REVIEW: HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY

 

CAST

Ron Perlman (13 Sins)
Selma Blair (Anger Management)
Doug Jones (The Neighbors)
Luke Goss (Blade II)
Anna Walton (Reign)
Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)
John Hurt (Alien)
Brian Steele (Your Highness)
Roy Dotrice (Hercules: TLJ)
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)

During Christmas 1955, an 11-year-old Hellboy is told a bedtime story by his adoptive father, Trevor Bruttenholm, involving an ancient war between human and magical creatures, started by human’s greed. After defeat of the magical creatures’ forces, the master of the goblin blacksmiths offers to build an indestructible mechanical army for the elven King Balor. Encouraged by his son Prince Nuada, Balor orders the building of this Golden Army. The humans are devastated by the army. Balor is ridden with guilt and forms a truce with the humans: Man will keep his cities and the magical creatures will keep their forests. Nuada does not agree with the truce and leaves in exile. The magical crown controlling the army is broken into three pieces, one going to the humans and the other two kept by the elves.

In the present, Nuada declares war on humanity. He collects the first piece of the crown from an auction, killing everyone at the site by unleashing tooth fairies, and kills his father for the second piece. His twin sister, Princess Nuala, escapes with the final piece. Meanwhile, Hellboy is having issues with his girlfriend Liz, and trouble accepting that their organization, the B.P.R.D. must remain undercover. Investigating the auction slaughter, Hellboy allows himself to be revealed to the world. In the commotion, Abe Sapien discovers Liz is pregnant; she swears him to secrecy as she ponders keeping the child. Furious at Hellboy’s actions, the Bureau’s superiors send a new B.P.R.D. agent, the ectoplasmic medium Johann Krauss, to take command. With Krauss in charge, the team tracks the tooth fairies to the troll market, an enormous city hidden under the Brooklyn Bridge. Abe stumbles onto Nuala, who has obtained a map leading to the Golden Army, and falls in love with her. She is brought under B.P.R.D. protection following an attack by Nuada’s sidekick, the troll Wink, and an elemental forest god, both of which Hellboy kills. During the fight, Hellboy is questioned by Nuada whether it is right to fight for the humans when he too is considered a monster.

Nuada tracks his sister to B.P.R.D. headquarters using their magical bond, which causes them to share wounds and read each other’s thoughts. Sensing her brother’s arrival, Nuala attempts to destroy the map and hides the final crown piece in one of Abe’s books. Nuada critically wounds Hellboy with his spear, promising Nuala in exchange for the final crown piece. Unable to remove the spear shard, Liz, Abe and Krauss take Hellboy to the Golden Army’s location in the Giants Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. They encounter a Bethmoora goblin who brings them before the Angel of Death, who has awaited their arrival. Though warned Hellboy will doom humanity if he lives, and that she will suffer the most from it, Liz pleads for Hellboy’s life. The Angel removes the shard from Hellboy’s chest and tells Liz to give him a reason to live. She reveals to Hellboy that he will be a father, and he recovers.

The goblin leads the team to the resting place of the Golden Army, where Nuada awaits them. In exchange for Nuala, Abe gives him the last piece of the crown. Nuada awakens the Golden Army, ordering the team’s death; the army proves indestructible as the soldiers magically repair themselves. Hellboy challenges Nuada for the crown, and Nuada is forced to accept, since Hellboy’s father was a Prince of Sheol, the Fallen One, a member of Hell’s royal family. Hellboy defeats Nuada and spares his life, but Nuada tries stabbing him. Nuala commits suicide to stop her brother; the dying Nuada tells Hellboy he will have to choose whether humanity or magical beings must die. Abe psychically shares his feelings with Nuala before she and her brother die. Hellboy briefly considers using the crown, but Liz melts it, deactivating the Golden Army. As the team leaves the underground compound, Tom Manning reprimands them. Hellboy, Liz, Abe, and Johann resign from the B.P.R.D. Hellboy contemplates his future life with Liz and their baby. Liz corrects “babies” and holds up two fingers, signifying that she is pregnant with twins.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a wild, darkly ornate ride through the world of half-forgotten gods and fey. While it has a few flaws, those are far outweighed by the brilliant of Del Toro’s vision.

