I can’t say that it’s a much better movie than the first one – a movie I’m very fond of – it is one that is surely on the same level.

Ron Perlman is a man I’ve always been fond of (I’m a huge devotee of The City of Lost Children) and just as with the first movie, he creates one of the most interesting, likable superheros out there. He’s both badass and a huge child and the film balances both sides of him perfectly. Honestly… move over Spider-Man, back off Wolverine, hey, even you get out of my way Tony Stark (forgive me RDJ), but I’ll take more Hellboy goodness (with Ron Perlman under the makeup, of course) any day.

It’s not without flaws. It’s a little sillier than the first. Some of the reasoning behind some of the actions the characters make is questionable. Hell, sometimes it even feels as if del Toro is just showing off how creative and cool he is (which I didn’t mind one bit, let me add). Really though, in the end, I can look behind it all and see a fun, refreshing, unique tale of misfit superheros with one fantasticly badass hero. At the risk of sounding like every other critics gushing over this, the movie has magic.

I’m going to leave it at that. I’m running on two hours of sleep and when I’m tired I tend to gush.Just experience this one yourself and keep an open mind. Here’s to del Toro doing one more and being one of the few filmmakers that can create trilogy with all three great films.




Marina:

During a summer that has outnumbered the rest in sheer number of superheroes, it is hard to imagine anything could beat the critical darling that was Iron Man (our review). Sure it was fun, well reviewed with a charismatic lead but it lacked something Guillermo del Toro’s superhero has in spades: heart.

Though around these parts only generally considered mediocre, I thoroughly loved Hellboy. Seeing it again last week in “preparation”, I came to appreciate it even more for all its gloriously small moments that, at the hands of many a director, would have been seen as cheesy – namely the love story that surrounds the entire movie and is the cause of many a dramatic moment. With a bigger budget and more fervent expectation, I had expected that for his second turn at the superhero, del Toro would take the easy route and simply turn up the ampage and give us more of the same with a few extra fight sequences thrown in to keep the studio types happy. Thankfully, del Toro isn’t one to do anything half-assed and the outcome called Hellboy II: The Golden Army is nothing short of spectacular.

Yes, it’s bigger: the action sequences are larger and longer, the special effects are dazzling and the costumes are gorgeous but above all, the story is both more intimate and grander. This time around del Toro is even more concerned with the personal lives of the characters which he wonderfully marries into the main tension of the film and the result is an epic romance with Hellboy and crew stuck in the middle trying to keep both sides happy to save humanity. Fairly typical superhero stuff but what comes completely unexpected from del Toro is the amount of comedy throughout the film. If the character of Hellboy was as well known and loved as Spiderman, I could see this film compared to Spiderman 3 and particularly the much maligned Peter Parker dance scene – here we have a dance scene that runs for over an hour and I loved every single second of it.

At the moment, Hellboy II: The Golden Army is happily sitting at the top of my summer of superheroes and I doubt it will be kicked off, even by The Dark Knight. I expect to thoroughly enjoy Nolan’s vision, but I expect I won’t have nearly as much fun as I had watching this.




Andrew:

Minus 50 huge points right off the bat for no David Hyde Pierce. The second Abe Sapian spoke, Hellboy II was already in the minus category. I was let down immediately and it’s tough to get me back. And neat-o golden army wasn’t enough to get me back.

Having watched Hellboy I the night before as a refresher course, I can say pretty assuredly that this newest one does not exceed the first. Instead of dark and wicked, Del Toro decided to go for funny and silly. The humor was completely lost on me and didn’t work at all. It pissed me off even more when the audience is laughing hysterically at Hellboy and “Fishstick’s” ‘drunk and singing’ routine. My friend and I looked at each other and just shrugged. Perhaps if I was 12 years old. Was it absolutely necessary to show Bride of Frankenstein playing on the television? It reminded me of the ridiculousness of Hancock’s character carrying around his ticket stubs for Frankenstein.

The one thing going for Hellboy II is the usual cool characters Del Toro comes up with. Along with plenty of CGI, there is plenty of room yet in his book for puppets and make-up. All of the side characters were particularly interesting looking. The main villain turns out not to be quite as bad-ass as he first appears, but he does have some really great martial arts moves and his sword play is rad – even though I had to keep reminding myself that it is not Tom Cruise (Lestat) from Interview with the Vampire:


Tom Cruise and Luke Goss

Basically I was pretty bored throughout most of the picture. Bored enough that I don’t feel particularly compelled to write a review that isn’t boring as well. A few of Ron Perlman’s one-liners worked for me and the side characters all looked neat. Otherwise, no. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen giant robots smashing each other somewhere before in the past 12 months. I wish I could remember where…




Consensus:

Average score:

What did YOU think of Hellboy II? Start the discussion in the comment section below.



Relevant Links:
IMDb profile
Official Site
Flixster Profile for Hellboy II

Andrew James
Podcaster. Tech junkie. Movie lover. Student. Also, beer.

133 Comments

  1. andrew, with this, huckabees and again, my litmus test of Spiderman 3, I can only conclude that your sense of humor sucks. anyone who doesnt like the drunken singing, I can only conclude has no soul. That scene may be the single best moment in any comic book movie ever. man are you so far off.

    for one, Hyde Pierce did not want to return, and didnt even have his name credited on Hellboy I because he felt that the performance was all Doug Jones and he deserved all the credit for it. Jones was just fine, and knocking points falls into the 'reviewing what i wanted, not what it is' category. you might as well dock 50 points of X3 out of the gate for not having Nightcrawler return too, even though Cumming said no to the 6 hour makeup job.

    "Instead of dark and wicked, Del Toro decided to go for funny and silly."

    which makes it different from Hellboy I, and the Hellboy comic series, how exactly?

    in conclusion, Andrew, you're fired.

    Reply
  2. carrying on, is there anyone that can tell me with a straight face, that Ron Perlman in THAT big red rubber outfit, can be taken as 'dark and wicked'? You saw Hellboy I, he likes kittens and candy bars, the whole point is he wants to be a regular guy and NOT the dark and scary destiny that the baddies want of him. Hellboy works and is more original for the very fact that it bucks mainstream comic stereotypes, and will put beasts into weird relationships, both romantic and father/son and friendships. it will do sight gags and puns and like Hellboy I, in the middle of a movie that also has fairies eating people alive, can maintain a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, family friendly vibe. How the hell you could like Hellboy I and not see II as a vast leap forward, how the hell you could not recognize all that you criticize about II as already being ingrained in the first film, is absolutely astounding.

    again, massive. massive fail.

    Reply
  3. one more thing:

    "The main villain turns out not to be quite as bad-ass as he first appears, but he does have some really great martial arts moves and his sword play is rad – even though I had to keep reminding myself that it is not Tom Cruise (Lestat) from Interview with the Vampire"

    When I saw the trailer, I thought everything looked cool EXCEPT the villain, and that I'd have to wade around it and make apologies. instead i thought that villain was fantastic, making up for in action what is restricted with the Hellboy suit, and having actual shades and a legitimate sense of feeling right about his actions. The twin "E.T."esque shared pain also helped make it a lot more than a simple final fight. He wasn't a gruff talking major league asshole, just a temptor for the most part and allowed a decent death scene. I couldn't have been more pleased with it.

    If it isn't obvious, I hold Hellboy II in high esteem, and like Jay C at Filmjunk, probably rank it as the second best comic book film to date.

    Reply
  4. "I’m pretty sure I’ve seen giant robots smashing each other somewhere before in the past 12 months. I wish I could remember where…"

    in a movie with ass looking robots that you gave a star and a half above Hellboy 2. Yeah, keep apologizing.

    Reply
  5. I keep coming back to this. Perhaps because I finally got hit with the notion that I'm being really rude.

    However I got back to this part again:

    "Perhaps if I was 12 years old."

    Nah, I feel okay with myself now.

    Reply
  6. Yea, I don't get Andrew's Transformers comparison either. There is more creativity and brains (and heart, and wonder) in the opening prologue than there was in the entire TF flick.

    I also don't get the hate on for David Hyde Pierce's exit. I didn't notice a problem with Jones' take on Abe. I thought Abe was give a lot of time to shine in this one. I was very happy that didn't short-change Liz Sherman, who was excellently used here.

    I also loved the 'death' character and the choices offered. There is some much great stuff to chew on and enjoy in this comic book movie.

    Reply
  7. let me pull a Kurt and say this looks dumb even though I haven't seen it. I did see Hellboy 1 and found it very tedious so perhaps I am drawing from that experience.

    I do not really get the Del Toro love.

    Reply
  8. It is the dark corners of the imagination kinda thing. Nearly all of his films play to this (Cronos, Devils Backbone, Mimic, Pan's Labyrinth and aspects of HellBoy1).

    Those are the things that attract me to Del Toros work. He understands how to tell a fantasy story, with an undercurrent of dread and melancholy.

