Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

Hellboy II: The Golden Army - "Let's go to Antrim!"

Working through the Hugo nominees is exposing me to a lot more parts of the sf world: it is a surprisingly good educational experience. I was vaguely aware of the Hellboy comics but had no idea that there had been a film version, let alone two.

I'll be honest: the most exciting thing about the film for me was that the climactic segment is set in a steampunk elvish subterranean vault under the Giant's Causeway. Unfortunately the local colour is just some aerial photography of the Antrim coast, before we return to location filming presumably somewhere in California (cloudless sky, wrong sort of vegetation, and crucially no hexagonal basalt pillars in sight) but I appreciated the effort (as I'm sure the Montenegrins appreciate Karlovy Vary and Lake Como in Casino Royale). The Bethmoora demon's Ulster accent was not quite as bogus as I had feared (John Alexander is Scottish). Apparently King Balor's lines are all in "Gaelic", which presumably means Irish; would be interested to know what any gaelgeori thought of this. Also "Nuala" and "Nuada" do not have three syllables. (Maybe two and a half, depending, but the stress is certainly not on the first 'a'.)

The special effects are great: thinking especially of the tooth fairies, the Elemental stomping New York, and the Golden Army reassembling itself; also Dr Kraus's ectoplasm and Liz Sherman's fiery manifestation. The script is OK, some witty lines, some interesting setup for future stories, but a lot of cliches. The plot is pretty straightforward. I will rank WALL-E ahead of this in my ballot.
Tags: comics, films, hugos 2009, world: northern ireland
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