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Guillermo del Toro
Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones
Writing Credits:
Guillermo del Toro

The fate of mankind hangs in the balance when a ruthless prince awakens an unstoppable army of creatures and wages war with the human world.

Box Office:
$85 million.
Opening Weekend
$34,539,115 on 3204 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
French DTS 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 120 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 11/11/2008

• Audio Commentary with Director Guillermo Del Toro
• Audio Commentary with Actors Selma Blair, Luke Goss and Jeffrey Tambor
• U-Control Interactive Feature
• Troll Market Tour with Guillermo Del Toro
• Production Workshop
• Deleted Scenes
• “Zinco Epilogue” Animated Comic
• Comic Book Builder
• Gallery
• “Hellboy: In the Service of the Demon” Documentary


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Hellboy II: The Golden Army [Blu-Ray] (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 26, 2022)

Although 2004’s Hellboy didn’t soar at the box office, it boasted a strong enough life on home video to ensure a sequel. That came with 2008’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army, a flick with a more intriguing release date.

While the first movie came out in the relatively quiet month of April, Army hit the screens in the middle of the crowded summer schedule.

Which was a mistake. While Army earned a pretty good $34 million during its opening weekend, it immediately hit the skids for its second weekend.

Why? Because it ran up against the Dark Knight juggernaut. Since Army and Knight competed for the same audience, Batman mopped the floor with the big red warrior.

Would Army have done better at the box office had the suits picked a more advantageous release date? Probably.

Who in their right mind figured that it’d be a good idea to put out a flick with a semi-obscure superhero only a week before the arrival of one of the summer’s most anticipated films?

In Army, a prologue tells us about an ancient war between humans and mystical creatures. Elf King Balor (Roy Dotrice) agrees to allow goblins build him an unstoppable mechanical “Golden Army”. Those of royal blood can control these warriors if they wear a special crown.

The Golden Army handles the humans pretty well – perhaps too well, so King Balor experiences some serious regrets. He instigates a truce with the humans and splits the crown into three pieces to make it more difficult to access.

This agreement also separates the various groups: the humans stay in the cities while the magical folk remain in the forests. Not all like this, though. King Balor’s son Price Nuada (Luke Goss) protests and goes into seclusion to await his chance to return and reactivate the Golden Army.

A time that arrives in the current day, of course. A piece of the crown goes up for auction so Nuada seizes the opportunity to capture it.

Aided by his right-hand-monster Mr. Wink, Nuada stages an assault on the auction and attracts the attention of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD), a secret government group that uses powerful beings to do their dirty work.

Being who include Hellboy (Ron Perlman), his fiery girlfriend Liz (Selma Blair), and their aquatic pal Abe (Doug Jones). They follow up on the mess made by Nuada and this sets them down a path to find out why the prince wanted the crown.

The story also involves Nuada’s peace-loving twin sister Princess Nuala (Anna Walton) and a mix of complications as Hellboy and the others attempt to halt Nuada and prevent the return of the Golden Army.

Maybe I’m just a stooge, but when I saw Army theatrically, I must admit that its story left me a bit befuddled. I think much of this stemmed from the dense prologue, as the film packs tons of information into that quick opening and it can become too much to digest.

Or at least that’s how I felt during my initial screening, but during the second go-round, the information seemed less complex. Of course, that’s not surprising since I heard it twice, though I must admit that matters don’t appear quite as complex as I originally believed.

Honestly, I’m not sure why I became so confused during that theatrical screening. Maybe I was just sleepy that day.

In reality, Army presents a pretty simple story, one that favors the battle between nature and man. In this disc’s audio commentary, director Guillermo Del Toro denies any ecological message, but it’s hard to see the tale as anything else, as the movie highlights the damage man does to the environment in such a way that it doesn’t feel coincidental.

Not that Army beats us over the head with its message, as it remains a good action flick at heart. Though perhaps not as strong as the first Hellboy, Army offers a nice mix of characters and drama.

