I just knew Jonesy would love Hellboy 2, not just because the flick is full of wild visuals and trippy sounds ... but also because Hellboy loves the kitties. And Jonesy respects that in a bad-ass superhero. And here's some great news for the non-feline readers: Not only is Hellboy 2: The Golden Army a wild, warm, sweet and smart mixture of action, sci-fi, horror and fantasy -- but the movie really gets better with a second and third visit. I initally stood my ground and insisted that the first Hellboy was the (slightly) better film, but I've reversed that opinion recently. And I don't mind admitting it.
Probably my favorite thing about HB2: TGA is the logical-yet-ironic motivation of the main baddie. Watch the movie closely (and listen carefully) and you'd be hard-pressed to actually call him a villain. (Well, at first, anyway. What Prince Nuada does to his own dad is really not cool.) And that awesome sequence with the forest elemental? Very cool on a surface level, but once Del Toro gives Hellboy something to chew on -- that he'll be destroying the last of a powerful species -- the movie transcends simple escapism. Plus there's tons of action, some strong comedy, loads of colorful characters, some really dazzling locations, and tons of meowing cats. Oh, and an animated puppet war that's breathtaking and a Barry Manilow homage that's hilarious.
But here comes the icing: Think of the Guillermo del Toro DVDs that you have in your collection. (Or should!) Virtually every single one is packed to the gills with extra goodies as insightful as they are plentiful. And as far as commentaries go, Guillermo is always a treat to listen to. But there's a LOT more in this package than just a director's chat-track. Keep on reading for a breakdown of the extras and (if you're good) a few nifty clips, just to keep you warm until the DVD hits next Tuesday. Beginning on Disc 1: We have the aforementioned solo commentary with Senor Genre Master, plus we have a second yack-track with actors Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor, and Luke Goss. The first commentary is (obviously) more production-intensive, and while the actors do digress into jokiness here and there, they also deliver a fair share of interesting Hellboy anecdotes. After those (and the movie itself, of course) you can let the director take you on a 12-minute tour behind the scenes of the (awesome!) Troll Market. Then you can enjoy an animated comic-style story that works as a bridge (sorta) between the two Hellboy flicks, a brief collection of deleted scenes, and seven separate "set visits" that get you closer to some of the movie's best sequences.
So that should keep the fans happy for at least a night or two. Then they can leap into Disc 2, which is where they'll find something awesome: The 2.5-hour Hellboy: In Service of the Demon, which is just awesome. Everything a DVD supplement should be. Interviews, insights, anecdotes, on-set footage, it's all here. I'd say more but I've only watched about half of it so far. Inside the "Production Workshop," you'll find a storyboard sequence for that awesome "puppet war" I mentioned earlier, complete with an intro (and optional commentary) from del Toro. In the "Pre-Production Vault," you'll get a extensive director's notebook and all sorts of cool galleries. Rounding out the set is a marketing section that includes a print gallery and poster concepts, but alas, no theatrical trailer.
Also: The screenplay in DVD-ROM form, a downloadable copy on a third disc, subtitles on the audio commentaries, and a slick lenticular slip-cover. And if you think those things are nerdly, get a load of what's included in the Mega-Hellboy Gift Set: a limited edition Golden Army mini-statue, a mini-poster, and a production mini-journal for the collectors out there. And after seeing what Jonesy did to my old Iron Man action figure, I'm keeping this Golden Army dude far away from the gray and greedy paws of my feline friend.
You might not need to go full-bore on the Gift Set, but the DVD (at least the 2-discer) is an absolute must-own. Not only are you getting a great piece of action / fantasy entertainment, but you're also getting hours of fascinating stuff from one of the coolest directors on the planet. Oh, and those clips I promised you...
...and two more right here!