Yesterday, I was coaxed into seeing Hellboy II. I say coaxed because I’m honestly not the action-blockbuster type. In fact, I haven’t even seen the first Hellboy, but I decided to go out on a limb to see this flick, in part, because I enjoyed Guillermo Del Toro’s work on Pan’s Labyrinth. It was whimsical, yet dark—and fantastic, yet mature.
A few minutes into this movie, however, I realized this was no Pan’s Labyrinth. The movie is based on the Dark Horse comic—but in a nutshell, the plot is centered on an evil forest elf prince who wages war on present day humans—and our only saving grace is a group of supernatural creatures protected by a secret government agency.
It sounds good enough for two hours of entertainment. And in some ways, it is. There are some cool special effects and decent action sequences peppered in. But there are also some nauseatingly sappy love scenes, and the writing is painfully cliché. My personal favorite (this is not the climax, but heads up: minor spoiler alert here) was when the main hero is fighting off a monster the size of an office building. Naturally, he has to save a baby during all of this. So, with swaddled babe in tow, he scales a wall. The monster’s roar eventually startles the infant, to which the hero replies something classic along the lines of “Now you woke the baby,” and proceeds to shoot the monster dead.
In spite its shortcomings, one thing that can’t be denied is Del Toro’s creative genius here. There are creatures so intriguingly eerie, you wonder how one person could dream them all up. That said, it’s not enough to sustain the entire movie. In a few months, pick it up at the video store or add it to your Netflix lineup––at most, it’s good for a onetime rental, but don’t waste your gas or $10 on seeing it now.

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