    Reply
  9. Again, it looked great. Loved how all the characters behaved and acted. Too bad the rest of it is just kind of boring. I guess it must be just me, but I'm just sick of all the CGI fighting that's in every summertime movie. I've seen it a million times and no matter how cool the character looks, it's just gets old.

    And I wasn't only making the transformers comparison, but Iron Man as well. It's CGI robots smashing each other. I don't see any difference.

    I'm glad everyone really liked it. I wish that I did. I wanted to like it. I just feel bored with huge action sequences that are all the same. Oooh a big creature ripping apart buildings (King Kong, Iron Man, Hulk, etc.). Sorry. Seen it too many times to care anymore. I'm pretty sure Hellboy fought the EXACT same creature in part 1 didn't he? Except it was red instead of green.

    And yes, I have a drier more sarcastic sense of humor. Making your characters drunk is not dry or sarcastic. But again, yes, it's what I wanted not what I got. You nailed it and I don't care. It wasn't laugh out loud funny. It was amusing.

    Reply
  10. Oh yes, and on the DHPierce issue. It has always bugged me when an actor I like doesn't return for subsequent films.

    If James Earl Jones hadn't returned for Episode 5 and 6 because he didn't want to, would you say the same about Star Wars? No matter how many times they try to get his voice right (in video games, cartoons, etc) it never is exactly right and you can tell immediately it's not JEJones. So yeah, when it's a completely different voice, I'm reminded instantly that it's an actor not a character. Plus I just really like Pierce. His dry wit is just a bit more polished than Jones. Jones was fine, don't get me wrong, he just isn't Pierce.

    And Goon(d), trying to tell me my sense of humor sucks because I don't like Suckabees and Spiderman 3 is laughable and only proves one thing: YOUR sense of humor sucks.

    Reply
  11. "I’m pretty sure Hellboy fought the EXACT same creature in part 1 didn’t he? Except it was red instead of green."

    "I’m just sick of all the CGI fighting that’s in every summertime movie. I’ve seen it a million times and no matter how cool the character looks, it’s just gets old."

    "I just feel bored with huge action sequences that are all the same."

    That was a 2 minute 'finish the bad guy' final sequence of a Chtulu type thingy. This was a plant monster and not just a boss, but used by the main villain to push the 'us vs them' storyline forward.

    if you're so concerned that you've seen something before, …. ahem – you gave Wanted a 4.5

    perhaps the most derivitive film of the summer. 4.5.

    which relies on CGI to keep it moving and almost none on character. which takes itself way too seriously. Del Toro has more creativiity in his pinky than Timur could copy from a dozen other films.

    "Making your characters drunk is not dry or sarcastic."

    You liked Hancock. But I suppose asshole juvenile drunk is not funny, but happy friends drunk is not?

    Reply
  12. "If James Earl Jones hadn’t returned for Episode 5 and 6 because he didn’t want to, would you say the same about Star Wars?"

    When the Dark Knight comes out are you going to knock 50 points off because Katie Holmes didn't return?

    "YOUR sense of humor sucks."

    nuh-uh. Honestly, I'm finding your sense of humor way too restrained and conservative with those examples. I'd advise you to never ever watch Stella. I think your brain would explode. When you look down on the drunk sequence with derision that only a 12 year old could like it, I'd say something inside you died at some point. No soul without the silly.

    Reply
  13. I did like Hancock. But I don't remember claiming Hancock was hilarious did I? Having a drunk character is great. Having your character get drunk as a humor tactic is not great.

    Reply
  14. Wanted action sequences: a train wedged between mountains with two characters who can curve their bullets fighting on the broken glass pain. Yeah, real derivitive. I could list example after example in that movie that is new and creative. With HB2, all I can say the same about is the interesting looking characters.

    Reply
  15. "Having your character get drunk as a humor tactic is not great."

    why? does it offend your morals or something? it's completely within the character. He's a big kid, he gets excited about nachos. It isn't getting drunk thats funny, its a giant red devil getting drunk that's funny, along with a giant fish that has a certain sense of dignity, and is embarrassed to be listening to schmaltz. And the specific choice to pull some 70s Manilow song out of all things is absolutely inspired.

    You treat it like its some base level Epic Movie "duh, its fun to be drunk" spectacle, when its an absolutely joyous moment of two bizarre creatures sharing an earnest, very human moment together.

    Reply
  16. "Wanted action sequences: a train wedged between mountains with two characters who can curve their bullets fighting on the broken glass pain. Yeah, real derivitive."

    A barely used gimmick and a set piece. You can pick a set piece from a good number of shitty action movies and find things that haven't been done before. The whole selling point of wanted is Matrix like action sequences and gunplay, and Office Space/Fight Club esque humor. There is no "Wanted" without "Help Wanted".

    Reply
  17. "all I can say the same about is the interesting looking characters"

    HB's main characters themselves are more original creations within this genre than anything Wanted does character-wise or gimmick-wise. And what good is a movie without decent characters? I mean, Wanted actually even had decent characters to crib from in the comics, but of course the very things that made those characters interesting isn't in the movie. The Fox is based off of Catwoman, and yet Jolie has such a sexless performance and non-charisma throughout. McAvoy's character reminded me of that scene in "Go" where the Irish guy puts on a fake American accent to please the ladies. and it would all be forgivable if what they changed them to was actually interesting. One of the main reasons "Wanted" is so boring is because there's nobody to care about or empathize with – the actors are putting on "character x" suits just to keep things moving – you might as well be watching crash dummies carry out the action sequences. Its that very cribbing from Office Space/Fight Club with McAvoys' character that just makes him a boring ripoff and everything he does essentially not worth watching.

    Reply
  18. "The whole selling point of wanted is Matrix like action sequences and gunplay, and Office Space/Fight Club esque humor."

    I can agree with that. But like "Doomsday," in general I don't mind borrowing a hodge podge of ideas from other movies to make your own. I love how you hate Wanted because it does this, but you have no problem with the same type of CGI action-sequences over and over and over and over and over again. Weird.

    Reply
  19. "I can’t debate what one thinks is funny and what another does not."

    its more subjective but I find I can always make an attempt to rationlize why I do or don't find something amusing. For example, I didn't find Hancock funny because after the first time, everything always went back to the ass jokes, which just reminds me of pro wrestling where the PG-13 juvenile humor is passed off as edgy. The setups were even more labored and more obvious than a Muppet Show 'at the dance' sequence.

    Example: french kid getting punched to the moon – it took such a long time to get there, setting it up so forced, the music behind it was bouncy and lame, the kids performance was pretty bad. compare that to say, him walking up to the kid and asking if he was the bully, the kid saying 'oui' and then BAM without hesitation. I might have liked that. some of it is theory, some of it is execution

    I found Hellboy's overall execution to be overall the 2nd funniest film of the year behind Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The kind of gag in HB though that doesnt work for me, is the 'did you call me babe', 'i said… abe' – not because of the joke is a groaner, but because the timing and performance is a bit off.

    Reply
  20. "But like “Doomsday,” in general I don’t mind borrowing a hodge podge of ideas from other movies to make your own."

    I haven't seen Doomsday, but from what I understand it weaves tiny things into a zillion different areas so its more like a sweater made of a zillion different movie threads to the point it makes one new color, rather than patched together from obvious sources to the point where it just looks cheap. Based on the Descent alone, I could see that.

    …kind of like how there are bands that borrow obviously from a number of sources that they seem like a watered down version of something else, and then there are bands that remind you of so many different things that in a way it becomes its own new thing that people will later compare things to.

    Reply
  21. “Wanted action sequences: a train wedged between mountains with two characters who can curve their bullets fighting on the broken glass pain. Yeah, real derivitive.”

    I actually thought that scene felt slightly borrowed from Jurassic Park: Lost World, and I thought Spielberg actually did it better.

    Reply
  22. "I love how you hate Wanted because it does this, but you have no problem with the same type of CGI action-sequences over and over and over and over and over again. Weird."

    I brought it up mainly because you seemed to be stating it as a general rule. It's kind of like this: I'll take Alice in Chains over Godsmack almost any day, but if Godsmack make a really good song (as they have once or twice, ever), as AIC ripoff as it is, I'll listen to it and defend what I do like about it.

    I'm assuming this goes back to Iron Man. All along the things I've defended about it usually don't include the final action sequence. I mostly like it for the comic interaction of RDJ and his house and gadgets, and the climax for me is his successful completion of the suit project. I can say I overall like the Iron Monger sequence simply because it finally accomplishes what I actually wanted out of Transformers – decent robot on robot action. And I think I defended it here because of the ridiculous Robocop accusations (yet when its a movie Kurt likes, like Wall-E, he wouldnt pull out a E.T. or Short Circuit dismissal).

    If I had been a 5/5 Iron Man guy, and even Indy 4 – which people act as if I am when I'm not – I'm simply the defender among a large group of those who didn't like it who I think have bad reasons. I believe "Wanted" didn't work, not simply on the base level of 'I've seen that before', but because the characters weren't given nearly enough care to find what they do interesting. The action sequences weren't nearly as bizarre or unique as I'd hoped. And again, you may attack me for it later because I bet its humor wont reach you as well – the action of Speed Racer is a zillion times more visual, unique and hilarious to me. "Wanted" action wise for me is like getting on the bumper cars after spending 2 hours on a bobsled track.

