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Science Fiction, Double Feature

by Karen Tortora-Lee on August 3, 2008

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New York City in the summer can be brutal … hotter than hot and crammed full of people. While a lot of people spend their time doing the “Yay! Summer” chant, I spend June through September finding ways to avoid the whole thing.

These last few weeks have been in the high 80s, the low 90s, I can’t remember exactly — the heat runs it all together for me. So what better way to forget your troubles than in a darkened movie theatre?

While I’ve always been okay with science fiction, fantasy, and graphic novels turned into movies, it was more of a take it or leave it thing before meeting Stephen. Had it not been for him, I’d never have seen a movie like GhostRider or Fantastic 4 or X-Men. Some I’ve liked more than I expected to, some I’ve suffered through, but all have lead to good conversations afterwards since Stephen is such a fan of the dark vs. light concept.

On Friday night after work we were able to catch Hellboy 2 which was a movie I was definitely looking forward to, having been such a fan of the first Hellboy.

I’m not sure I’ve every been more attracted to a guy in makeup and yet less attracted to him out of it, as I’ve been to Ron Perlman who, over the years, has thrilled me with his alter egos. I was glued to the TV for every episode that ever aired of Beauty and the Beast, and if I were a 16 year old girl and torn-out magazine pictures were still acceptable wall covering, I’d have Hellboy plastered all over my room.

Hellboy – Yum! Ron – Oh Hell No! Vincent – Swoon!

Oh wait … now that I think of it, I DID have my 16 year old walls papered with guys in makeup — Boy George, Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie, and pictures I’d drawn of George Hearn in full drag from La Cage Aux Folles.

Yes, it’s all true! All of it!

So I guess I HAVE been more attracted to guys in makeup and less attracted to them out of it before. But that’s another issue altogether …

Anyway, Stephen and I decided to go see Hellboy 2 and this movie did NOT disappoint. It was like the original Hellboy, dialed up to 11 … it was everything Pan’s Labyrinth should have been but wasn’t. (Just sayin’ … all the trailers for Labyrinth would have you believe that the entire movie took place in “Hey, I’ve got eyes in the palms of my hands” land … when really 95% of it took place in “Hey … my new dad’s really brutal and someone’s gonna get his face slashed, Joker Style” land). So Hellboy 2 finally scratched that itch that started all those years ago. The only thing more exciting than the announcement that Guillermo del Toro will be teaming with Peter Jackson for The Hobbit would be an announcement that Guillermo del Toro would be teaming with Tarsem for some outrageous, can’t-even-imagine-how-great-it-would-be film extravaganza. Well, I’ll continue to hope.

On our way out of the theatre we did something that we don’t do very often … ducked into another movie to commit a misdemeanor. I mean, free second movie. Look, it’s not my fault they scheduled Hancock to start 5 minutes after Hellboy got out! So, in we went and settled in for a sweet science fiction double feature.

Maybe I only saw the similarities because I saw them back to back, but besides both being eponymous titles that start with “H” these films were striking most of the same chords — granted one had a few more characters with faces made out of finials and cathedrals and men made of odd shaped rocks or men with eyes in their wings and eyes in their shoes (I would assume), but other than that there was basically a lot of similar plot points. Misunderstood main guy is just trying to do some good but everyone gangs up on him and yells at him (usually right after he’s saved someone). Both grapple with their identity, think of giving it all up, then rally in the face of the woman they love. Both have, like, LITERALLY the fate of the entire world in their own hands at one point … and both have the love of their lives choose to save them over saving the world. Oh! Movie Love at it’s best!

Stephen read a review somewhere that Hancock was a cheap knock-off of an old movie The Return of Captain Invincible. WHICH IT WAS NOT. I happen to know this because Stephen Netflixed Captain Invincible and I suffered through the first 20 minutes of it before shouting “STOP!” and hitting eject. Okay, so Hancock and Captain Invincible are both bummy guys with great powers. I’m sure they both smell a bit. And I’m sure they both have a hard time applying for a bank loan. Past that, the similarity ends. Captain Invincible made (the otherwise talented) Alan Arkin look completely foolish, not just here and there but in every scene. And I, Luvviepuffaroo, the biggest fan of the Broadway Musical Movie in the history of Broadway Musical Movies was absolutely pushed to the point of nausea when Captain Invincible proved to be not only a badly made science fiction move but also a strangely choreographed musical. It was all very weird and creepy. Stephen, who wasn’t as bothered by it as I was (and tends to see things through to the end), watched the whole thing but said it never got any better.

Anyway, both Hellboy 2 and Hancock were very satisfying movies and ultimately made the perfect double feature on a hot summer night.

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