Perlman continues to delight in the lead role. He seems well suited to the gruff but lovable Hellboy, and Jones gets more opportunity to shine here as Abe.

Not only does this film let Jones speak for himself – David Hyde Pierce dubbed the character’s voice in the first flick – but also Abe develops his own romantic subplot with Nuala. Liz gets the shaft to some degree, for while she has her own personal concerns, the movie doesn’t seem very interested in that part of the tale.

Actually, at times Army appears to be more fascinated with production design than anything else, and I’m not wild about the developments there. While the first flick came across as a good combination of Del Toro's style and the look of the source comics, Del Toro’s preferences dominate here.

In visual terms, that means Army often feels more like a sequel to del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth than part of the Hellboy universe.

And I don’t view that as a good thing. I thought Labyrinth was overrated and not particularly compelling, so the presence of similar visual elements leaves me cold.

Or maybe I just don’t like the creepy earthy look to so many of Del Toro’s creations. Whatever the case may be, Army too often seems excessively fascinated with its own visual weirdness and not concerned enough with its characters.

Nonetheless, the good easily outweighs the bad in Army. Del Toro may be too enamored with his own visual style, but he also brings a strong sense of inventiveness and creativity to the superhero genre. We find more than enough exciting and clever sequences to make this a fun flick.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio A-/ Bonus B+

Hellboy II: The Golden Army appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This wasn’t a reference image, but it largely looked good.

For the most part, the movie came with appealing sharpness, though some mild exceptions occurred. Partly due to occasional light edge haloes, wider shots could feel a bit tentative.

Nonetheless, most of the flick delivered positive accuracy. No concerns with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and the image lacked print flaws.

The film used stylized tones that favored a mix of blues, golds and reds. For the most part, colors seemed good, though reds could appear somewhat heavy.

Blacks were generally deep, though they could seem a bit crushed at times. Shadows offered fairly positive clarity. Enough of the image succeeded to make it to a “B”, but this wasn’t a stunning presentation.

Army featured strong audio, as the DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundfield offered an active environment. All the channels received frequent use, whether for the vivid action sequences or just to provide generally spooky music and ambience.

The different elements seemed nicely delineated and placed within the spectrum, and they blended together smoothly and cleanly. The surrounds played a very substantial role in the process and provided a high level of discrete information. As a result, the soundfield consistently gave us a lively and engaging presence.

Audio quality also seemed terrific. Dialogue sounded natural and distinct, with no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility.

Music appeared bright and vivid, and the score and songs demonstrated solid dynamics. Highs came across as crisp and clear, while low-end sounded deep and warm.

Effects provided the highlights of the track, of course, as the myriad of elements kept the mix active. Those components sounded clean and accurate and they featured excellent low-end response.

Bass consistently appeared loud but it remained tight and never became overwhelming; that spectrum accentuated the process and didn’t become a distraction. I found nothing about which I could complain as I listened to this positive mix.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the original 2008 DVD? Audio showed the greater range and warmth I expect when we get a move from lossy to lossless.

Visuals also brought the usual improvements, as the Blu-ray looked better defined and smoother than the lackluster DVD. This was an obvious upgrade, even with some of the visual concerns I witnessed.

Some of the DVD’s extras repeat here, and we get two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from director Guillermo Del Toro, as he provides a running, screen-specific chat.

Del Toro discusses story, themes and characters, the development of the sequel, sets and locations, visual design and cinematography, makeup and effects, inspirations and influences, and other production specifics.

Del Toro always offers interesting commentaries, and his chat here continues that trend. The director comes across as thoughtful, funny and unassuming as he discusses his film. He digs into a mix of fascinating topics and turns this into yet another terrific track.

For the second commentary, we hear from actors Selma Blair, Luke Goss and Jeffrey Tambor. All three sit together for their running, screen-specific chat. They talk about their experiences during the shoot as well as some character notes and performance specifics.

