Looking Back at Hellboy II

With the situation at home and the surprisingly large amount of publicity surrounding The Essential Batman Encyclopedia, my work on Hellboy II: The Golden Army sometimes feels ignored. Or just overlooked since most movie novelizations these days merit little attention.

There were certainly no calls for press interviews or similar efforts to promote the novel. Still, it has received a few nice mentions. On Friday, my pal Paul Kupperberg included it in his new, and well recommended column Capes, Cowls, Costumes about media tie-ins at Bookgasm.

Seeing it, though, got me curious as to whether or not the book ever was reviewed by any one. My first stop was Amazon, where reader Beth Palladino wrote a reasonable review concluding with, “I would even say that, in general, Robert Greenberger is a pretty decent writer. There’s just something about this book that is not as good as Yvonne Navarro’s earlier novelization and I wish she had been tapped to do this one as well.” Well, Beth, Yvonne tells me she would have loved to write the book as well. Maybe we’ll have a cage match to determine which of us writes should they ever film it.

I was more heartened by the School Library Journal’s review which says, “Based on del Toro’s Hellboy II screenplay, Robert Greenberger’s movie novelization, written in traditional fiction format, sizzles with fast-paced prose. Descriptive language vividly details the explosive action and depicts the unusual cast of characters, while snappy dialog echoes the comic’s wry tone and gallows humor. With a cover adorned by a close-up film photo of the scowling Hellboy, this book is a real attention-grabber.”

Before you ask, no I never got to see the finished product on the Big Screen, and have no clue how it compares with the screenplay I worked from. That will have to wait for the three-disc DVD set coming this fall.

4 comments

  • Janna Silverstein

    The film is well worth seeing. Del Toro brought some of the magic to it that we saw in “Pan’s Labyrinth,” which gives the film a kind of otherworldly feel that the first film barely scraped the surface of. It’s a visual feast. I had my quibbles with it, but there’s lots of wonder in it. If there’s any way you can see it on the big screen — a second-run theater or something like that — I’d say it’s worth the trouble.

  • Bob Ahrens

    Bobby,

    There’s a matinee theatre (read:second-run) just down the street from me… it just so happens that they began a run of H/B II this week. I’ll buy. When can we expect you and Deb?

    Bob A – Baltimore.

  • Russ Rogers

    I saw Hellboy II in the Theater. This is without the benefit of seeing the first Hellboy movie. But I do have some of the original issues of the series. So I was familiar with the concept going in.

    I would say Hellboy II was a more entertaining film than Dark Knight. Not quite as good as Iron Man. But still very fun and I have recommended it. Highly visual. You will be missing something by waiting for the DVDs.

  • Agreed. I enjoyed Hellboy II a lot more than the Batman film. Batman was just agnst and really dark scenes, while Hellboy II was exciting and had beautiful designs.