We're just back from the preview screening of Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
And it was great. Maybe not as mind-blowingly awesome as I was hoping. But it's got giant monsters, elf princesses, Hellboy being sarcastic, an astonishing
troll market, and a gothed-up Selma Blair.
The film wears its influences on its sleeve: The Lord of the Rings, Princess Mononoke
, the works of Neil Gaiman, even the PlayStation game Shadow of the Colossus
. But a gleefully twisted humour runs through it all that's pure Del Toro.
Not all of it works. There's a romance subplot that never really catches fire. I blame the actress playing Nuala, the elf princess. She may have the cheekbones and the English accent, but she just doesn't have the personality. (I kept thinking Cassie from Skins
would have been much better casting, and andricongirl
agreed with me.)
Afterwards there was a phone Q&A session with the director, Guillermo Del Toro.
The q&a was a bit chaotic - Del Toro was in Berlin, he was answering live audience questions from a simultaneous screening in Sydney, and the Melbourne audience got to write down questions which were then sent up to Sydney to be asked by the host.
Still, Del Toro carried it off. He's extremely intelligent and incredibly friendly, and he gave profound answers about subversive fairytales, the symbolism of clockwork, and why the only character in the movie with a strong moral stance is the bad guy.
My question was "What do you think fantasy films can say about real life that realistic films can't?"
It was the last question asked before they wrapped up, although the host combined it with another question about why Del Toro empathises with monsters. His answer was beautiful and in depth and too long to write down, but these quotes struck me:
"It has always been the highest human endeavour to create things that do not exist."
"Monsters are part of the essential bestiary of humanity, because we use them as tools to explain not only the universe outside, but the universe within us."
"Monsters," he concluded, "are one of the most intimate creations of the human soul."