12 July 2015 | breakdownthatfilm-blogspot-com
Roughly equal to the other animated Hellboy feature
When a live-action movie comes out and then an animated TV movie, this leads mostly to the popular character having its own television series. But for Hellboy (2004), the iconic character went in this direction but then kind of just floated around. How Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms (2006) did with viewings and ratings are a bit beyond my knowledge. After seeing it, it definitely did not feel like a total waste of time. It was by no means perfect with choppy animation, a confused demographic it was trying to attract and an undetermined setting of which it took place but it still had things to have fun in. If that warranted this second animated feature I'm not sure what the whole point of it was. Was it going to be a TV show or not? Or were they just made to hold over its fans for the upcoming sequel? I don't know, the reason seems unclear. So does this entry improve upon the last - not really. It's just more of the same brainless fun.
The story to this entry is about when the owner of a mansion begins to suspect it's haunted. When in fact it turns out years before Hellboy (Ron Perlman) was kicking demon's butts, Dr. Broom (John Hurt) had visited the mansion once before vanquishing an evil vampire queen named Erzsebet Ondrushko (Kath Soucie). Now, Dr. Broom suspects someone might be attempting to revive her. As an overall story, it is certainly not as sluggish in its pacing as Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms (2006) was. It is a lot more straightforward with its execution. However, the timeline placement is now off. For the prior animated film, Dr. Broom was not seen, so it was assumed what was depicted was after Hellboy (2004). But for this viewing, Dr. Broom is around so this must be before the first live-action film. I guess the writer Kevin Hopps is just picking random stories.
The only part of the writing that isn't clear is a subplot involving Hellboy confronting his destiny with some goddess named Hecate (Cree Summer). It's brought up first at the beginning and then flies in from left field right at the finale. It feels almost unnecessary with how little it has to do with anything else. The characters are still as likable as ever and there's a more of an exclusive cast of voice actors this time around as well. Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones and John Hurt all return as their respective characters and they do a fine job at it. Peri Gilpin as Erzsebet sounds convincing in her role as a deadly youth obsessed vampire. Even Cree Summer as the other goddess sounds fairly terrifying. But the fun part is when you can also pick out the characters that are voiced by Rob Paulsen and Jim Cummings. You just can't go wrong with such talents as those.
When it comes to action, these sequences contain the required energy to keep the movie moving. And considering its Hellboy, there needs to be enough action. Hellboy's has to be punching something at some point and making a wisecrack. The interesting thing is, the violence in this motion picture is even more graphic and edgier than Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms (2006). There's animated blood all over the place in this entry. But this isn't the only thing that makes it edgy. There's also a slew grotesque imagery, dead people and a fair share of nudity with demons and voluptuous figures. Is it just me or did the animators really not think this through on who this feature film is designated for? The other animated film could be seen as a movie for both old and young ages, but this one totally denies any presence of a viewer younger than 13. The directors to this movie was Victor Cook (Dante's Inferno (2010) and Tad Stones (Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins (2000)) of which they direct it fine but represent two opposite sides of the demographic for animated films.
The only thing worth picking on here is the animation, which is again choppy in areas. The only sections that look decently animated are the entertaining action sequences. Other than that, all other animated scenes have rigid character movement in body parts and mouth movement. It's a shame when you have animators like Kirk Tingblad and Andy Chiang who have worked on numerous animated projects and yet here it doesn't feel polished. The final component to the movie that does feel well put together is the film score composed by Christopher Drake. Just like Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms (2006), Drake maintains Marco Beltrami's main theme for the franchise and even uses some quite horrifically good sounding tunes to amp up the atmospheric setting at which the story takes place. It's still fun but not any different from before.
This feature film is about the same compared to Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms (2006), with the same choppy animation (except for the action sequences), unclear timeline placement and an unfinished subplot. Yet, the voice cast is still fun to listen too, the edgy tone and violence is respectable along with the appropriate music. The demographic seems more adult focused here than the last one.