After the excellent chat from Del Toro, it seemed inevitable that the second track wouldn’t be as good. The actor commentary indeed falls far short of the level achieved by the director, and it often doesn’t give us a lot of substance.

Oh, it proves to be reasonably entertaining, mostly due to the chemistry among the actors. However, wee simply don’t learn much about the flick, so don’t expect much from the commentary.

U-Control offers an interactive component. It comes with four options: “Scene Explorer: Schufften Goggle View”, “Director’s Notebook”, “Set Visits” and “Concept Art”.

The “Goggle View” pops up three times and lets us see visual effects at various levels of completion. We see the “Notebook” five times, as it shows us Del Toro’s written comments and sketches.

“Set Visits” gives five short clips that take us to the shoot, while the “Gallery” appears four times and presents a few drawings for creatures and other elements. “Schufften” is new to the Blu-ray, but the others appeared on the DVD.

On their own, these features have merit, but they suffer when compared to their presentation on the DVD. That release included more information than we get from “U-Control” and displayed the components in a more user-friendly manner. I feel disappointed the Blu-ray cuts out some of these materials and makes them more difficult to access as well.

A Troll Market Tour with Guillermo Del Toro lasts 12 minutes, 22 seconds. During this, the director leads us through the troll market set and tells us a little about it.

Since I still enjoy behind the scenes elements, I find a lot to enjoy here. Del Toro is always such a fun host, and we get a nice sense of the details in the complex set through his chat.

After this we get an animated comic. Entitled Zinco Epilogue, the piece fills five minutes, 14 seconds as it shows an extension of the film’s ending. It proves mildly interesting but not much more than that.

Six Deleted Scenes go for a total of five minutes, two seconds. These include “Blackwood’s Auction Video” (0:40), “Coffee Break” (0:59), “Minty Aftertaste” (0:32), “On the Beat” (0:46), “Prince Nuada Silverlance” (1:28) and “Big Baby Montage” (0:37).

Liz and Manning get a boost in a couple of these, and we also find some minor exposition. “Silverlance” already appears in the final flick in shorter form, so it’s the least interesting of the segments here. Nothing crucial appears, but the clips offer some interesting little bits.

We can watch these scenes with or without commentary from Del Toro. He gives us some basic notes about the segments as well thoughts about why he dropped them. As always, Del Toro amuses and informs with his remarks.

A Production Workshop gives us a “thumbnail storyboard progression”. The “Introduction” (1:29) includes some opening notes from Del Toro, but then it shows the Golden Army puppet prologue via a storyboard/final film comparison (3:12).

We can watch the sequence sans intro but with added commentary from Del Toro. As always, he brings good information to the table and helps make this component worthwhile.

New to the Blu-ray, Comic Book Builder promises to allow you to make your own Hellboy magazine. It functions in a clunky and awkward manner that makes it little to no fun.

Lastly, we find a Gallery. It breaks down into “Creature Design” (174 images), “Mike Mignola Creator Gallery” (67), “Production Design” (83) and “Production Stills” (14).

You can view the elements either individually in thumbnailed galleries or through slideshow presentations. If you choose the latter for “Creator Gallery”, you’ll find a 36-minute, 22-second commentary from Mignola as well. That makes the “Creator Gallery” particularly valuable, but all four are good.

Note that the Army Blu-ray drops materials from the original two-disc DVD. In addition to a marketing gallery, we lose a nearly 155-minute documentary about the movie. That becomes a major omission.

While not quite as much fun as its predecessor, Hellboy II: The Golden Army provides a worthy sequel. I dislike some of its production aspects, but it still entertains and delights much of the time. The Blu-ray brings generally good picture along with strong audio and a good assortment of bonus materials – albeit a collection that loses important materials from the DVD. This becomes a fairly appealing release for a quality movie.

To rate this film, visit the original review of HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main