Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Hellboy II Is Heavenly; Meet Dave Is Lazy

Plus, Journey is worth taking, and The Dark Knight's Tomatometer is at 100 percent.

by | July 10, 2008 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got demon slayers (Hellboy II: the Golden
, starring
Ron Perlman and
Selma Blair), unusual spacecraft (Meet
, starring
Eddie Murphy and
Elizabeth Banks), and fantastic voyages (Journey
to the Center of the Earth
, starring
Brendan Fraser). What do the critics
have to say?

Guillermo del Toro is one of contemporary cinema’s biggest dreamers, a director
who brings an arty touch to the pulp he sincerely loves. And critics say that
such enthusiasm is infectious in
Hellboy II: the Golden
. Like a
gumshoe in a 1940s film noir (but with bigger muscles and crimson skin),
world-weary, sarcastic Hellboy (Ron Perlman) stalks the city at night, doing
battle with a dizzying array of demons hell-bent (pun intended) on bringing
Hades to earth. Critics say Hellboy II may not have the tightest plot
in the world, but that almost works to its advantage: it’s a chaotic, visual
marvel, filled with bizarre touches, a wacky sense of humor, and plenty of
knockout action. At 88 percent on the Tomatometer, Hellboy isn’t just Golden,
it’s also Certified Fresh.

Further Hellboy reading: our

with del Toro, costar
Doug Jones’
favorite flicks,
and this week’s

Total Recall
, which recaps the best superhero hookups of all time.

“So I was thinking about moving Commando up our Netflix queue…”

First, the good news: critics say Meet Dave is by no means the disaster
that was The Adventures of Pluto Nash. The bad news, of course, is that
that’s still setting the bar pretty low. Eddie Murphy’s latest, which was barely
screened for critics before release, tells the tale of a spaceship that bears a
remarkable resemblance to a human being and contains a crew of tiny humanoids
who need salt to survive; along the way, they learn a thing or two about
humanity. The pundits say Meet Dave has a reasonable premise and a couple
decent chuckles, but it’s indifferently executed and weighted down by pretty
juvenile humor. At 33 percent on the Tomatometer, you may not want to Meet

Give me your poor, your tired, your Eddie Murphy movies yearning to be

Jules Verne’s futuristic sci-fi is nearly as adaptable to the big screen as
Shakespeare, and with
to the Center of the Earth
, one of his most
venerable classics heads for the third dimension — and it’s a trip worth
taking, critics say. Brendan Frasier stars as a largely-dismissed scientist who,
on an expedition to Iceland, finds a passage to the earth’s center; on his
journey, he and his companions discover a plethora of fantastical creatures. The
pundits say Journey is a goofy, old-school adventure elevated by
impressive 3-D visuals that make up for the film’s thin plotting. At 67 percent
on the Tomatometer, this is a Journey worth taking.

“They said I’d find some Encino men down here.”

It doesn’t come out for another week, but
The Dark Knight
is already
winning raves from the critics. The sequel to 2005’s Batman Begins, TDK
finds Christian Bale reprising his role as Gotham City’s greatest caped
crimefighter, this time going mano-y-mano with his nemesis the Joker (the late
Heath Ledger). Pundits so far say The Dark Knight is a visionary,
disturbing crime drama, and possibly one of the best superhero movies ever. It’s
currently at 100 percent on the Tomatometer; check back next week (same
bat-time, same bat… oh, whatever) for a full breakdown.

“A Canadian quarter. It’s enough to drive a guy…loony.”

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The Exiles, a rediscovered 1961 film about a group of young Native
    Americans making their way in Los Angeles, is at 80 percent.
  • The Italian import
    Days and Clouds
    , about a dark period in the lives of a
    middle-age couple, is at 75 percent.
  • The documentary
    Full Battle Rattle
    , about a U.S. Army simulation of Iraq
    in the Mojave Desert, is at 69 percent.
  • The Stone Angel, about an older woman’s reflections on her past starring
    Ellen Burstyn and Christine Horne, is at 63 percent.
  • Gillian Armstrong’s
    Death Defying Acts
    , starring Guy Pearce and Catherine
    Zeta-Jones in the tale of one of Harry Houdini’s (fictional) love affairs, is at
    60 percent.
  • Eight Miles High, a doc about Rolling Stones groupie/ revolutionary Uschi
    Obermaier, is at 40 percent.
  • Harold, the story of a 13-year-old curmudgeon starring Spencer Breslin,
    Chris Parnell, Rachel Dratch, and Cuba Gooding Jr., is at 33 percent.
  • Garden Party, an indie ensemble drama about the intersecting lives of a
    group of teens in Los Angeles, is at 22 percent.
  • August, starring Josh Hartnett and Naomie Harris in the story of the rise
    and fall of a young businessman, is at 17 percent.

“Yes! We got a fisheye lens! High five!”

Recent Guillermo del Toro Movies:
96% — Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
79% — Hellboy (2004)
56% — Blade 2 (2002)
92% — The Devil’s Backbone (2001)
54% — Mimic (1997)

Recent Eddie Murphy Movies:
9% — Norbit (2007)
42% — Shrek the Third (2007)
78% — Dreamgirls (2006)
89% — Shrek 2 (2004)
28% — Daddy Day Care (2003)