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Hellboy II: The Golden Army August 3, 2008

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Once upon a time, there was a war between humans and some sort of mythical creatures. An unstoppable Golden Army of mechanical soldiers was created to destroy the humans. However, before this decimation occurs, a truce is formed and the army is sent to cold storage. Humans live in the cities and the creatures roam the forests. But the humans forget their duties and piss off Prince Nuada. He comes out of exile to destroy mankind by invoking the Golden Army. His twin sister disagrees and runs away with a part of the crown needed to take control of the army. Since Nuada surfaces somewhere around present day New York, Hellboy and his friends are laced with the task of stopping him and his Golden Army.

The premise isn’t particularly interesting (not to mentioned the flawed culmination) and the script isn’t a gem either but what pulls this film through is the vision of writer-director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth). He picks out a story that allows him to stay true to the Hellboy mythology but also provides him with the scope to fill the film with wondrous visuals.

The strongpoint of both Hellboy movies is the exploration of the characters and their conflicts with an undercurrent of humor. The scenes depicting the humanlike aspects of these paranormal crime fighting creatures works really well in both films. Hellboy, Liz, Abe and even the newly introduced Klaus kept me happy. The conflict for these supercreatures is still the same. They are trying to fit into the world they inhabit and help but despite their efforts humans continue to reject them.

If you are put off by weird creatures, crazy insects and a lot of gunk, you might not like the Hellboy universe. Otherwise, I believe this is a worthy successor (in fact, it is a bit better) to Hellboy and will be liked by most of those who enjoyed the original.

P.S. Some critics have pointed out that the plot of this film is quite similar to that of the third film in the Mummy series that released this weekend. Judging by the savage reviews of that film, this would be a much better watch.

Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer October 8, 2007

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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The sequel to The Fantastic Four is set two years after the original. The celebrity status accorded to the Fantastic Four is making life a pain for Reed Richards and Sue Storm as they prepare to get married. Trouble strikes on their wedding day in the form of a humanoid referred to as the Silver Surfer. He is on a mission to destroy the Earth for his boss, an entity called Galactus that feeds on planets. Now, the Four must do all they can to save the planet even as their old enemy Victor Von Doom resurfaces.

A superhero film requires charming actors but the cast isn’t really right for the job. None of the four actors playing the superheroes are really “fantastic” in terms of their performances. Despite the indifferent make-up, Jessica Alba (The Invisible Woman) still looks good but isn’t charming enough to entice the audience and she really needs to work on her acting. Chris Evans (The Human Torch) isn’t particularly appealing and neither are Michael Chiklis (The Thing) and Ioan Gruffudd (Mr Fantastic). Julian McMahon doesn’t get much to do.

This film is better than the first installment but it still isn’t good enough, considering the slew of superhero films in recent times. Writer Don Payne (My Super Ex-Girlfriend) creates a screenplay where the drama is very predictable and uninteresting and since it forms a larger part of the film, one can get bored by the time film reaches an exciting conclusion. The film has its share of humor that isn’t very impressive. Director Tim Story, who also directed the first installment, keeps the tone consistent with the original. This is still the superhero film that would hold more of an appeal for the younger populace. Kids could like this but adults can keep away.