    Reply
  23. "Doomsday… sweater made of a zillion different movie threads to the point it makes one new color etc etc"

    That's true to a point, but if someone said they thought Doomsday was basically a hydrid of "Escape from New York" and "Mad Max," I would have a hard time disagreeing. Still, I loved it.

    Reply
  24. also to add to Andrews "Do not watch" list: I get the feeling you don't particularly like much on Adult Swim, especially not Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job.

    Reply
  25. "I’m assuming this goes back to Iron Man"

    It's not just "Iron Man." Seriously. If I wanted to sit here and think about it and make a list, I bet I could come up with about 50 movies that use the same tactic of either having the hero fight a gigantic CGI creature (both of them look identical in HB1 and HB2 by the way) or hundreds of CGI characters all at once. It's tired and I'm sick of it. I'm sure the general movie-going populace never will. Hence, we'll continue to see it until the end of time.

    Neither Doomsday nor Wanted does this and they come up with neat ideas for who the hero will fight and how the fight will be played out. Wasn't there a bad-ass guy who's really good at swordplay in HB1? I think so.

    Reply
  26. "That’s true to a point, but if someone said they thought Doomsday was basically a hydrid of “Escape from New York” and “Mad Max,” I would have a hard time disagreeing. Still, I loved it."

    Well, I'm just going to have to see how well it cribs. The quality of performance is pretty key – how much zeal they have towards what they're doing.

    I've also never seen Mad Max. I'm really not much of a Mel Gibson fan at all, it's one of those things I simply never wanted to pay for myself. I'll have to find it at the library in order to see it…

    …which reminds me Andrew, I finally saw the Illusionist. It was solid. I think the bigger twist for me at the end wasn't the twist itself, but that there was a twist at all. I can credit the director for making me think they weren't going to go there. On the downside, maybe one could argue that the twist is more forced, because I mean, they never explain his more complex hologram type thing when they round everything up. I wasn't bothered by it though. Its a pretty straightforward sorta-suspense movie with good actors, an interesting setting, looks good, nice score. Since everyone compares to the Prestige I have to say I vastly prefer Nolan's film, but at the same time its unfortunate they are compared, because they both have entirely different storytelling. Prestige gets more credit because its the more ambitious and complex story. Nothing wrong with the Illusionist being the more straightforward entertainment-based film.

    Reply
  27. I with you Goon on the "Sometimes it feels like a clumsy rip-off" vesus "Sometimes it feels like a fine weave of hommage and gentle repurposing" – I wish I could articulate the difference between the two.

    I won't dispute WallE being better for its brew of E.T., 2001, Alien, Idiocracy, and various silent Keaton/Chaplin films.

    And I'll say that the Ironman film is all the worse for cribbing from Robocop (even if Robocop was in fact inspired by the Ironman Comics).

    Call it a cinematic palette. I know what tastes good and what tastes off.

    Wanted, Ironman, Lady in the Water, I Am Legend = Off. (Transformers is way too obviously a bad movie)

    Hellboy, WallE, Doomsday, The Happening, The Strangers = On.

    Reply
  28. "(both of them look identical in HB1 and HB2 by the way)"

    I watched Hellboy again last night and like X2 is to X-Men 1, I find the sequel makes the first one better. And I disagree. Similar yes, identical hardly. And again, theres a difference. I dont really care so much for the tentacle monster in H1 because its only hinted at and the action there is too brief and kind of 'meh' looking. In Hellboy 2 while the fight is going on they have a baby to be looked after, both seriously and comedically, the Prince tempting Hellboy and making it an ethical decision, the monster is a lot better looking, theres a crowd watching, and the aftermath is beautiful. My impression of these monsters goes beyond the base level of design, its all about circumstances, the stakes, etc. You're trying to turn it into a base level list of movies that have X vs X. When you do that, you can really throw the baby out with the bathwater and basically damn hundreds of movies that you like and even own. its all about execution, what you feel about the people fighting, subtext, the whole package.

    Even if you can make a list of 50, and be my guest try, I am certain even the bad ones on the list (of which I bet will be most if not many) have at least one thing going on which sets them apart from each other.

    One thing I didn't like as much in HB2 was when he fought a zillion Tooth Fairies, becuase the 'BUGS!' thing really has been done a bunch of times before. Still, what sets it apart from when the Mummy 3 inevitably trots that turd out, is that at least HB2's have a specific design, are shown to squish a specific way, and are even allowed specific character traits and a funny reappearance that will probably increase my enjoyment of that first scene when I watch it again.

    Reply
  29. Surprised you like Illusionist Goon. I like it quite a bit too. Upon further viewings it doesn't quite hold up, but the performances are awesome (especially Giamatti and Sewell). And it looks really nice. Love the cinematography in that one.

    As I've watched The Prestige a couple of times, it's grown on me. The sci-fi element towards the end sort of threw me for a loop. I sort of wish they had kept it simple, like Illusionist.

    Reply
  30. Just to clarify, I'm not a big fan of the X movies either. I'll take Shinobi over these any day.

    As for sequences with millions of bugs… UGH! That was the worst scene in King Kong. Just fire your gun in the air and hope to hit a couple of them. It was lame. I liked it when they showed the tooth fairy up close; complete with sound effects. Very cool. As soon as there were millions of them = been there done that/unbelievable and stupid.

    Reply
  31. "I wish I could articulate the difference between the two."

    We need to invent a word or phrase about it. "repackaging" has always sounded bad when used in a critique, but below that would probably be "remarketing". Thats what Wanted felt like to me.

    I could shake my hands a zillion times for the Robocop thing, I still feel like its one hell of a poor and false excuse, but there's nothing I can do about it but waste more space. The only thing they have in common is a robotic man in a suit, and that if that is the standard for cribbing, oh man a lot of people should have lawsuits coming.

    Tony Stark is modeled off of Howard Hughes and James Bond. Robocop is a dead man being tortured and abused by a large company, ungraceful and brutish. Iron Man is sleek, modern, smart, his own inventor and developer. If you really are desperate to compare those basic Iron Man sided traits to any other recent film character, you'd be much better served citing the Rocketeer.

    Reply
  32. "As for sequences with millions of bugs… UGH! That was the worst scene in King Kong. Just fire your gun in the air and hope to hit a couple of them. It was lame."

    I loved the bug scene in King Kong. I will agree that they were killed way too easily, but I simply have to love something that successfully repulsed me like those bugs. The only other movie in the last decade that made me sick like that was when Steve-O put a leech on his eyeball in Jackass 2… and that actually happened, so I have to give Jackson credit for being the only one who managed to truly gross me out.

    Reply
  33. I'm a big supporter of "The Illusionist" and though Nolan's film is better all around, the love story behind "The Illusionist" appeals to me more than the message of the sacrifices necessary for success. They're similar in that they both have a similar story of illusion and magic but that's where the comparisons end. I like them both, for different reasons.

    Reply
  34. I certainly didn't hate THE ILLUSIONIST, but it does indeed suffer by comparison to THE PRESTIGE. I like my movies a little stickier than straightforward, and for the most part Norton seems to sleep thru his role (Sewell and Giamatti and Biel are great though) compared to Jackman, Bale, Bowie and Caine all at the top of their games.

    In fact, THE PRESTIGE in a round about way makes me sad that Nolan is going to keep making Batman films. I'm sure The Dark Knight will be an enjoyable film, but I'd rather more original type projects like The Prestige and Memento, or even an occasional foreign-language remake like Insomnia than a comic book franchise….

    Reply
  35. I should add on that yes Kurt, I know your Robocop cite also includes Iron Monger, to which i say again, Monger predates the Ed-209's and is drastically unfair to compare to. Besides, it too is under the control of a smart developer/engineer. If you think Robocop is still being cribbed from in that sense, you might as well also say Power Rangers, or Voltron, or Steel, or even Ripley in the Loader, is being cribbed from. And monger predates each of those as well. Its one hell of a stretch.

    I mean, if citing other movies with big metal men is supposed to make points against it, then every new zombie movie is a ripoff, every new vampire movie is a ripoff, and we have to begin that journey of tracking down the originals and again, throwing out a zillion babies with the bathwater.

    Reply
  36. Robocop to Ironman comparisons

    Ironmonger was like ED-209 clumsy and inelegant vs. human-in-suit.

    Big Corporation making military weapons. Corporate politics and misogynistic officers (I'm comparing Bob Morden to Tony Stark and Ronny Cox to Jeff Bridges)

    Mechanically relying on suit (Ironman's power-heart, Robocops reconstruction)

    "Notice in the recent Iron Man film having the ‘field test’ sequence divided across first escaping the middle-east where the excessive direct-shooting followed by lumbering slugfest echoing the convenience store shoot-out, and secondly Stark re-entering with the Mark 3 suit where the film borrows the hostage targeting gag (with head shots of nameless terrorists replacing the castration – Welcome to the strange logic of PG-13!)"

