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As the home planet of the Green Lantern Corps faces a battle with an ancient enemy, Hal Jordan prepares new recruit Arisia for the coming conflict by relating stories of the first Green Lantern and several of Hal's comrades.
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C. Thomas Howell,
Michael B. Jordan
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A professor of folklore opens a forbidden scroll and becomes possessed by the ancient Japanese demons of Thunder and Lightning, who seek to return and dominate our world. The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense sends Hellboy and a team of agents to investigate, but when Hellboy picks up a samurai sword, he literally disappears into a weird wonderland of Japanese legends, ghosts and monsters. Meanwhile, BPRD agents Kate Corrigan and Russell Thorne are on the trail of the possessed professor to bring Hellboy back. Written by
not quite as sweet as the movie, but pretty darn close- should definitely appease fans of the comic book
Hellboy: Sword of Storms is in the quality of animation no more or less the standard one might see on the average program on Adult Swim (Cartoon Network, of course). Which means it's always eye-catching, if only on a kind of wacky 2-D level that is left in the dust in these days of cinema going the way of CGI. What makes Sword of Storms significant, if only in parts, is that Mignola, Del-Toro and company start to introduce a lot more surreal imagery than was seen in the first theatrical feature. Hellboy gets swept up this time in a pretty convoluted (or just seems that way, turns out it's actually painfully simplistic in terms of the Japanese folklore played out as drama), with monsters and demons all under the control of a sword that if broken spells doom for the Earth. As usual he does his job well at whacking around creatures like a big turtle/lizard creature, and at the start even tackles a big beast that, until Liz- as kind of a running un-funny gag- blazes fire all over the place till the job's done- but that's not all.
This time the supernatural is accentuated in the world of what is a cross between Noh theater and, well, the average Hellboy comic-book. It doesn't matter either way how much the writers and producers researched Japanese history and creatures and such (though I'm sure they did their share). What matters is how effective it all is, and in the end Hellboy is also a dark comedy- how is it to see Hellboy, after spending an uncomfortable night with some unpleasant Japanese fellows, to awake to find that they're heads have been disconnected from their bodies, and are attacking him viciously! It's even better, of course, to see the fate of the heads, pleading Hellboy to tell where their bodies lay. I also liked the little asides with the talking fox, the old lady, and of course the big-ass demons, who allow one or two quips from Hellboy as he has to tackle them any way possible. On top of the fighting heads, there's a crazy possessed researcher, which in and of itself could make an interesting issue in the comics.
Only the conventions of the story (the psychic has been seen in countless permutations of the annoying side character who's only there for moments of sudden exposition for another side character who isn't as annoying; plus the ending with the Japanese ghosts going through a redemption moment) drag the film really downward. Aside from that, it's from cartoony viewing, and it should appeal to anyone who's somewhat a fan, and mandatory for fans of the books; lord knows there's only so many times we can see Hellboy in the whirlwind of samurai dreams.
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