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PHOTOGRAPHY

HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY
3-Disc Special Edition
DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 120 minutes, two audio commentaries, animated comic epilogue, deleted scenes, galleries, featurettes, making of documentary, digital copy of film, and more
VIDEO: 1.85:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO: English, French, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Surround, English DVS 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

STUDIO: Universal Pictures/ Relativity Media/ Lawrence Gordon Productions
RELEASE DATE: 11-11-2008

HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY is impressive and yet disappointing in various aspects. I like the film better ona repeat viewing on DVD (the first since I saw it in theaters in July). So far I like the first HELLBOY more. However, HELLBOY 2 has some good humor (yet too much humor) and lots of world building by showing more creatures. The character relationships get developed and Abe gets a love interest. The new character Johann Krauss is intriguing. The climax isn't impressive as the first film (too bad Universal didn't let writer/ director Guillermo del Toro film his planned epilogue that sets up for the third film- you can read it in the novelization).

HELLBOY 2 follows renegade Elf Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) who believes humanity should be destroyed and the peace (between humans and elves made by his father- the king) shouldn't have been set up in the first place. He needs to gather the three pieces to the crown that controls the unstoppable Golden Army. Meanwhile, Hellboy and liz are having problems living together as a couple. Abe discovers Liz is pregnant. Soon the BPRD is brought into the mission to stop the Golden Army from awakening.

Getting back to the film itself, the production and creature design is top notch. The downside of the film is it's too sappy at times and i wish the story went on for longer. It does drop hints about the next film and build the HELLBOY universe. I wonder how liz will pay for the choice she made. Still I think the first film is a more sastifying experience.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
the first disc has two audio commentaries for the film-
the first with Director Guillermo del Toro and teh second with actors Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor, and luke Goss.

The set visits provide viewers with access to the sets of HELLBOY 2 while I love the TROLL MARKET TOUR WITH GUILLERMO DEL TORO as he shows all the little details you might not have seen in the film(inclduing the parts of the set del Toro didn't have time to shoot). The deleted scenes don't add anything to the film (but still they're fun to watch and include optional commentary by del Toro). The best extra is the animated Zinco Epilogue comic- the epilogue the director wanted to film and Universal said no (and it would have been included at the end of the credits).

Disc 2 has the lion's share of extra including the extensive 2 1/2 hour making of documentary, HELLBOY: IN SERVICE OF THE DEMON which goes into every detail of the film from pre-production to creature design to character make-up (Del Toro said Nuada's sister looked too much like the Bride of Marilyn Manson with the face prosthetic they were going to put on the actress) to the set design to costumes to the CGI effects and more.

I wish the Director's Notebook had a more interactive approach to it (like on the Blu-ray it seems). The Pre-Production gallery has four galleries that include production stills and concept art. My favorite galleries on a different part of the disc are the poster explorations and final poster art. Some of the poster concepts look better than the final ones. Also you can view a Creator's Notebook with optional audio commentary by HELLBOY creator Mike Mignola. Rounding out the disc is a look at the PROFESSOR BROOM'S PUPPET THEATRE (with optional audio commentary by Del Toro) that shows the storyboards and compares them to the final scene and a the film script you can access via DVD-ROM drive. The only extra missing from this set are the theatrical trailers and TV spots.

The third disc has a digital copy of the film.

FINAL ANALYSIS: HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY is a better film than I first thought it was. The film is a good follow-up. The extras provide plenty of details for film buffs and HELLBOY fans. The 3-disc Special Edition is worth it alone for the 2 1/2 making of documentary.

this DVD review is (c)11-17-2008 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com  

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