Film Review: Hellboy and the Golden Army & Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Didn’t have time for these when they first came out, thought I’d try them now.

Was not disappointed.

Hellboy and TGA:

Was aware of the basic concept from trailers – and had my socks blown off in the first five minutes. Nice to see John Hurt again – Like Wash in Serenity, one hopes any further films will have flashbacks to bring back a deceased character quite that cool – and the fact that the excerpt worked to establish the plot and Hellboy’s role model for fatherhood, and had a clever puppet sequence to boot rather than a montage of warrior stock footage was extremely pleasing.

Del Toro made everything beautiful again.

Returning characters of Liz and Hellboy cut the deft figures between opera tragedy and comic couple well. Abe finds some love in far more involved character than before – missed ‘Niles’, but Pryor’s performance takes the character out from behind the glass.

Myers disappears from the scenery into ‘Antartica’, despite all the shading he received as a possible successor to ‘Broom’ in the first film. The stressed BPRD FBI rep eases over this absence and hey – we don’t want Hellboy to obey the rules, otherwise he would be Anung Rama. The role of ‘Broom’ is thus hilariously fulfilled by Gauss, with no street smarts but kicks quite a bit of ass for a vapour being. The extreme applications of teleplasty on the inanimate golems let the character really bust a move.

That said, Gauss little monologue on why he suddenly decides to throw out the rules was very heavy handed. We saw him looking at his ring – if he’d just said something to the effect that he’d lost “more than his body and less than his soul in his accident”, it would have sufficed.

The elf princess was good, and it was nice to see Abe gush over someone else than Gauss, but there wasn’t even a chance she was going to survive. And you know things you should mention when you are being put into protective custody? How about: My psycho brother knows where I am all the time.

The elf prince seemed a solid evil-tragedy; he even looked upset when his father and Mr Wink died. And the ‘tooth-fairies’ – brilliant.

The humans at large were similar to before – the agents are redshirts with disposable names like Marble and Steel, and the public humans think Hellboy is evil both on first glance and later inspection.

But hey – he still loves candy and tv.

Indiana Jones and TKOTCS:

John Hurt again. His script his composed almost entirely of repeated quotes, then he tears off ”inter-dimensional travellers, in point of fact, gone to the space betwen spaces” in one badass move.

In other news, Indiana character and dialogue remains intact in that Han-Solo cynic-fighter & presidential academic-adventurer tone that defined the first films. The advancing of age is not a plot point to be surmounted, but a stronger emphasis on the original character not afraid to show fear, pain and exasperated comedy – still hilarious.

The return of the Marion character is another house built on good original foundations, and the fact Indiana both continued the relationship after the adventure and ran away later are extremely true to the mythos. Also, she drives a convertible over a cliff and a three waterfalls. Aw yeah.

Mutt is the rebellious young Indie of this age, down to the dog name, but lacks the education and is acting as Indie’s exposition wall, but is far more fun than only that. La Boeuf wouldn’t be bad in a more knowledgeable role in later films, methinks.

Cate Blanchett as Spalko was extremely fun, every inch the Jones villain. Of course her head is going to explode at the end – its the fate of anyone who wants to know ‘everything’ – but she is a lot of fun every minute prior. Mac is ‘the guy who steals trinkets, before being sucked into the vortex’ and acts it well. The Russian commander didn’t really get much airtime – no scene of his bemoaning the loss of his men, etc, and I didn’t really note his death by ant.

Effects were awesome, setting the same. Yes he survives a nuke in a fridge, but it looks so cool.

Overall, the film’s plot felt mixed up and tangled for the sank of revelation. I could basically understand it, but otherwise it was clunky in places.

The move from Nazis to Communists, and from relics to interdimensional aliens, was a piece of thematic infusion that keeps the pastiche happily alive and well.

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