Hellboy II on Blu-ray
"Hellboy II: The Golden Army," inspired by Mike Mignola's comics and graphic novels, arrives today on DVD and Blu-ray. The film is one of my favorites from this year. The fabulous Ron Perlman returns as the big-hearted and big-fisted red demon working for a secret paranormal government agency. This time out he's trying to announce himself to the world while he fights Prince Nuada (a beautifully tragic Luke Goss) from the underground elf world. Once again, filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro creates a vivid fantasy world where we feel the greatest connection to the monsters and creatures.
The Blu-ray edition captures the elegant production design and fantastical fairy world with gorgeous clarity. The bonus disc features some great behind the scenes footage. As a fan of action, I loved seeing how the fights and stunts were choreographed. Since Del Toro wanted to avoid CGI whenever possible, this meant that many of the actors and stuntmen had to engage in fights wearing more than 100 pounds of costuming or standing atop stilts.
The on-set footage of Brian Steele as Mr. Wink is truly impressive. Del Toro, like Terry Gilliam, is a delight to watch on the set. He takes such pleasure in the tiniest of production details and seems like a kid just given enough money to buy all the toys he wants.
The Blu-ray disc offers interactive features, but I needed my 15-year-old son and his PlayStation to try and figure out how to access them. The U-Control feature allows you to access additional information -- concept art, the director's notebook, set visits -- as you watch the film. That's a nice idea, but make sure you watch the film on its own first and enjoy it fully before delving into any of these extras.
There is also a commentary track by the always enthusiastic and engaging Del Toro. All in all, a fine disc to add to your collection. If you are a real Del Toro fan, you might want to try and track down the three-disc collector's edition that comes with a director's notebook and Golden Army statue.