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REVIEW: HELLBOY ANIMATED: BLOOD AND IRON

CAST

Ron Perlman (13 Sins)
Selma Blair (Anger Management)
John Hurt (Alien)
Doug Jones (The Neighbors)
Peri Gilpin (Frasier)

In a series of flashbacks played in reverse chronological order it is related that in 1939, Professor Trevor Bruttenholm investigated a series of murders in Eastern Europe. Erzebet Ondrushko, a vampire who bathed in the blood of innocents to stay young, was responsible. She had sold her soul to the Queen of Witches, the goddess Hecate, and had just kidnapped the fiancee of one of the townsmen. When the search party confronted Erzebet in her castle, all members of the party were horribly killed, and Bruttenholm was left to face her alone. He tricked her into the sunlight, effectively destroying her.

In the present day, an elderly Bruttenholm, who is overcome with memories of his encounter with Erzebet, takes a particular interest in a publicity stunt case in the Hamptons on Long Island. A haunting has been reported in a mansion recently purchased by developer Oliver Trumbolt, a friend of a U.S. Senator with hands deep in the BPRD’s budget, and considered a low priority. Bruttenhom insists that their most advanced team should go: Liz Sherman, Abe Sapien, Hellboy and junior agent Sydney Leach as well as himself (to everyone’s surprise). Bruttenholm does not explain his motives at first.
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Ana, a blushing bride-to-be is met on the streets by two elderly women who encourage her to go to her bridal gown fitting, where she meets Erzebet, who had already killed the shop owner and her baby. Ana innocently comments that Erzebet reminds her of her “older” sister, offending her until she notices that Erzabet has no reflection. She screams, and everything goes dark. Later, upon being told that Father Lupescu was the one who convinced Ana to go to her fitting despite the disappearances of the young girls in the village, Erzabet pays him a visit, frightening him with her dark powers and confirming that his faith is not enough to keep her power from affecting the town. The BPRD team arrives at Trumbolt’s site and sets up to investigate the haunting. Despite a few open windows, a creepy lifelike replica of Erzabet and an old, suspiciously familiar-looking groundskeeper, everything seems normal until night falls and they each encounter strange ghostly apparitions, culminating in dozens of spirits of Erzabet’s former victims. Excited that he may have found a goldmine, Trumbolt ignores the professor’s warnings and is attacked. Ana goes to visit Father Lupescu who convinces her that she should not fear danger because the church is strong and the faith will keep her from harm. She hurries off to have her fitting done, running into Professor Bruttenholm as she leaves. Bruttenholm attempts to explain to Lupescu about Erzabet’s true nature and her allegiance to Hecate, but he becomes offended and turns Bruttenholm away.
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Using his abilities to detect metal, Leach finds a secret passageway through the house’s cellar, inadvertently coming across Trumbolt’s body, drained of blood. The blood has been placed in a bathtub, apparently for Erzabet’s revival. Bruttenholm and Liz head for the gardens to stop Hecate and Erzabet’s Harpy-Hags from summoning her back from the dead while a werewolf attacks Hellboy and Abe. Abe is knocked unconscious and taken by the harpies for experimentation while Hellboy fights the werewolf, eventually subduing it and revealing that it is Father Lupescu, the groundskeeper whom Bruttenholm had earlier identified. Meanwhile, Liz and Bruttenholm are attacked, first by wolves, then by Erzabet’s withered body, which knocks Liz out and takes Bruttenholm. Hellboy is dropped through a hole in the courtyard and meets Hecate, who is perplexed as to why he helps the mortals, and tries to lure him to the dark side. He bluntly refuses again and again, forcing Hecate to take a physical form to deal with him. After Abe escapes them, the harpies come across Hecate, but one is killed as she violently thrashes with Hellboy and the other escapes. Erzabet bathes in Trumbolt’s blood and rejuvenates herself, but she begins to wither and decay again from the Holy Water which Bruttenholm had added to the bath. He breaks off a chair leg and finishes her off. Her death enrages Hecate who brutally attacks Hellboy and badly wounds him, and when he realizes her weakness is the sun, he lures her outside, forcing her back into the darkness of her own realm, defeated.
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Bruttenholm is preparing for his trip to Transylvania where rumors have it that there is a vampire on the loose. As he is packing, his colleague comes in and they discuss the “right hand of doom” (Hellboy’s stone hand); Bruttenholm asserts that so long as evil exists, good will rise up against it, before revealing an image of Hellboy’s right hand, signifying that he will be responsible for the destruction of the world.Hellboy wakens in his bed, admiring Bruttenholm, his adopted father, before falling back to sleep again.4df3f410-fefa-404e-86a7-7d9d462f78b3_mediumHellboy: Blood and Iron is a solid Hellboy spinoff movie, and serves as a window into the past of the underused Professor.