    Quoting from my own review:

    "On a personal note, one of the biggest distastes I had the with film were that many of the visual elements/scenes in the film: the tongue-in-cheek satire of corporations, the privatization of might, the egos of billionaire business tycoons and men-in-robot-suits was all done with a lot more verve in Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop. Wasn’t Iron Monger just a glorified ED209? The autotargetting hostage situation, the pull the man through the drywall, the awkward suit-movements all reminded me of a movie that was simply better at doing what it did at hero-making."

    the similarities didn't kill Ironman, it was the Marvel-Formula filmmaking, this was another few straws on the pile though…

    Reply
  37. Kurt, I don't see why you'd fret about Nolan. He's made 6 films in 10 years, and has said he wouldnt make more than 3 Batman films. The Prestige doesn't feel that long ago, does it? I'm betting there'll be another "regular" Nolan film before Batman Begins 3 or whateverthefuckitllbecalled… and besides, you havent seen Dark Knight yet and have no idea what kind of new tricks he may bring to it. I'd give DK a chance before lamenting Nolan. Taking away the Batman films, 4 films from a director of his caliber in 10 years is still an achievement.

    Reply
  38. Yea, but only 3 films in the last 6 years, and two of 'em were Batman flicks.

    (Actually, The Prestige does feel like a long time ago!)

    Agreed that Nolan does produce quality and has a great track record. His contemporary (well at least in my mind) David Fincher isn't exactly popping films out quickly either, although the 1-2 punch of Zodiac-Bengamin Button is a welcome sign.

    Reply
  39. "Ironmonger was like ED-209 clumsy and inelegant vs. human-in-suit."

    As I've stated, Tony Stark is much more than 'human in suit' – own creator, developer, savior, with a playboy personality.

    "Big Corporation making military weapons."

    yes, Iron man is a ripoff of Robocop, because only in movies do big corporations make make military weapons. seriously, you thought this was worth pointing out? Will you be joining Rebecca Eckler's "Knocked Up" lawsuit?

    "Mechanically relying on suit (Ironman’s power-heart, Robocops reconstruction)"

    Now, let me grant you some leeway on going after Monger since you can make the choice between a number of Iron Man villains – but this? I mean it would be like if a Spiderman ripoff called "Web Dude" was made in 1985 and you trashed Spiderman for stealing from it, becuase Web Dude reached the film medium first. Weak sauce, and you still had to stretch to connect them – a man making his own metal organ vs some schmo reliant on someone else to care for his reconstruction, done in some way that isnt really needed to be explained but is somewhat unexplained regardless, and opening the door to a different set of metaphors.

    “Notice in the recent Iron Man film having the ‘field test’ sequence divided across first escaping the middle-east where the excessive direct-shooting followed by lumbering slugfest echoing the convenience store shoot-out, and secondly Stark re-entering with the Mark 3 suit where the film borrows the hostage targeting gag (with head shots of nameless terrorists replacing the castration – Welcome to the strange logic of PG-13!)”

    Uh… what? I mean, I watched Robocop again a couple weaks ago and remember the scenes, but your'e grasping at straws making this connection. I mean kurt, we all know you love to make film connection tangents all the time, but this one is a pretty D minus one.

    Reply
  40. Yes Goon. I'm grasping at straws. Several of 'em. Enough to break the camels back for me.

    It's not the individual elements taken out of context, it is the collective list. I don't think it is as easily ignored as you do.

    Reply
  41. "His contemporary (well at least in my mind) David Fincher isn’t exactly popping films out quickly either."

    Exactly, and thus at the speed he works, his one franchise film (Alien 3) should be considered equal to 3 Batman movies, all of which are probably better than Alien 3 too :P

    Reply
  42. On the zombie/dracula point goon… touche.

    I can watch Zombie movies all day if they look cool. I can watch vampire movies all day if they're stylistic and cool – hell, I love Carpenter's "Vampires." So you win.

    But I still can't grasp the appeal of robots or huge CGI creatures fighting in every movie. At least with zombies and vampires, there's only maybe one high-profile version of those every year and a half or so, but with robots or CGI creatures, there have already been about 5 in the past three months.

    Reply
  43. "Yes Goon. I’m grasping at straws. Several of ‘em. Enough to break the camels back for me.

    It’s not the individual elements taken out of context, it is the collective list."

    The problem is you have made this list out of things that don't hold merit, simply so you can say you have a list at all. I mean its like me pointing at say, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rock, and pointing out their similarities and thus concluding one ripped off the other. You make a small list of tenuous similarities and ignore the differences, like a creationist pointing out the holes in the fossil record on one page when the DNA evidence is on the other.

    Reply
  44. I don't think it is a D-Minus connection considering they both Robocop (film) and Ironman (film) draw from the same source a fair bit: Ironman (comic). I guess I just think that Ironman (film) borrowed a few things from Robocop and that Robocop was the 'better adaptation' of the two.

    Reply
  45. Goon: "mean its like me pointing at say, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rock, and pointing out their similarities and thus concluding one ripped off the other."

    See: Rundown, The

    Scene 2 – *BAR* Enter The Rock, Exit The Schwarz ("Have Fun.")

    Reply
  46. On the subject of film comparisons:

    I once had our local Minneapolis film critic contact me about my reviews. God knows why he was reading Movie Patron way back then. At any rate, the biggest critique he had of my writing was that I compared the movie I was reviewing to may other films far too often. It's alright once in a while, but if I write a paragraph comparing "Forrest Gump" to "I am Sam" and the reader hasn't seen one of the movies (which is probably the case), the entire paragraph is pointless and wasted. Since then, I've tried to limit my comparisons in reviews and just try to explain best I can what I like or didn't like about the movie on it's own; without comparing it to something else.

    Reply
  47. @Goon: "You make a small list of tenuous similarities"

    Obviously herein lies our chief disagreement. I think it is a big enough list, and close enough similarities to hold one to the other. You do not. I can totally see where you are coming from. If there were other elements (Chief amongst them: Lazy Marvel Superhero plotting/story, dodging the Iraqi elements they bring in early on into the film, etc.) didn't bother me such, I might be more forgiving to several entries on the list. Ironman just 'tastes and smells OFF'

    Reply
  48. "But I still can’t grasp the appeal of robots or huge CGI creatures fighting in every movie. "

    In that case its just personal taste then. My girlfriend doesn't like zombie movies, but likes robots and vampires. She'd probably more easily thus call one zombie movie a ripoff of another, rather than an homage. I mean, by the standards Kurt is doing, I could probably make a case that Fido is ripping off Shaun of the Dead. I could cite their similarities and ignore their differences, easily. And we could also make our lists about Cloverfield and REC vs. The Blair Witch Project, if Kurt's targeting gag is so damning. I mean seriously, what is the point if only to reinforce in your head dislike for something that could be rationalized differently.

    Can't we all agree that there are trace elements of other things to be found in most everything newly released, and that if you want to hate it for it, you will find it like a face in the cloud? Shouldn't it be a matter of blatant frameworks vs. Smooth threading, and weighing the quality of execution and performance before finally trotting out the 'ripoff' line as a major strike? This is where a lot of my Iron Man defence comes from. I can agree theres a formula to Marvel films in the sense that the films come from old comics that weren't all that different from each other, right down to name alliteration. but it really isn't like they're all the same to me. Different qualities bring different techniques, draw out difference performances, everything from CGI execution to casting to quality of humor matters to me, and thus to me there is not One Marvel Movie just as there isnt One Zombie Movie, One Vampire Movie, etc.

    Little things can kill a movie for some people, but little things can also make one, and honestly, Iron Man enough right in character alone to put it vastly above most other comic films. The nitpicking of action sequences or this or that, even if I gave you every point, wouldnt make the film less funny as he talks with his house or machines, or less charming as he gets by as an asshole boss. These parts alone are better than anything in Hancock and Wanted.

    Im going on and on here, but lets move it into the Descent, which I guess you could call a vampire movie, sort of. More imporantly its a horror movie. It has tonnes of cliches, such as the broken leg, the way people are picked off, there are many things people say were lifted from Alien in tone, style, etc. But again, the execution, performance, and little things make it an exceptional horror film. I don't care to hear a list of 6 small hairs that break your fragile camels back.

    Reply
  49. @Andrew: "alright once in a while, but if I write a paragraph comparing “Forrest Gump” to “I am Sam” and the reader hasn’t seen one of the movies (which is probably the case), the entire paragraph is pointless and wasted."

    – I take the opposite approach. Either the readers (of course Row Three readers are a savvy and smart bunch naturally :P ) keep up or miss out by the film connections. They are only one element of the review. I believe that films are connected, and vibes and themes or scenes from one are relevant when talking about another. Same if I used a literary reference that the reader didn't get, or mentioned a song or band. I don't expect every reader to get everything. When I read critics in print and on the web (and/or both) I often don't get everything they are trying to say. I strive to though, wikipedia and IMDb are my friends.

