Hellboy II: The Golden Army – 4K UHD Blu-ray Review

hellboy_2_the_golden_army_tilted


Film Title: Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Release Date: 2008
Rating: PG-13
Runtimes: 120 minutes
Region Coding: Region Free
Studio: Universal
Audio Format: DTS:X
High Dynamic Range: HDR10
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Formats Available: 4K UHD Blu-ray | Blu-ray
Version Reviewed: 4K UHD Blu-ray
Release Date: 5/7/19
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Ron PerlmanSelma BlairDoug Jones, Seth MacFarlaneLuke Goss, Anna Walton, Jeffrey Tambor, John Hurt

Jump to Sections: Movie | Video | Audio | Bonus | Closing | Screenshots
Full 4K Tech Specs can be found at the very bottom.

hellboy_2_the_golden_army_4k_1click to view a 4K Screenshot

The Movie

“Believe it or not he’s the good guy”

“Hellboy II: The Golden Army” is the sequel to “Hellboy” (2004). This sequel is a more lighthearted take on the characters created by Mike Mignola. The film itself is an entirely new story written by director Guillermo del Toro and creator Mignola as opposed to the previous film which was based on the Seed of Destruction comic book mini-series from 2004. I must say, while the first film never blew up at the box office, I was among the many who caught it in disc form and kept the flame alive enough to want a sequel.

The original films Revolution studios went under and del Toro had to sell another studio on a sequel that had great reviews and disc sales but mediocre box office. Keep in mind this was a time where Marvel Studios films and comic characters weren’t at their peak yet to help. Thanks to the help of del Toro’s film Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and the amazing visuals displayed in that, this film was greenlit. Movie production began soon after and the film was released in July.

The plot itself is fairly straightforward and right up del Toro’s alley. “Hellboy” (Ron Perlman) and his team of fellow superhumans in the “B.P.R.D.” fight to save the world from the idealistic “Prince Nuada” (Luke Goss) as he attempts to gain control of the unstoppable force known as the Golden Army. The movie takes us on a brilliant journey with new and old faces that, thanks to a compelling script and great performances were an absolute pleasure to revisit. Couple that with Guillermo’s use of special effects and makeup (this film won an Academy Award) and you have yourself a great film. It’s a shame that the film was supposed to lead into a trilogy but instead we got a lame 2019 reboot.

Movie Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)


hellboy_2_the_golden_army_4k_2click to view a 4K Screenshot

Video Quality

The film is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio with the HDR10 form of High Dynamic Range. According to IMDb, “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” was shot with Arriflex 235 cameras on 35mm film. It’s presented here in 4K UHD taken from a 2K DI (Digital Intermediate) transfer. The colors greatly benefit from the wider color space however the details, while slightly improved, really aren’t a large uptick from the Blu-ray at all. I feel like this is intentional based on the film’s source material and is true to the original presentation but if a film like “Alien” (from 1979) can look near reference with super sharp detail, this could as well – if they’d take the time to do a new 4K scan. The film still looks colorful with deep blacks. This truly is the best that this film has ever looked but it still feels like it could look a whole lot better.

Video Quality Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)


hellboy_2_the_golden_army_4k_3click to view a 4K Screenshot

Audio Quality

Audio here is presented in DTS:X, with a DTS 5.1 core included for those without the proper equipment to decode the immersive DTS:X format. The original 2008 Blu-ray included had a DTS-HD MA mix that was a powerhouse for bass fanatics like myself. This new DTS:X mix does the movie justice and then some. From the massive onset of the Golden Army‘s footsteps to the tooth fairy fight this disc delivers an immersive experience to show off. The end battle with the Golden Army was just icing on an already finished cake. Dialogue is clear and precise with the score beautifully delivered. The film is dynamic when it needs to be with just the right amount of ambiance to keep you in the movie at all times.

Audio Quality Rating: 5 (out of 5)


hellboy_2_the_golden_army_4k_4click to view a 4K Screenshot

Bonus Materials

Bonus materials physically included on this release include:

  • A Digital Copy of the film is included via Movies Anywhere which is compatible with services like Apple’s iTunes and VUDU. Here you get a paper insert inside the packaging that contains a code you put in at the URL listed.
  • A Blu-ray Disc of the film is included with bonus materials.

The bonus materials are primarily found on the Blu-ray Disc, however, there are audio commentary tracks on the 4K disc, as well as on the Blu-ray.

  • Feature Audio Commentary with Director Guillermo Del Toro – features a video introduction (0:22 – SD)
  • Feature Audio Commentary with cast members Jeffrey Tambor, Selma Blair & Luke Goss

The Blu-ray Disc contains the following:

  • Feature Audio Commentary with Director Guillermo del Toro – features a video introduction (0:22 – SD)
  • Feature Audio Commentary with cast members Jeffrey Tambor, Selma Blair & Luke Goss
  • Troll Market Tour with Guillermo del Toro” (12:22 – SD)
  • “Production Workshop” (1:29 – SD)
  • Professor Broom‘s Puppet Theater” (3:12 – SD)
  • Deleted Scenes with optional commentary (5:04 – SD) offers six scenes total.
  • Zinco Epilogue Animated Comic” (5:14 – SD)
  • “Comic Book Builder” – lets you build your own Hellboy comic book.
  • Hellboy: In Service of the Demon” (2:34:51 – SD)
  • Gallery
  • U-Control features:
    • Scene Explorer: Schufften Goggle View
    • Director’s Notebook
    • Set Visits
    • Concept Art Gallery
  • My Scenes – allows you to make bookmarks.
  • BD-Live

Overall the bonus materials here do get the two audio commentary tracks put on the 4K UHD Blu-ray, as you’d want them to be, and all of the original extras are on the Blu-ray included. The worst part though, typical for 4K releases, involves swapping discs to get the full experience with extras. There are no new bonus materials here at all, aside from the addition of a digital copy of the film this time around.

Bonus Materials Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)


hellboy_2_the_golden_army_4k_5click to view a 4K Screenshot

Closing Thoughts

“Hellboy II: The Golden Army” is a great film. It goes without saying that I’m a huge Guillermo del Toro mark. I first discovered him on Mimic (1997) and have followed him ever since. His films are beautifully done and the creature/costumes are amazing to look at. His characters are always relatable no matter how farfetched they may seem. Seeing a monkey-like demon who is prophesied to bring about the end of days and making him an everyman type isn’t exactly easy… unless you’re Guillermo.

This comes with a video presentation that isn’t as good as the film could and should have looked. The DTS:X mix, however, is excellent and offers up some demo material in terms of immersive lossless sound. Lastly, the bonus materials are nothing more than the original extras from the Blu-ray – housed on the Blu-ray itself – but prove to still be very informative and entertaining.

In terms of 4K UHD Blu-ray release, this gets:
3.5 (out of 5) for video quality
5 (out of 5) for audio quality
3.5 (out of 5) for bonus materials


Overall Verdict:
Pretty Highly Recommended


Available As:

2019 4K UHD Blu-ray Release


4K UHD Blu-ray Screenshots:

 


Packaging:

Coming Soon!

4K UHD Blu-ray Technical Specifications:

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Exact Runtime: 1:59:38
Audio Format(s): English DTS:X (with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 core), DTS 5.1
Languages: English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Portuguese
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Portuguese
HDR: HDR10
Disc Size: BD-66
Disc Use: 58GB total / 56.5GB for film