 

REVIEW: HELLBOY ANIMATED: SWORD OF STORMS

CAST

Ron Perlman (13 Sins)
Selma Blair (Anger Management)
Doug Jones (The Neighbors)
Peri Gilpin (Frasier)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Phil LaMarr (Futurama)

15977966_377665005938992_7057322466359487057_nThe film starts in the middle of an unspecified mission which sees Hellboy, Liz Sherman and Abe Sapien battling bat-worshipping Mayan zombies who are led by a gigantic zombie bat. The group are eventually able to defeat their opponents when Liz unleashes her pyrokinetic powers, although she is still unsure of her ability to control her powers.
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Meanwhile, Japanese folklore expert Professor Sakai obtains an ancient scroll containing the myth of two demonic brothers, Thunder and Lightning. Hundreds of years ago, the brothers roamed the earth, unleashing storms on the lands of a Japanese Lord. In exchange for mercy, the Lord promised to give them his beautiful daughter. One of the Lord’s samurai warriors was in love with the daughter and hid her in a shrine to protect her. Armed with the Sword of Storms, a mystical sword imbued with an ancient spell to defeat Thunder and Lightning, the warrior fought the brothers and trapped both demons’ spirits in the sword. Although his lands and daughter had been saved, the Lord was not pleased since the warrior’s actions meant the Lord had broken a promise. In an act of vengeance, the Lord summoned the gods to turn the warrior to stone and then killed his daughter in the shrine.
0-n1m5bgtjim060lfjIn current-day Japan, Professor Sakai is possessed by the spirits of Thunder and Lightning while reading the scroll. The demonic brothers send the professor in search of the mystical sword. After he attacks the sword collector who currently owns the sword, the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense is alerted and Hellboy, Kate Corrigan, and a psychic named Russell Thorne are called in with a team to investigate. During the investigation, Hellboy picks up a discarded katana and vanishes to another dimension that is reminiscent of ancient Japan. Hellboy meets a wise kitsune, who tells him that the sword he holds is the Sword of Storms and that the goal of his journey lies to the west. Hellboy travels through the alternate universe and learns that he can only return to his own world by breaking the sword, although that will also free the demonic brothers. Along the way Hellboy encounters several mythical Yōkai, sent by the still possessed Professor Sakai, who try to steal the sword from him, including the kappa, a trio of rokurokubi, a group of nukekubi, a Jorōgumo, Gashadokuro, tengu, Yomotsu-shikome, and the restless ghost of the Lord’s daughter. Hellboy is able to outsmart or defeat all of them.
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Meanwhile, Abe Sapien and Liz Sherman are called to the sites of disturbing earthquakes and discover that Thunder and Lightning are summoning their brothers, the dragons. They meet the same kitsune who guided Hellboy and are instructed to stop the dragons. One of the dragons attacks them but Liz manages to hold it back using her pyrokinetic abilities. Professor Sakai, in the meantime, has gone to the shrine where the Lord killed his daughter, followed by Kate and Russell who have just survived an attack by several objects from Japanese folklore. At the same time, Hellboy is tricked into destroying the sword by the giant Oni (who faded away before the final blow can be struck) which releases Thunder and Lightning, frees Professor Sakai, and sends Hellboy to the shrine as well. Hellboy eventually manages to trap both spirits in the sword again. As a result, the dragons are sealed back into the underworld. The ghosts of the daughter and the Lord possess Kate and Russell, in order to replay the daughter’s execution. Hellboy accidentally frees the ghost of the samurai warrior from its stone form and then convinces the Lord to forgive his daughter and the warrior, thereby breaking the cycle of their unending deaths. The spirits depart, thankful to Hellboy and the others for helping them.4df3f410-fefa-404e-86a7-7d9d462f78b3_mediumIf you are seriously into Hellboy or even if you are just a casual fan of the movie then you totally have to get this.

