UNIVERSAL has released the sequel to Guillermo Del Toro's adaptation of the comic book, "HELLBOY," "HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY" on dvd and blu-ray.
There are some great moments in "HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY," however, it lacks the consistent quality and pacing that made the original film so great. As the sequel picks up, HELLBOY is in a fairly stable relationship with his girlfriend, Liz. But, the romantic angle played out between these two as well as a new one between Abe and an awkwardly beautiful princess, somehow don't seem to blend to easily within the bigger frame of the story arcs taking place. In fact, little blends easily within "HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY." While Del Toro's imaginative world, wherein the fantasy-like creatures of the netherworld live just below and sometimes, beside, the known world of normal society, the focus on the world of the villains, especially near the film's drawn out climax, is disappointing, when expects that it will be breathtaking! The plot is made far too complicated, for what is ultimately, a simple story. There are some wonderful special effects and the production design is often striking. However, the "Golden Army," revealed on for too many lengthy sequences, look less than impressive, and more like rejects from the last "CHARLIE and The Chocolate Factory" film.
Fans of the first film, may find some entertainment value in the sequel, but it doesn't come close to achieving the level of satisfaction or innovation of its predecessor.
UNIVERSAL has presented the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio for both the dvd(16:9 enhanced) and blu-ray, 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encoding. Del Toro's imagery calls for colors and elaborate set designs that push colors to the limits, but the dvd handles these well, without any oversaturation, and generally fine contrast, although some of the detail is diminished during the darkest scenes in this format.
The blu-ray demonstrates just how incredible a difference the format can make for a film's appearance over dvd. While the dvd looked impressive, in every scene-to-scene comparison, the detail and quality of the blu-ray consistently blows it away! Colors and inky blacks ensure that every image has a stunning, depth-filled quality to it, ensuring that those viewers not blown away by the actual film, will still be blown away by the reference, cinematic, quality of this blu-ray presentation. It's flawless!
UNIVERSAL has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for the dvd and a DTS-HD MASTER AUDIO 7.1 mix for blu-ray. The soundmix is immersive from the film's beginning all the way through to the end, and both formats showcase these effects with terrific balance, deep bass and clarity, making it stand along with the best mixes available. That said, the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix offers notably better dynamic range than the dvd in every scene, due to the lossless format and impeccable clarity. Whether it's revealing the soft drizzle of rain, or gunfire spreading around a 360 degree environment, "HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY" offers one of the most impressive soundmixes ever released.
Two commentaries are offered, with Del Toro on one, and Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor and Gross on the other. Del Toro's commentary offers everything one hopes for in a commentary, plenty of insight, entertainment, humor and engaging ideas, without ever sounding dull due to his great passion. The other commentary is dull, and whether one is a fan of Selma Blair or not, it's hard not wanting to yell "SHUT UP" as she consistently seems to take control of the group, with little worth saying.
Additionally, there are behind-the-scenes segments, featurettes, deleted scenes(unfinished) and more. However, the blu-ray doesn't offer these in high-def!?!