Christine reviewed the follow-up to 2004’s Hellboy, titled Hellboy II: The Golden Army. She wasn’t impressed, but she also didn’t hate it:
While the fight scenes are certainly impressive, as are the creatures (who would have thought of a monster with a cathedral on his head?), it’s just not enough. It’s not a memorable movie by any means.
It seems some entertainment writers are stunned that women voluntarily go to see The Dark Knight and superhero movies in general. This week’s Entertainment Weekly article titled “Knight Fever” says,
A reported 48 percent of The Dark Knight‘s audience was female, and that number probably would have been even higher had so many women not flocked to Mamma Mia!
First of all, just writing Mamma Mia! in the same sentence as The Dark Knight hurts my soul a little. Secondly, I’m willing to bet that 90% or more of that 48 percent female audience share were at The Dark Knight because they wanted to be, not because their boyfriend won the coin toss.
The Entertainment Weekly article, and others, seem to think that women went to see TDK for one of two reasons:
1. “Rubberneck curiosity” over Heath Ledger’s death.
2. Christian Bale and Heath Ledger are extremely attractive male actors.
I’ll give you point number two…indeed Bale and the late Ledger are among the hottest men in Hollywood (which feels a little creepy to say about Heath since he passed away. However, his death doesn’t change the fact that I fell in love with him in 10 Things I Hate About You and so did millions of other women my age.) I’m sure, also, that there are some people who know nothing about Batman, never saw Batman Begins (the shame!), and are only there because they’re curious about Heath Ledger’s last role.
But let’s be honest. With the price of movie tickets being what they are, how many people go to see a movie they have no interest in just out of morbid curiosity? The fact is, this film was destined to be huge. A year ago yesterday we covered the first inkling that The Dark Knight was going to have one of the most interesting and intense marketing schemes ever created. Fanboys (and girls, dammit) have been waiting since the moment Batman Begins ended to see The Joker brought to life. The sequel to the best Batman movie ever made (yes, I said it and I mean it) was never going to be a quiet little movie.
People are stunned by the records The Dark Knight has been breaking, but some of us saw this coming. The intense viral marketing had fans in a tizzy long before Heath Ledger’s death, and many of us were already vowing to see the movie multiple times before we had even seen the first trailer. It’s the faith we have in Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan (as well as the writers and the rest of the cast) after seeing the amazing job they did with Batman Begins that brought us to the theaters knowing we were about to see the best movie of the year. Despite being female, going to see TDK wasn’t about Christian Bale’s looks or Heath Ledger’s death. It was about seeing my favorite superhero, played by one of my favorite actors, and presented by one of my favorite directors.
The trailers for Hellboy II: The Golden Army looked awesome – all kinds of creatures roaming around, giant monster battles, and of course the wise-cracking Hellboy. While I liked the movie, I didn’t love it.
The Golden Army is about Hellboy trying to stop an army of mythical creatures from attacking humans. At least, in theory. In reality, that’s only the last half hour of the movie. Before that, the characters hunt little Tooth Fairies (vicious little buggers that eat humans teeth first), then try to find the source of the Tooth Fairies. Along the way they stumble across this Golden Army plotline, which involves an ancient prince and princess (twin siblings). The prince (who looks like an albino version of Marilyn Manson) is trying to release the Golden Army, while the princess is trying to uphold her father’s wish that the Golden Army not be released. Hellboy’s sidekick Abe finds the princess in a market and she joins them at the BPRD headquarters.
Since Hellboy exposed the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense to the general public, Johann Krauss (a ridiculous German scientist voiced by Family Guy‘s Seth MacFarlane), a new agent, was sent to keep Hellboy in check. The new team member is causing some friction, since Hellboy isn’t too keen on being baby-sat. Add in some family drama with Hellboy and Liz having domestic issues, the stress of having been exposed to the public, and the generally negative reaction the public has to Hellboy & Co.
While the fight scenes are certainly impressive, as are the creatures (who would have thought of a monster with a cathedral on his head?), it’s just not enough. It’s not a memorable movie by any means. As far as sequels go, however, it didn’t completely suck, which is more than most sequels can say. It wasn’t a bad movie, but it wasn’t a great movie. It’d be nice for a rainy day rental, but I wouldn’t rush out to buy the ultimate director’s edition or anything.
Mike checked out the sequel to the hilarious Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle and says that it’s nowhere near as funny as the original:
No, the sequel to Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle is not as funny as the original. Is it funny? Yes, it definitely is, but not nearly as funny as the first film…It’s like they made the exact movie all over again, but substituted some new people.
The Dark Knight now holds the record for highest grossing first ten days.
That brings the records to:
Highest grossing opening weekend
Fastest movie to hit $200 million
Highest grossing first 7 days
Highest grossing first 10 days
And I’m sure they’ll keep coming.
As of now, unofficial estimates for the second weekend are roughly $75.8 million, bringing the movie’s total to $314 million.
And, for the record, it’s still #1 on IMDb’s Top 250 (now with 135,000+ votes.) That’d despite 4,171 people voting a 1 for the film. (3.1% of the overall votes.) I’m convinced those people are Godfather fans who are trying to bring The Dark Knight down out of the #1 spot. Keep trying, it’s not going to work.
I had high expectations for Wanted after seeing the totally awesome red band trailer. Unfortunately, most of the really exciting parts of the movie were given away in the trailer. That doesn’t necessarily make it a bad movie, but once we’ve seen the stunts they’re not as impressive the second time around.
The movie follows Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy, doing an impressive American accent), a perpetual loser with a crappy job, a cheating girlfriend, and a two-timing best friend. While I enjoyed the voiceover explanation of his crappy life, entirely too much time is spent on driving home the fact that he’s a loser.
Wesley meets Fox (Angelina Jolie) while she’s trying to save his life from the assassin that killed his father the day before. The convenience store scene happens mostly in slow motion, which is kind of cool the first time, but gets overused in the rest of the film. The car chase that ensues after Fox and Wesley meet is pretty awesome. You’ve probably seen clips of it in the trailers – Angelina driving a hot red sports car, shooting at bad guys while leaning out the busted front window. It gives the movie a nice kick in the pants.
After the “shoot the wings off the flies” scene that everyone loved from the previews, Wesley is trained to be an assassin. He learns to use knives in hand-to-hand combat, to use the special healing solution that allows the assassins to heal in hours instead of weeks, and learns to curve the bullet (clearly the coolest part of being an assassin). It has a Batman Begins feel to it, but doesn’t come anywhere close to being as cool as the training scenes Bruce Wayne goes through to become Batman. Although, Wesley does have a superhero-esque quality about him, in a Peter Parker kind of way. He’s an unbelievable loser on the surface, and then turns into this badass killing machine.
The plot has a few good twists and turns near the end that are interesting, but overall the movie wasn’t nearly as exciting as the previews made it out to be. Maybe it was because I had already seen all the good stuff, but I just wasn’t that invested in the story. The acting was fine (how can you go wrong with Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie?). James McAvoy could easily go on to do another action movie. He was, in fact, the highlight of the movie. I’d never seen him in a movie before, but he’s very charismatic, very likable. The special effects showing the bullets going through people and tracing them back to where they came from was pretty awesome. Overall, however, it just didn’t meet my high expectations.
It’s worth picking up on DVD if you’re a McAvoy fan or really, really like the previews, but you wouldn’t be missing much if you skipped it entirely.