July 12th, 2008

Bowie Hatted

Where the Elves and the Devils Play

Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a good movie. It has a lot of great action sequences; I particularly liked Hellboy's fight with Wink and the battle with the Golden Army at the end. The battle with the Elemental "Forest God" was devoid of tension, though, due to the presence of an inexplicably psychotic baby. Guillermo del Toro is truly a brilliant director who consistently makes great movies, but to him and everyone else with a great public forum for their art, I address this plea; Please, stop talking about your baby. Unless you're going to do something challenging, like Eraserhead, or Pan's Labyrinth, for that matter, I don't care. I'm glad you've found happiness by having kids, but have pity on the rest of us. Having kids should not be Hellboy's reason to live.

The Troll Market segment is as amazing as everyone says it is. It contains the one baby moment in the movie that I actually liked. My absolute favourite thing about the movie was Seth MacFarlane's Johann Krauss. I love just about all the actors in the movie, but none of them come close to MacFarlane's impeccable comic timing. Unlike his work on Family Guy, though, his performance here is accompanied by threatening situations and subtle pathos, both of which are somehow enhanced by MacFarlane's performance even as they enhance the performance. An excellent movie could be made focusing entirely on Krauss.

It seemed like there were an awful lot of references to other modern movies in this one. The Forest God couldn't fail to remind me of the Forest Spirit in Princess Mononoke. The Hellboy incarnation borrows the Forest Spirit's tendency to create fast, spontaneous plant growth in the places it touches, though the visual was far more beautiful in Princess Mononoke. And the fate of the Forest Spirit was far more effective as Mononoke more effectively established its significance, its action sequences weren't sanitised by an unrealistically reacting baby, and Ashitaka's statement to San, about the Forest Spirit wanting them to be free, had the more solemn resonance of a wilfully optimistic interpretation of death that isn't borne out by the observable facts.

The Forest God sequence in Hellboy II is followed by a bit borrowed from X-Men 2 where police pointing guns at Hellboy demand that he drop his weapon, not realising the weapon is part of his body. I'm hoping the extended edition of Hellboy II explains the abrupt shift in the public reaction to Hellboy from a state where everyone wanted his autograph to a state where he's apparently reviled completely by every passer-by. As it is, the moody bits of Hellboy lamenting his freakishness are made incredibly awkward and insubstantial.

The Lord of the Rings influence on the appearance of the elves' clothes and weaponry is unmistakable, but I can't say I mind. The colours for the elves are stripped down to gold, white, black and red which adds a quite elegant and deadly beauty. The opening sequence unabashedly resembles the history lesson at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, so del Toro apparently decided to distinguish it by casting all the players as puppets in the imagination of the young Howdy Doody fan Hellboy. But it's even clearer now that del Toro's a natural fit for The Hobbit.

I loved Abe Sapien and Princess Nuala. A movie revolving entirely around those two would also be good. So long as they didn't have kids.

I still don't have car insurance, or at least proof of it, since I have paid for it. So I took the trolley to Parkway Plaza mall, finding myself two hours early for the next showing. This used to happen to me a lot, mostly before I started doing web comics (I did draw a page yesterday, in case anyone's wondering), so I knew how to spend my time. I got a big quesadilla at Rubio's, went to the book store, bought a book, and went to the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf to read while drinking green tea. I got matociquala's Blood and Iron, since I've felt vaguely guilty about never having read any of her books, despite the fact that I read her blog. I'm twenty pages in and it's pretty good so far. As good as Hellboy II, in fact, which causes me to reflect again on the inequities of capitalism.

I almost got some manga instead. As I was perusing Borders' massive manga section, a skinny redhead woman about my age walked up behind me to abruptly ask, "Have you seen glitter?"

"The movie?" I asked.

"No, this!" She held up what looked like a pink snow globe filled with glitter.

"Er, oh."

"Isn't it great?"

I smiled, "Better than the movie already."

"Yes," she said, the tone of her voice dipping, and she walked quickly away. I'm not sure if she was scared off by my missing front tooth or if she was a massive Mariah Carey fan. I'm not sure why she talked to me in the first place, except my hat was getting a lot of compliments yesterday. It's strange; either I hear a bunch of homophobic insults aimed at me, or a bunch of compliments, never both on the same day. I almost wonder if it's the new Indiana Jones movie actually having a lasting, positive effect on the culture.
  • Current Music
    "I Will" - The Beatles