    Reply
  50. @Goon: "Little things can kill a movie for some people, but little things can also make one,"

    Well Said. This is what I'm getting at. Some times those little things are what make a movie historically relevant or what make a movie often revisited though.

    Where we draw the line and how those little things add up (or subtract) is simply referred to as "TASTE"

    Reply
  51. "I believe that films are connected, and vibes and themes or scenes from one are relevant when talking about another."

    Some things are just universal and logical and don't belong on a list.

    Like, that large companies make military weapons.

    Moving on, the danger is that if you get too caught up in threading the connections between films, the more you may see what you want to see and try to put together a bigger picture that doesnt exist. yes, I'm comparing you to conspiracy theorists. Thats where that method goes.

    "When you see how Iron Man targets the hostage taker, you'll see why WTC 7 fell so easily. We're through the looking glass here people"

    Reply
  52. "Where we draw the line and how those little things add up (or subtract) is simply referred to as “TASTE”"

    or… as I imply above in my conspiracy theory analogy:

    "CONDITIONING"

    Reply
  53. ugh, back to the easy outs, reducing everything to personal taste. if it is all just personal taste (one's cinematic palette) then this is a lot of wankery going on.

    I like to think we do talk about actual films that one can deconstruct and can look at as something which operates successfully or unsuccessfully within its own parameters.

    I think Iron Man does not aspire for anything beyond the formula, and is fine at what it does. My point has always been the whole Marvel superhero genre is overly conservative and uninspired and Iron Man is derivative of this paint-by-number filmmaking.

    The level of craftsmanship of a film is not necessarily discernible from one's enjoyment of it, because I like a film does not mean it is well-crafted. I need to make convincing arguments that it is well-crafted if that is my ambition, which is the ambition of debating value on this blog it would seem.

    Reply
  54. I like The Illusionist better than The Prestige. The Prestige tries to be way too clever for its own good, and Christian Bale is his usual annoying whispering-because-it-makes-my-performance-intense self. Michael Caine once again plays a happy lepricorn of a supporting character. Hugh Jackman I think is really good and charismatic and emotionally connection-able though. It definitely doesn't work when you make an effort to show the hardcore edgyness of magic, the dedication it takes to perform the tricks physically and emotionally, and then turn it into a supernatural twilight zone story. While the ending did confuse me a bit and made me think, I can't really say it makes me care for the movie.

    Paul Giamatti was great in The Illusionist. I thought Edward Norton was fine as the lead. They almost go the opposite route with the magic, when it's done it's CG, but it's revealed in the end to be practical. I definitely think that the characterizations in The Illusionist is way more worthy of my time than the narrative of The Prestige. And I thought Jessica Biel was really good, a major surprise to me.

    And Goon, unless you can prove that the 'targeting-hostage-taker-behind-hostage' is in some Iron Man comic somewhere, I think it's probably a safe bet to assume that it's borrowed from RoboCop. I personally am with you, I didn't think the similarities were worth mentioning – I think Iron Man is elevated simply by the connotation – but if that's what we're debating, you have to admit that visual cues and set pieces does remind you of RoboCop. Even if the character and everything else definitely is as original as it gets in comic books.

    Reply
  55. con·di·tion·ing Audio Help /kənˈdɪʃənɪŋ/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[kuhn-dish-uh-ning] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation

    –noun Psychology.

    1. Also called operant conditioning, instrumental conditioning. a process of changing behavior by rewarding or punishing a subject each time an action is performed until the subject associates the action with pleasure or distress.

    2. Also called classical conditioning, Pavlovian conditioning, respondent conditioning. a process in which a stimulus that was previously neutral, as the sound of a bell, comes to evoke a particular response, as salivation, by being repeatedly paired with another stimulus that normally evokes the response, as the taste of food.

    vs.

    taste5 [teist] noun

    the ability to judge what is suitable in behaviour, dress etc or what is fine and beautiful

    I think I had to think for a second of how easily the two can be confused or intertwined.

    Reply
  56. I disagree Henrik – The Prestige has far more to it than The Illusionist does. There's a difference between trying too hard and being ambitious; The Prestige is very much a case of the latter. It doesn't bare resemblance to any other film of it's type in a good few years – to me it was more daring than a Hollywood film is usually willing to be. It was bold and ambitious, the production design was exsquisite, Bale's acting was great (as always – he is one of THE best acting talents we have working today), Caine is is usualy very likeable self and Jackman proves he can be good outwith the X-Men franchise. SOME of the ideas may not have paid off (in retrospect the twist is a tad easier to see coming once you "watch closely" as the movie urges you to do as an intro) but as a whole it's entertainment plus a hell of a lot more.

    The Illusionist did what The Prestige didn't – it played it frustatingly safe. At every moment (and this may be because I saw The Prestige before I saw this) I was willing the film to push things a little further, break out of it's sort of "laid back" mentality but it never really did. It's similar not only in themes to The Prestige but also in it's beautiful look (production design and cinematography), great acting etc etc but The Prestige is the far more ambitious and worthy of your time of the two.

    Reply
  57. "I think Iron Man does not aspire for anything beyond the formula, and is fine at what it does. My point has always been the whole Marvel superhero genre is overly conservative and uninspired and Iron Man is derivative of this paint-by-number filmmaking."

    See, this critique I can live with. Even the 'conservative, uninspired' thing – while we may have different ideas of 'inspired' i'd agree most are conservative simply because these are made to please their fanbase who don't want things to be Schumachered, if I can make a verb of him, and because they are expensive to make and thus need to have broader appeal. I think I defend Spiderman 3 and again, that dance scene, because yes, handling the reaction to the black suit in such a way was both loyal to the spirit of Peter Parker, yet goofy and bizarre enough to challenge conservative superhero movie tastes. After Spiderman 2 people thought they had their safe comic book movie experience, a guarantee of great entertainment that wouldnt (it sounds insulting if use the word challenge but) challenge them, as in – they thought Raimi would never present a movie they possibly wouldnt like with Spidey in it.

    My bigger agreement is that it is "fine at what it does" – that theres a certain elitism against pure entertainment. As we learned from this weekend, whats more unique and challenging like Hellboy 2 doesn't necessarily make as much money as dumbed down cartoonish Will Smith movies like Hancock or matrix-esque familiarity like Wanted. So we don't see big budget adventures that take more extreme risks. When they do (again, go Speed Racer go!) look what happens. BOMB. And I'm probably the only one in the conversation here that even saw it, and even I went in expecting it to suck. How do we put down the mainstream stuff when we wont give the risk taking stuff our money? I mean Kurt, I think this drives your 'pass' for films you find a bit more weird, but I can't urge on weirder, riskier filmmaking at the expense of honest appraisal.

    So in conclusion, I dont have lower standards for mainstream films, but I don't give them higher ones either simply becuase they have more money or bigger stars. If i'm entertained, I'm entertained. If its more challenging wonderful but I'm not going to bitch about something that only wants to make me smile and feel wonder.

    Reply
  58. @Rot: "I like to think we do talk about actual films that one can deconstruct and can look at as something which operates successfully or unsuccessfully within its own parameters."

    Indeed, but you can't simply 'throw taste out the window' like a robot. The rest of your post hit the points that few of us disagree on. But eventually, things do boil down to taste, and many of the critics I read have good taste (and yes, are also good at articulating that taste….I struggle with this….more practice required!)

    Reply
  59. "Bale’s acting was great (as always – he is one of THE best acting talents we have working today), Caine is is usualy very likeable self"

    Wow you've proven me wrong. Your argument is extremely subjective, nothing wrong with that, but of course doesn't work because where you apparently see great acting, I see posturing and grimacing.

    "Jackman proves he can be good outwith the X-Men franchise."

    Your cinematic outlook impresses me.

    If you want to see Hollywood be more daring than usual, AND see Michael Caine do something else than his happy lepricorn characters, see The Weather Man.

    Reply
  60. "The Illusionist did what The Prestige didn’t – it played it frustatingly safe. At every moment (and this may be because I saw The Prestige before I saw this) I was willing the film to push things a little further, break out of it’s sort of “laid back” mentality but it never really did." –

    For the first half an hour I thought it would push a little further simply because of the nature of Eisenheims magic monologues of time slowing down, etc. I think it gradually moved into the regular thriller mode so I wasn't exactly disappointed that it wasn't. It may be a case of expectations. If i saw this within a month of seeing the Prestige I may be more inclined to compare them or harshly prefer one or the over, but since I only saw it yesterday I can maybe better view it as its own film.

    Reply
  61. (And Goon, haven't I always said that it is the rote formula that is the key issue with Ironman being a mediocre film? I think our (fine) debate may have put that out of proportion.)

    Reply
  62. @Henrik "If you want to see Hollywood be more daring than usual, AND see Michael Caine do something else than his happy lepricorn characters, see The Weather Man."

    I agree with this 100%. The Weatherman was a very, VERY pleasant surprise for me.

