RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
Coming up on MORNING EDITION, a court battle over the Godfather of Soul.
We turn first to a comic book character, though with a tortured soul, who's making a second appearance on the big screen. This has been a summer of comic book movies, but, says Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan, "Hellboy II" does things a little differently.
KENNETH TURAN: Comic-book movies can make it easy to forget why you loved the original comics back in the day. "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" will help you remember.
Guillermo del Toro, who won a trio of Oscars for "Pan's Labyrinth," has a different approach. As the writer and director of "Hellboy II," he is almost alone in his ability to recreate onscreen the wide-eyed exhilaration and disturbing grotesqueness that is the legacy of comics on the page.
The back-story of "Hellboy II" is that a long-ago elf king created an unstoppable army of huge golden warriors. At the last minute, much to the disgust of his confrontational son, the king locked the fierce army away.
Cut to the present day, where the king's son returns in a very bad mood. He makes plans to wake up that sleeping army. Trying to stop him is hot-tempered Hellboy, who's angry because the public never believes he's one of the good guys. Assigned to help is the strange Johann, who knows how to push Hellboy's buttons.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "HELLBOY II")
MONTAGNE: (as Johann) You have one fatal flaw.
MONTAGNE: (as Hellboy) I don't wanna hear it.
MONTAGNE: No, you don't. You can't take criticism.
MONTAGNE: (as Hellboy) Try me. What's my flaw?
MONTAGNE: Your temper. It gets the best of you; makes you weak, makes you vulnerable.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHAOS)
TURAN: "Hellboy II" may be a film taken from a comic book, but the passion of del Toro - so into the story that he did the creature vocals himself - helps us forget that.
The film also makes us eager for his next announced project, J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" - where del Toro's prodigious gifts will be combined with one of the great fantasy franchises of modern times. That should really be something to see.
MONTAGNE: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times.
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