Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Why I Hated Hellboy 2

Let me preface by saying what a willing audience I was for this film -- I love literally EVERY OTHER FILM Guillermo Del Toro has done (except I haven't seen "Pan's Labyrinth" 'cause, well, I'm fragile, sorta, and i *know* it's gonna make me bawl, but c'mon -- we can all agree that its great, even if I haven't seen it, right?). I loved "Mimic" even, I've seen it like ten times. I loved the first Hellboy movie. I loved all of Mike Mignola's Hellboy comics. I even have all the ANIMATED Hellboys that came out between the movies. AND you guys know me -- I'm the guy that finds something positive to say about *loads* of crappy films. I *like* crappy films, even -- hell, how many times did I see "Flash Gordon?"

And yet -- I wrenched the film out of our DVD player halfway through. 'Cause, see, the mix of humor and dark superhero action was ALL WRONG, like jarringly horrifically gut-wrenchingly wrong. The first film was dark -- not, like, BATMAN dark, but it had a moody surreality, and you had the feeling there was some genuinely menacing spirituality going on, y'know? Like -- you wanted to believe Hellboy was gonna kick some serious ass, 'cause the freaky Nazi guy with the metal mask was fucking terrifying and if he was gonna fuck with you, you were GOING DOWN, in a really ugly way. But it was still funny, y'know? It had plenty of laughs, and they felt like RELIEF when they happened.

THIS time, though, the EMPHASIS was on the laughs. I mean, any film that starts with a teenage Hellboy on Christmas Eve is already starting on a kind of bum note (and wtf with the shitty makeup in the ENTIRE MOVIE???) but then to make whatsisname from Arrested Development a MORE MAJOR CHARACTER and frame the thing with his desire to get Hellboy to like him? Yuk yuk yuk, only not really. None of the humor is actually funny -- witness Hellboy and Liz Sherman's jarringly awful fight at the beginning, or the introduction of Krauss' character, played with the most ridiculously off-pitch German accent EVER (performed by Seth McFarlane, that should have been a no-no RIGHT THERE).

And none of the darkness felt -- well, DARK. The elf-dude was lame, and LOOKED lame, and all the sort of underworld stuff felt really CLEAN and muppety, like the stuff in Return of the Jedi, and while I appreciate makeup effects instead of shitty CGI, this stuff didn't feel DIRTY enough, or GRUNGY enough, and every five-minutes there's a horribly ill-timed attempt at a joke, and by about halfway through we were like "do we care about ANY of the characters? Is this as horrible as I think it is?" And yeah, it WAS.

So we didn't get all the way through, but man, if it gets SUDDENLY REALLY LOTS BETTER halfway through, maybe I'll be sorry, but WOW.

I still love Del Toro and Hellboy as a kind of concept or whatever, I hope he can do a third, but MAN ALIVE, that almost was bad enough to ruin everything for me.


MissTrixi said...

We are renting Pans Labyrinth this weekend! Yes, you'll cry whilst spending every minute admire the sheer beauty of that film through your tears. Then you can clean up the puddle that will be me and we'll go get pancakes or pet a puppy or something else sweet and light.

H2 lost me the minute the preteen Hellboy spoke. That sappy sweet innocent voice! I was waiting for them to start calling him Billy or Timmy! He's fucking Hellboy, even as an adolescent his voice should sound like he gargles with gravel!

If there is a 3rd Hellboy, I'll cross myself, then give it the benefit of the doubt and go see it. DO NOT disappoint us Del Toro! We believe in you!


(watch...the second half will have totally kicked ass :-( )

LAP said...

I'm going to inevitably have to see it since I am outvoted by my young, but I will make sure I am simultaneously doing something else.

Bummer. Cause Hellboy is so cool. Did you ever see the amazing Hellboy window they had at the original Big Brain, when it was next door to Let It Be?

Max Sparber said...

You and I are just going to have to disagree on this, Jon, although I did prefer the first Hellboy.

belsum said...

Wow. I just can't even fathom that reaction. I loved it. Everything you hated? I thought was fantastic. Little kid Hellboy? Dude, "hot noodles" is so my favorite Young Hellboy comic. The troll market was amazing. I loved the very Mignola-ness of the creatures and the world. His comics veer from technological to mythological regularly and the first film combined those two in a steampunk way; it was more naturalistic this time. One of the things I love about the creation is that Mignola is so free with letting other people play in his sandbox. The characters are extremely versatile and alive. I loved the humorous bits, like Red and Abe getting drunk. That seemed absolutely in keeping with the comics to me. It was a "drinking with skeletons" moment.