    On Caine there is a slew of diverse (and great!) stuff from the 1970s. I wholeheartedly recommend GET CARTER.

    Reply
  63. "Indeed, but you can’t simply ‘throw taste out the window’ like a robot."

    I agree with both Kurt and rot. You can not care for something but recognize its quality, but at the same time when you apply that 'works for what it aims' mentality you end up with 5 star reviews from 55 year old males for Avril Lavigne albums. There's a fine line between trying to be ugh.. fair and balanced… and speaking from your own personal entertainment experience.

    The problem with those 55 year olds reviewing the Avril Lavigne albums at all, is what sometimes when you're analysing based on how you think it works within its own paramaters, you have to put yourself in the mindest of a person you dont even understand, like assuming you know what the NASCAR fan would like about Talladega Nights. You couldn't get a definitive review for a Tyler Perry movie out of me, its just not going to happen.

    Reply
  64. I think maybe that a general re-hash of a theme in a movie (i.e. zombies or vampires) is alright. What bogs a film down is when the theme is something original (like Hellboy) but isn't sure where to go with that originality and resorts to using derivative sequences.

    In other words, Hellboy is a nice idea with interesting characters, but instead of feeding off of that, they resort to the same old-same old when it comes to action sequences and story telling. In a Vampire/Zombie movie, you're in familiar territory from the get-go, so you're not disappointed when it doesn't veer from that, but pleasantly surprised when it does (28 Weeks Later/Blade).

    Just a possible rationale for my like of zombie/vampires flicks and distaste of robots and huge CGI action.

    Reply
  65. @"Wow you’ve proven me wrong. Your argument is extremely subjective, nothing wrong with that, but of course doesn’t work because where you apparently see great acting, I see posturing and grimacing."

    As is yours…I have no way of definitively explaining what (I think) is great acting. To me what Bale is like in The Prestige constitutes great acting, if it doesn't for you then fair enough.

    The reason I said X-Men with regards to Jackman is it's the thing he's known for by general movie goers. And The Prestige is more generally known than some of the smaller stuff he may have done round about it so the comparison was fair I think.

    (FYI – I thought The Weather Man was great, the best Cage has been in a long, long time and you're right Caine shows diversity there (also see Children of Men for another example of that))

    Reply
  66. "And Goon, haven’t I always said that it is the rote formula that is the key issue with Ironman being a mediocre film?"

    To me, you've always stated that it doesnt aspire to be anything more than a mediocre film, which I don't agree with. I think it is simply constrained by the comic book formula, which is a different more complex thing. I mean, if he broke the formula too much, Favreau stays untrue to the Iron Man comic which he loves, pisses off the fans, and probably only mildly entertains you better. See what I mean? Its a balancing act – I mean you could counter his fanboyness by hiring someone who doesnt care about Iron Man, but then what happens. Michael Bay for example, didn't care about the Transformers, he just took the job. And on the other extreme, Jackson's fanboyness helped make an unfilmable book filmable. In the end what I love about Iron Man is again, mostly character based, and that no formula can tell me that what it does well is anything but mediocre.

    I wrote this in two parts while some energy contractor came, so i lost my focus somewhere writing this post and have to run for the day, but yeah. stuff.

    Reply
  67. "The problem with those 55 year olds reviewing the Avril Lavigne albums at all, is what sometimes when you’re analysing based on how you think it works within its own paramaters, you have to put yourself in the mindest of a person you dont even understand"

    I agree with this. I think it applies to kids films as well. If 30year old males can review kids films, I don't see why 55 year old males can't review Avril Lavigne.

    "Caine shows diversity there (also see Children of Men for another example of that)"

    Actually, you may not have noticed, by Michael Caine plays a happy lepricorn in CoM as well. Even more so, a happy lepricorn smoking weed, telling jokes.

    "As is yours…I have no way of definitively explaining what (I think) is great acting. To me what Bale is like in The Prestige constitutes great acting, if it doesn’t for you then fair enough."

    True, I didn'øt go all-out, but I did explain somewhat what it is that so annoys me with Christian Bales acting. He whispers and grimaces, but not once do I feel like his character is actually alive. He's like a second-rate Daniel Day-Lewis, applying all of the acting-school-lessons, but lacking the enormous physicality that Day-Lewis has, that makes his showcases entertaining, if emotionally empty.

    Reply
  68. …on my way out the door:

    "I agree with this. I think it applies to kids films as well. If 30year old males can review kids films, I don’t see why 55 year old males can’t review Avril Lavigne."

    i think there's a difference in some respects. one, i was referring partially that there are some people who lose their sense of wonder/temporary childlike escapism once they reach a certain age – which i find tragic but whatever, who still review movies and sound either like old fusspots or desperately trying to stay with whats hip, faking it and strictly analysing it mathematically.

    two, 16 year old Avril Lavigne singing "complicated" was a kid singing to other kids. most childrens films are constructed by adults. thats where we get the other problem, are you making it for the kids or for all ages, or both, and is one any better than the others… for some writers/directors, you can only make for kids and adults because they recognize they cant tap into what 3 year old Lucy wants. The shows that usually appeal to very very young children often come out of left field and are low budget, because you cant spend 200 million guessing what 5 year olds want.

    Reply
  69. @henrik: "I agree with this. I think it applies to kids films as well. If 30year old males can review kids films, I don’t see why 55 year old males can’t review Avril Lavigne."

    I review Kids films as they pertain to the value they have to the culture, and how they affected me as a viewer. There is not sliding scale here. Wall-E is a good film by any yard-stick.

    Reply
  70. I like Christian Bale, but what Henrik is getting at is true. There are several performances where his 'tics and tweeks' have destroyed the performance or essayed a quite flat character. Batman is a pretty good example of this. Equlibrium, Reign of Fire. Yep.

    Reply
  71. "Wall-E is a good film by any yard-stick."

    Not ANY yard-stick. It's heavy handed and inane for the last 30-45 minutes. To each his own though. I'm not debating that movie again. But to say it's good by any yard stick is dishonest.

    Reply
  72. Really? REALLY? There are hundreds, nay thousands of films made for adults that don't have the joie-de-vivre and visual wit and social conscience (and heart and wonder and…) that WallE has.

    Sure the first half is better than the second, but the second half ain't half bad either.

    Reply
  73. @ Henrik:

    That wasn't meant to be an arrogant statement, that is where I'm coming from from my small circle in the world, and what the films mean from that outlook. Isn't that why folks read blogs? Or print?

    It's a goodly part of why I read reviews and a goodly part of why I write 'em.

    Reply
  74. @"I like Christian Bale, but what Henrik is getting at is true. There are several performances where his ‘tics and tweeks’ have destroyed the performance or essayed a quite flat character. Batman is a pretty good example of this. Equlibrium, Reign of Fire. Yep."

    I'm not saying that EVERYTHING the guy touches is gold but when he's on he's REALLY on. Notice that the performances which aren't the best or are plain mediocre are from movies where the performances don't really matter all that much in relation to other elements – Equilibrium; a flawed but still very entertaining film with admirable intentions. Bale isn't the greatest he's every been here but like I say the film doesn't call for fantastic performances from anyone. Reign of Fire – The only thing I have seen Bale in where I didn't really like the film. I thought this one was one of the cinematic definitions of lazy and all round mediocre. Laurel Canyon was a big dissapointment for me; it had an amazing cast (Bale, McDormand, Beckensale) and yet the whole thing seemed pointless to me.

    But when you look at stuff like American Psycho – the best Bale has been in my opinion – how can you NOT say he's anything short of amazing at what he does? Same goes for The Machinist – aside from the performance (making him seem real etc) the kind of dedication Bale put forth for that role is astonishing; then he puts over 100 punds back ON in little over a year to play Batman, a role which he was perfect for – getting an actor who looks and sounds the part as well has some serious acting ability was a wise decision.

    *Other notable great performances from Bale – Rescue Dawn (there's that dedication again), 3:10 To Yuma, The New World (one of the few elements of that film I actually liked), Harsh Times (took an otherwise cliched character and brought depth and realism to it). Heck even in the sub-par-to-outright-bad remake of Shaft, Bale was very good.

    Reply
  75. Andrew sounds like one of these people from this article:

    http://www.avclub.com/content/blog/your_guide_to_

    I just hope you realize your beloved… ugh.. Cars, could also be nitpicked as heavy handed and inane if you want to look it at that way, that city folk are self centred and live too fast, and literally in the case of "Cars", only see the midwest as something they have to get across to do something more important. the town folk are earnest, forgotten, and need to be listened to and placated to restore some past vision of the ideal. patriotic nostalgia. You could really look at it as quite a conservative film if thats the game we're gonna play. it's very much plotted like Doc Hollywood, and even has redneck, race baitin, gay bashin phony Daniel "Larry the Cable Guy" Whitney as the secondary character.

    Reply
  76. Christian Bale:

    American Psycho – Grimacing. Hamming it up, not once do I actually feel like he is thinking a thought, processing anything. He hits his marks, and acts the hell out of his skull, but never becomes authentic. Talks as if his tongue is too big for his mouth, laughs without having fun.