REVIEW: HELLBOY

CAST

Ron Perlman (13 Sins)
John Hurt (Alien)
Selma Blair (Anger Management)
Rupert Evans (Elfie Hopkins)
Karel Roden (Bulletproof Mink)
Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)
Doug Jones (The Neighbors)
David Hyde Pierce (Wet Hot American Summer)
Brian Steele (Dylan Dog)

In 1944, with the help of Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin, the Nazis build a dimensional portal off the coast of Scotland and intend to free the Ogdru Jahad—monstrous entities imprisoned in deep space—to aid them in defeating the Allies. Rasputin opens the portal with the aid of his disciples, Ilsa von Haupstein and Obersturmbannführer Karl Ruprecht Kroenen, member of the Thule Society and Adolf Hitler’s top assassin. An Allied team is sent to destroy the portal, guided by a young Trevor Broom, who is well-versed in the occult. The German team is killed and the portal is destroyed—in the process absorbing Rasputin—while Haupstein and Kroenen escape. The Allied team discovers that an infant demon with a right hand of stone came through the portal; they dub him “Hellboy” and Broom adopts him.

Sixty years later, FBI agent John Myers is transferred to the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) at the request of Broom and he meets the adult Hellboy and a psychic, amphibious humanoid named Abe Sapien. He learns that a third BPRD member, Liz Sherman, has recently checked into a mental hospital to protect others from her volatile pyrokinetic abilities. Despite regular visits and coaxing from Hellboy, she is determined not to return. Kroenen and Haupstein resurrect Rasputin in the mountains of Moldova and the three unleash a hellhound known as Sammael. Rasputin imbues Sammael with the power to reincarnate and split his essence, causing two of the creature’s eggs to hatch and mature each time one dies. Rasputin visits Liz as she sleeps, activating her powers and almost destroying the hospital. Myers convinces her to return to the Bureau.

Sammael’s ability to multiply becomes a problem, as Hellboy repeatedly kills it, dozens are born. Concluding the eggs are in the sewer, Hellboy, Abe and several FBI agents go down the sewer to destroy them. Abe is injured while looking for the eggs, Kroenen kills most of the agents. Kroenen, whose mutilated body is run by mechanical parts, shuts himself down, pretending to be defeated. Kroenen’s body is brought to the bureau. FBI Director Tom Manning is angered by Hellboy’s recklessness. Myers takes Liz out for coffee and to talk. Hellboy, jealous, covertly follows them, leaving the bureau unguarded. Kroenen reanimates himself and Rasputin appears at the bureau, confronting Professor Broom. Rasputin offers him a vision of the future, showing Hellboy is the agent that will destroy the world. Broom is stabbed in the neck by Kroenen and dies clutching a rosary.
Manning takes over the B.P.R.D. and locates Rasputin’s mausoleum in an old cemetery outside Moscow, Russia. A team led by Manning and Hellboy enter the mausoleum, but swiftly become separated. Hellboy and Manning find their way to Kroenen’s lair and defeat him. Hellboy reunites with Liz and Myers at Sammael’s new nest, but the creatures overwhelm them. Liz uses her pyrokinetic powers to incinerate the Sammaels and their eggs. Hellboy, Liz and Myers lose consciousness and are captured by Rasputin and Haupstein. Rasputin sucks Liz’s soul out of her body, then tells Hellboy to release the Ogdru Jahad in return for her soul. Hellboy awakens his true power as Anung un Rama, causing his horns to regrow, and begins to release the Ogdru Jahad. Myers breaks out of his restrain, subdues Haupstein, and reminds Hellboy that he can defy his destiny. Remembering his true self and what Bruttenholm brought him up to be, Hellboy breaks his horns, reseals the Ogdru Jahad and stabs Rasputin with one of his broken horns.
Rasputin has been possessed by a creature from the Ogdru Jahad. The tentacled Behemoth bursts out of his body and grows to immense size, killing him and Haupstein. Hellboy allows himself to be swallowed by the beast, then detonates a belt of hand grenades and destroys it from the inside. He whispered something in Liz’s ear and she is revived. When she asks how her soul was returned, Hellboy replies that he threatened the powers that control the other side that if they didn’t let her soul go he would come over there to claim it back “and then they’d be sorry.” Liz and Hellboy share a kiss.This is a seriously awesome movie. The effects amazing,  and the scenes are arranged with the care of a great director and the fast-paced yet somehow somber and dramatic feel of the comic. The film contains many in-jokes that only readers of the comic will get, and actually has the feel of Mignola’s work sprung to life.