DVD Review: Hellboy II: The Golden Army DVD

Hellboy 2 DVDHellboy II: The Golden Army is now out on DVD! This was meant to be an advance review, but travel plans, a busy week and little desire to write this DVD review (DVD reviews just aren’t as fun to write as regular movie reviews) means that I’m writing this Tuesday night when I should be zoning out staring at the television. OK, I am still zoning out while staring at the television, but my fingers are apparently typing something that hopefully forms cohesive sentences.

The Guillermo Del Toro action-fantasy flick rushed into theaters with high hopes, good reviews and a great opening weekend. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to expectations, leaving the film to be a victim of opening weekend fanboy rush. Despite a great start, it plummeted in the weeks following. Regardless of its box office performance, Hellboy 2 was a bit of a disappointment for me. While still good, it felt as though Del Toro got caught up a little too much in making fantastic sets and creatures and lowered the priority of the pacing and action. Strangely, this exact flaw is what I was looking forward to in the film, as the first Hellboy was quite good – but not amazing – whereas Pan’s Labyrinth, Del Toro’s Oscar-nominated drama, was extraordinary. I figured a hybrid of the two would be downright awesome, but it just wasn’t.

You can read my full Hellboy 2 movie review here.

Still, I’m happy to have a copy of the 3-Disc Special Edition (no, I won’t go ranting about the third disc, but if you want to hear a rant, go to my Incredible Hulk DVD review), as I’m sure I’ll give the movie a second chance soon enough. Like I said, Hellboy 2 is still quite good, and worth seeing.

The DVD contains a variety of features, some better than others. I’m not a big fan of features that involve storyboards and on-screen visuals that require a lot of reading, and the DVD does have a few of those. In fact, I actually found the special features rather confusing, as the DVD folks got a little too caught up in the naming conventions of their special features. If the feature is a behind-the-scenes featurette, say it. Don’t give it some weird name.

Anyway, while there are some garbage features – or at least features that didn’t appeal to me – there are a couple that I really liked:

  • Hellboy II: In Service of the Demon is a two-hour making-of featurette that goes into incredible detail and provides a worthy view of the production and pre-production. Unlike some of these making-of featurettes that come off a bit more promotional (“We’re going to give audiences something you’ve never seen before” and all that bullshit), this one feels like some intern got planted at a bunch of big meetings with Del Toro and other key players and filmed them in action. If you want to see how a movie like this is made, I highly recommend this feature.
  • Troll Market Tour has Del Toro walking us through the stage that houses the troll market, which is a pretty elaborate set by any stretch of the imagination. Del Toro makes a good host, and his attention to detail is pretty interesting.

Beyond that, there are also some good deleted scenes and so on and so forth, but nothing too special. Overall, I found the Hellboy II bonus disc to be a bit cluttered and confusing, which deterred me from exploring it as much as I normally would. Still, there are some great features on here – and some filler ones as well. Don’t even ask me about the bullshit third disc, of course.

By Erik Samdahl
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