    The Machinist – While dedication is admirable, there is little point in the method, if it doesn't get you into the mindset of the character. Again here, he seems to be performing more so than living.

    Reign of Fire – I don't remember he was in this, which is a good sign. He didn't annoy the hell out of me. I don't remember much of the film, other than Van Zan jumping in slowmotion with an axe cleaving a dragons head.

    Batman Begins – Horrible as Bruce Wayne. This is among the most put on performances I have ever seen, but the whole movie to me feels extremely fake. As Batman he at least looks good in profile, and has his moments ("Backup" that shot looks like batman), but when he faces the camera he looks ridiculous, and when he talks his tongue seems even bigger than it does as Bruce Wayne. I wish they had picked Cillian Murphy, that guy is interesting on screen, no matter what he does. Christian Bale seems to be so scared that he's not interesting that he's overcompensating to the nth degree, much in the tradition of Brad Pitt, George Clooney etc. I suspect they all studied Daniel Day-Lewis.

    Covered The Prestige.

    3:10 to Yuma – At least there are scenes in this where he stops whispering. But in particular the scene where he's upstairs with the kid, his put-on whispering-for-whisperings-sake-because-they-told-me-its-intense completely ruins any sort of genuine emotion he's supposed to portray. If somebody asked me what the problem with Christian Bale was, this is probably the scene to play.

    Rescue Dawn – More good scenes than in 3:10 to Yuma. Outside of the astonishing first 3 minutes, it's a pretty bad movie (am I the only one who thought the 'Chicken Run' aspect was taken a bit too far with this? Who's scared of the guards in this?). Not his fault for the most part, I think this is the best performance I've seen him do.

    All in all, if I were to hire a sideshow attraction that could 'act' on demand from paying customers, he'd be on the top of the list. If I was making a movie where I wanted the audience to be emotionally engaged in a character, he'd be at the bottom.

    Reply
  77. "American Psycho – Grimacing. Hamming it up, not once do I actually feel like he is thinking a thought, processing anything. He hits his marks, and acts the hell out of his skull, but never becomes authentic. Talks as if his tongue is too big for his mouth, laughs without having fun."

    ahem.

    "There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable… I simply am not there."

    dont let the point of the movie get in the way of your argument or anything.

    Reply
  78. @Henrik,

    (@ AP comment) – I don't think this movie was aiming for realism, do you? It's almost like a dream in a way, a sadistic and ugly dream where each scene feels like it's conjured. And it's a great formula – isn't acting "the hell out of his skull" the point of any actor? To ACT?

    (@ The Machinist comment) – How does it not get him into the mindset of the character? If anything this is Bale's most believable character/performance to date. Yes it may seem a bit "WOW" with how skinny he is but you really feel for the guy and can believe the things he's going through (the confusion he's feelings and of course his physical condition). At least 'I' can.

    (@ Batman Begins comment) – Wow, just wow. I can't see how you would think that Bale is terrible in this role. He puts across so much when he's Bruce Wayne, really convinces you of what he's been through with his parents being killed etc and completely fits the bill when he dons the Batsuit.

    (@ 3:10 To Yuma comment) – As a massive fan of Bale I can't remember much of his performances when he "whispers" as you say. He does do it here but that's because of the context (ie. when he's in the room with his wife and everyone else is in the other room, Crowe's character etc, – he keeps his voice down because of what he's discussing).

    (@ Rescue Dawn comment) – This is a BAD movie? Seriously? Herzog took his documentary (although looking at them side by side RD feels more like the documentary than 'Little Dieter Needs To Fly' does) and took it a step further, bringing a humanistic story to the big-screen, to HOLLYWOOD, in a way that only the man behind the marvel that is Aguirre, Wrath of God could. If you watch those scenes where the guards are abusing him you can see it's actually Bale who's doing it, particuarly the part where they dunk him under the water, – that's no stuntman, that's no CGI – that's Bale, THAT'S dedication ONCE again (psst…check out the degradation of him as the movie goes on).

    "All in all, if I were to hire a sideshow attraction that could ‘act’ on demand from paying customers, he’d be on the top of the list. If I was making a movie where I wanted the audience to be emotionally engaged in a character, he’d be at the bottom."

    Oh my. Isn't "acting on demand" an actors freakin' job? That statement could be applied to Day-Lewis just as easily as you've applied it to Bale (and I'm not knocking Day-Lewis who is ALSO one of the greatest acting talents we have working today). No matter what anyone says they will never be able to convince me that Bale ISN'T just that damn good.

    Reply
  79. Nah I am aware of the pseudo-philosophy of AP, and it would have been convincing if Christian Bale hadn't been acting the same way ever since. The film stands and falls with wether or not Christian Bale manages to make the shell interesting, and for me, it's not. I admit to putting the 'laughing without having fun'-bit in as bait.

    "isn’t acting “the hell out of his skull” the point of any actor? To ACT?"

    Some people seem to think so. I'm not interested in watching a performance though, I'm interested in watching people interact. Fake people as the case may be in the case of fiction, but people none-the-less.

    "That statement could be applied to Day-Lewis just as easily as you’ve applied it to Bale"

    Most definitely. They both suffer from the same flaws, but I think Daniel Day-Lewis pulls it off better, because he is able to portray so much physicality and brutality in his performances. He's simply so big and huge that it becomes comical and entertaining. Let me be clear though; in his younger days this wasn't always the case. There are some of his performances that strangely don't hold this aspect, but definitely in later years, it's all he's doing.

    And yeah, Rescue Dawn is pretty bad. Goes on for along time with all the chicken run plotting and deceiving etc. Christian Bale on his own doesn't do hold your interest in the jungle. If it wasn't for Klaus Badelt, it would have been extremely disappointing, now, it's just a mere dull experience. Apart from the first 3 minutes of course, which I can't get enough of.

    Reply
  80. I'm pretty sure targeting computers were first used in Air Wolf. Yet another straw to break Robocop's back.

    I take the opposite approach. Either the readers (of course Row Three readers are a savvy and smart bunch naturally :P ) keep up or miss out by the film connections. They are only one element of the review.

    But don't you always admit that you are a crappy writer? :D

    Reply
  81. Yes it's condescending. When people think you are crazy, they may ask you, "What color is the sky in your world?" But in your case, I already know you're nuts, so I'm just guessing at the color of the sky in your world: <font color="#001ED1">purple</font>.

    Reply
  82. Andrew, you are my go-to guy for advice on summer blockbusters, you are the one person who represents people not so easily endeared to the same old. On your advice I am staying clear of Hellboy II.

    its weird though, because on art films we differ significantly. For art films I will rely on Kurt. unless the word 'original' or phrase 'trying something new' comes into the review then I know something other than Henrik is rotten in Denmark.

    Reply
  83. "unless the word ‘original’ or phrase ‘trying something new’ comes into the review then I know something other than Henrik is rotten in Denmark."

    Please explain.

    Reply
  84. OH, I thought Shane black came up with that one for Last Action Hero: *Cue Smoking-voiced-narrator-man*: "Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark (beat) And Hamlet is taking out the TRASH!"

    ;)

    Reply
  85. I finished Transmetropolitan Matt. It was pretty good, but like I said, a bit too much male fantasy for me to really matter. Quite entertaining though. I was satisfied that we got to see Channons chest.

    Reply
  86. The last part was meant as a playful joke. If you're going to give me fantasy, I want it all.

    It's not a complaint that it doesn't really matter to me. I give the writer the benefit of the doubt and think that he was going for an entertaining male fantasy, rather than something substantial.

    Reply
  87. Well I just came home from the screening and I have to say that I agree with Andrew on this one. This film fell totally flat for me. This isn't the Hellboy I love from the comics, this is Del Toro with too much power masturbating over fairies and elves and it just got way way way to out there.

    What the HELL were they thinking with that young Hellboy? Hearing Seth McFarlane as Johan completely ruined it for me and the attempt at humor was severely lacking. The action was good though but that alone wasn't enough to save it.

    This was basically a kids movie and felt like an audition for a Harry Potter film.

    Again the over hyping of the film killed it and now I understand why it isn't doing that well at the box office. It's just not a good film.

    Reply
  88. I saw this today, and whenever there's not cool action (which was all cool and I liked) or cool characters (which were all cool and I liked, especially the elemental, that's the sort of video game shit you want to see done photorealistically and I'm glad somebody does it this good), it was boring. How can anybody care about these characters, their relationship issues, or take them seriously when they talk about love? Get that shit out of there, and give me more wuxia-action vs. nature monsters, vs. living rocks vs. eye-wing-man etc. etc. That's where it lives and breathes.

    Johan Krauss was great comedy.

