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Movie Review: Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Alternate Title: The Red Menace

Story: I confess to not knowing who Hellboy was before I went to see this very entertaining film. I am now a Hellboy groupie. Who could not fall for a beer swilling, trash talking, deep red complexioned hunk of man power? And did I mention that not only does he have a tail and horns he is really a softie at heart? Directed and written by Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) and based on a story by Mr. del Toro and Mike Mignola and is, like most superhero stuff, based on the Dark Horse comic by Mr. Mignola.

If, like me, you did not see the first movie about Hellboy you do not have to fear lack of plot understanding. Yes, I have a few questions about the characters, but hopefully I will be able to see the first Hellboy on TV and can fill in the gaps.

Here is the gist of the story. Hellboy and his odd gang of pals have to duke it out with the evil Prince Nuada in order to save humankind. Nuada's sleeping golden army will awaken when he recovers the three pieces of his missing crown. Along the way, Hellboy 'outs' his alien pals to the world and is shocked to learn they do not embrace them with open arms after he rescues them time after time. (When will we ever learn?).

Tel Toro dazzles us with some visually astounding images. There are great beasties, my favorite being the tooth fairies (not the kind you are thinking about). One of the big battle scenes involved a tremendous creature that reminded me of a giant Chia Pet come to life. There is lots to admire about this film but my favorite was the Troll Market - a place filled with everything you have ever had nightmares about.

For summertime entertainment this film can't be beat. It is fast paced, filled with fascinating imagery and who could not love a scene where Hellboy and Abe sign a Barry Manilow duet?

Check out the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zphI_LLGWdM

Acting: Ron Perlman as Hellboy is perfect. Most of you remember him as Vincent, the lion-man, opposite Linda Hamilton in the cult-series "Beauty and the Beast" in 1987. His work in this role earned him not only a Golden Globe Award, but a huge fan following. Selma Blair as Liz is a nice contrast to the very brawny Hellboy. Doug Jones as Abe Sapien is terrific as is the rest of the cast including, Jeffrey Tambor, Luke Goss as Prince Nuada, Anna Walton as Princess Nuala, Seth MacFarlane as the voice of Johann Kraus and John Hurt .

Predilection: I like superhero films.

Critters: Lots of kittens, cats a few dogs and many other worldly critters whose species I cannot identify.

Food: No time to eat when you are trying to save the world.

Sex Spectrum: No sex, but Liz is pregnant.

Blatant Product Placement: Tecate Beer

Soundtrack: More fun by the very busy Danny Elfman.

Visual Art: Amazing visions by Del Toro.

Theater Audience: I was in the balcony with about 15 guys. I do not know who was sitting downstairs.

Weather: Weather was not a factor for Hellboy and his gang.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I drifted a bit in the middle.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Who knows? I am not at all an expert in the special effects category and there will be many contenders this year.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure.

Length: Under two hours.