(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)
Why I added it to my queue: Because I've always suspected that I initially reacted too harshly when first seeing this 2008 Guillermo del Toro sequel to his much-loved original adaptation of the Mike Mignola comic-book series, ending up unimpressed not because the movie itself is inferior, but simply that it couldn't stand up to the once-in-a-career masterpiece Pan's Labyrinth that came right before it; so I thought I'd take a chance and watch it again, because let's face it, it's never very hard to watch a del Toro movie again (and again and again and again).
The reality: Just as I suspected, I liked it a lot better the second time around. And this is more of a compliment than an insult, really, a testament to just how astounding del Toro can be when he's really concentrating on a dense, layered, political story, just like the Oscar-winning Pan's Labyrinth is (and seriously, if you still have never seen that movie, stop everything you're doing right this moment and go get a copy). I was just so blown away by that film, as were millions of others; so it was hard for many of us, then, to get back into the goofy sword-swinging stoner-midnight-madness glee of del Toro at his usual -- i.e. every freaking minute of the sillier-than-normal Hellboy II -- even though I too love watching stoner classics at midnight just as much as anybody else. Now that some time has passed, and my expectations for this sequel were a lot lower, with fresh eyes I realized that it's really not that bad at all (although admittedly heavy on the groan-inducing one-liners), not del Toro at Pan level but certainly one of the better high-budget action blockbusters of his career. And hey, his next movie is the insanely anticipated Hobbit project being produced by Peter Jackson; so I'm sure before too long we'll be getting a chance to see del Toro again at his Oscar-baiting best. I'm looking forward to that, I gotta tell you.
Strangest piece of trivia: del Toro turned down directing Halo, I Am Legend, and one of the Harry Potter movies, so he could make this instead. Now that's some dedication to a stoner classic, my friend.
Worth your time? Yes, but only if you're in the right mood