Hellboy 2: Needed More Hell

By Stephen Cass | July 14, 2008 3:53 pm

Hellboy 2 promotional poster As I mentioned before, I expected a few of this summer’s big science fiction movies to be overrated: sadly, for me, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army was one of those. As I said on Friday, I enjoyed the first Hellboy because of its H.P. Lovecraft overtones. Lovecraft’s fiction was inspired by the cosmological shift in our perception that occurred in the first decades of the 20th century: Edwin Hubble proved that the universe was incredibly bigger than anyone had suspected, with island galaxies separated by vast voids; Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity demolished the previously rock-solid absolutes of time and space; and a cabal of quantum theorists played merry buggers with the definition of reality. Lovecraft’s writing spoke to the dark underbelly of uncertainty and insignificance that could be inspired by new discoveries: his stories are often about scientists plunged into events that are way over their heads.

Minus the Lovecraft, Hellboy 2 is simply average superhero fare, borrowing heavily from the original celtic folklore regarding fairies and elves (by “original” I mean before the Victorian era turned fairies into pretty winged sprites and Tolkien turned elves into beautiful warrior-snobs.) In this folklore, elves and fairies are generally best avoided due to their capacity for malevolence—Terry Pratchett’s Lords and Ladies is a great contemporary take on this. Despite the lavish visuals, it’s all rather predictable, featuring not one, but two, romantic subplots.

Oh well. At least I did enjoy the season five opener of Stargate Atlantis, as Robert Picardo becomes a regular cast member. I’ve liked Picardo’s performances since China Beach, and his character of the reluctantly self-aware medical AI on Star Trek: Voyager was the most interesting thing on that show. Fingers crossed for the rest of the season.


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