    One thing that grudges me though, is that the film seems to so blatantly cater to the man-children. Basically, (and please don't take offense), this film is made for Goon to like it. Even Abe Sapien who is meant to be sympathetic, is a big poser when it comes to liking classical music – the no.1 enemy of the man-children. People who like classical music "have no soul" because they "aren't silly". In the mind of the man-child, all of them will eventually come back to Barry Manilow when down in the dumps – kind of like the "there are no atheists in foxholes"-way of thinking. That stuff annoys me and seems like speculation. But then I remember that this film is made by the man who eats 2 deserts before having his starter – it is made by the ultimate man-child so you really shouldn't expect anything else.

    Here's hoping that Will Ferrell will don the Hellboy suit next time. With Del Toro designing the action.

    Reply
  89. Henrik, there is a flaw in your Man-Child arguement. Ain't no way man children like Barry Manilow. And while Del Toro may like to indulge, he is a wickedly sharp dude.

    The film letting its 'hair down' is part of its charm, but I don't get how Barry Manilow indulges the fan boys any different than Chopin does.

    Reply
  90. The point is that the most horrible, cheesy, lame love song has true value, while the highbrow classical music is just a pretentious veil that 'they' secretly drop when they are alone and need comfort.

    "while Del Toro may like to indulge, he is a wickedly sharp dude."

    I'm not convinced. The reason I haven't bothered to check out any of his serious stuff, is because he comes across as the worlds biggest manchild whenever I've heard him talk.

    I didn't get the point across that I came to the conclusion that I didn't mind the man-child angle. The realization was that it was not speculation, it was the honest opinion of the filmmaker, which I always appreciate.

    Reply
  91. I've heard him speak at several film festivals, asked him a number of questions, all of which were received by intelligent and entertaining answers.

    Anyway, I don't see your need to polarize (that is a favourite past time of yours, judging from the evidence) and say one is better or the other. I just think that Del Toro is playing the full spectrum.

    If you want to indulge with your friend in a bout of maudlin self-pity, well, then cheesy pop songs are a better vehicle. That doesn't mean that Abe's character is supposed to be merely 'posing' with his love of classical music. Why so Black and White, dude?

    Reply
  92. It seemed weird to me that he all of a sudden was listening to Barry Manilow. And that he was hiding it. Seemed like he was ashamed of liking it – the no.1 sign of a poser, acting like they are above something yet secretly loving it. Why would he be ashamed if he hadn't stated he was above it? Why would he listen to it if he didn't love it?

    The conclusion is obvious.

    Reply
  93. "Anyway, I don’t see your need to polarize (that is a favourite past time of yours, judging from the evidence) and say one is better or the other."

    What are you referring to? I'm not saying that Del Toro is worse for being what he is, I don't think so. He has a different perspective than I do, and while I applaud his honesty, I'm not onboard with his outlook on life.

    Stop reading my stuff as hostile. When I attack someone for being bad, I'll make it clear.

    Reply
  94. I was thinking more along the lines of 'Classical Music' vs. Barry Manilow. Why can't Abe love one and indulge in another at a certain point. Why does his embrace of one negate the other. That was my point on your polarizing stance.

    Reply
  95. I would that would be clear to anybody reading my comments. Perhaps if you could be more specific in pointing out your confusion, I can express myself in alternative terms and make you understand.

    btw murph, AGE??

    Reply
  96. Henrik, if you hate the man-child stuff, and are clearly looking thru those glasses at Hellboy, why bother seeing HB2?

    Also, you should perhaps see a few of his other films before passing such blanket judgments. (I say perhaps, because I'm often guilty of doing the same).

    Furthermore, there are loads of stuff that you indulge in when commiserating with a friend that you may not otherwise bother with. I don't see how this gets at a) Abe's a poser for liking classical music, b) Del Toro is a manchild for having Abe being ashamed at liking Barry Manilow, yet del Toro uses this as the 'buddy centerpiece' of the film, clearly celebrating Manilow's sappy love song in that context.

    I fail to see your point.

    Reply
  97. I went to see Hellboy 2 to see awesome monsters, visual effects and good action. I got all of it.

    Abe apparently likes classical music, but it loses out to Barry Manilow. Del Toro celebrates Manilow (the song stands for all the tame easy-listening poppy love songs ever created), because he is a man who loves things that are easy. He is in love with the child, and feels the grown-up is kidding himself and would be happier if he would just accept his childishness, he would be better off listening to pop and get drunk, he would be better off making decisions based on emotion. The same person who would love Barry Manilow and see little purpose in classical music, is the same person who eats 2 desserts before his meal, and this is the 'message' of Hellboy II, to the extent that it can be said to have one.

    Del Toro being a manchild is based on his personality more so than his films, but in Hellboy II it sort of came together.

    Reply
  98. @Henrick

    Hit the bong much?

    Just because Abe loves classical music doesn't mean he can't ocasionaly go slumming when the mood fits. One can love Big Band Era music, yet still periodically slip in a Jewish Rap CD (personal experience). It would be boring world, if people only listen to one kind of music.

    Reply
  99. But only somebody feeling like they've been exposed or revealed would try to hide the cd, and change the tune at the sound of somebody coming. For all the pretentious glory and wonder of hundreds of years of classical music, that he seemingly listens to at any other time, it just doesn't compare with slapping on Barry Manilow. And if you do, perhaps a friend will appear and get drunk and listen to you. Oh, what a hopeless romantic Del Toro is.

    It's Henrik btw. And I don't hit the bong as much as I'd like to. Even though I don't agree with the worldview Del Toro portrays in the scene in question, I did enjoy the line about the body being an amusement park.

    "It would be boring world, if people only listen to one kind of music."

    You are the deepest person I have ever had the priveledge of being acknowledged (sortof) by.

    Reply
  100. "he would be better off listening to pop and get drunk, he would be better off making decisions based on emotion. The same person who would love Barry Manilow and see little purpose in classical music, is the same person who eats 2 desserts before his meal, and this is the ‘message’ of Hellboy II, to the extent that it can be said to have one."

    Well it is called "hellBOY" for a reason. The nature of the comic (I'm assuming) is the divide between HB's childish id-like nature and his ability to save the world and balance his social interactions with Liz/Abe/etc.

    One project of many for del Toro. (Although if I had to guess, del Toro would probably actually agree with you on the Man-Child thing, before giving his complex take on the intersection of his childhood and catholocism….but I digress)

    I suggest watching THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE (if you've not seen it already), and re-entering the conversation. Monsters of a different kind in that movie, and the heros are 'children' but it is a fairly mature work with some interesting political/social/human ideas and observations. On top of being a great ghost-story and civil war tale.

    Reply
  101. "One thing that grudges me though, is that the film seems to so blatantly cater to the man-children. Basically, (and please don’t take offense), this film is made for Goon to like it."

    None taken so long as you recognize that I am capable of liking things that arent for 'manchildren'. HBII has all of my favorite 'man child' things that I like.

    Don't think much of your refusal to watch Del Toro's other work. I mean, why? Scared to see a movie that undercuts your argument? Scared to admit you're wrong about anything? I mean, if you see it, I think its more likely you'll make up some bullshit connection to his other movies to avoid conceding the point, then you are to allow yourself to be proven wrong.

    Reply
  102. "None taken so long as you recognize that I am capable of liking things that arent for ‘manchildren’."

    Definitely.

    I haven't refused to see any of his other movies. But most of the time it costs money to see films, and you prioritize. Seing a warfilm from Del Toro hasn't been high on my priority list. It's not a refusal, I just haven't made an effort.

    Reply
  103. I actually think you'd like the Devil's Backbone quite a bit. It's got Del Toro's stylishness, but (and I dont want to hear any complaints about this) there is a Shyamalan-ness about it as well, in tone, sense of tension, plotting. Not a rip-off, but I think since you're a fellow M. Night defender you'll see things you like in it.

    Reply
  104. The boys (del Toro and Perlman) just got back together at Comic Con and said that they are working on a Hellboy 3 and hope it will happen. Cross your fingers. I love these movies.

    Reply
      • I don’t know, I really enjoyed the first two and wouldn’t mind Del Toro wrapping it up in a trilogy. Plus, it’s not like their doing it for the wrong reasons.

        Reply
      • Re-reading all of these comments again and it seems pretty 50/50. Half love this franchise and want more; half could not possibly care less.

        I fall in the latter. If Hellboy 3 comes to fruition, count me out. Not sure what worse: this idea or another Iron Man picture.

        Reply
        • The Hellboy movie has gone in a bit of a different direction than the Hellboy movie. However, the comic has recently wrapped up most of the major storylines with one giant big finish. There will be a new Hellboy comic series at the end of the year but going in a completely different direction with a different take.

          After reading what Mike Mignola did in the comic, I certainly would be interested in Guillermo del Toro having his big finish to the movie series.

          Unfortunately, the Hellboy movies haven’t exactly made a lot of money and so I don’t know if Guillermo del Toro will get a big enough budget to have it go out with a big bang. Also they don’t have a studio ready to finance it, Guillermo del Toro & Ron Perlman just both decided they really want to conclude the franchise and hope it can happen.

          Reply

Leave a Comment.


seven − = 6