Monday, July 14, 2008

Hellboy 2: TGA sort of echoes the human vs nature theme that we've already seen in Prince Caspian and LOTR, except the battleground is the urban landscape of human civilization. It's Nature fighting back in a small, almost helpless way, as the revolt is practically led by a one-elf army while Nature, the faction he purports to fight for, wants no part of his revolution. All Prince Nuada has is his wushu fighting style, a hulking bruiser for a friend, oh, and an evil plan to unleash the ultimate weapon that will extinguish humankind from the face of the earth.

Hellboy himself isn't much different from Nuada. He fights for a people who does not want anything to do with him, their initial admiration turning to fear and distrust when in a pitched battle a city block gets pretty much levelled through melee combat and small(?)-arms fire while they watch in horror.

The problem with Nuada is that he is too focused on a single goal, making him psychotically obsessive and unable to tell friend from foe. So bent is he on vengeance that it's all he thinks about. It's all he trains his body for, it's all his schemes are directed towards, and he no longer cares what he has to sacrifice in order to get what he wants.

In contrast, Hellboy has lots of things to distract him from brooding over his unpleasant future destiny. There's his job, his friends, his smokes, candy, booze, TV, and his girlfriend, Liz, whose explosive tantrums with him are alarmingly increasing in frequency. "I'd give my life for her, but she wants me to do the dishes", he grumbles to Abe, his fishy friend. A typical sentiment of us guys for whom women will always be the Great Mystery.

I like the movie for it's portrayal of simple, mundane humanity that stands out in contrast to the fantastic, bizarre creatures and environments of del Toro's design. Even the constant chaos of the BPRD (Hellboy's secret home base and office) is just another normal day on the job for the blokes working there. Despite our vulnerabilities and what we consider our faults and vices, it's still great to be human.

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