Tuesday, July 23, 2013

del Ranko: Ranking The Films of Guillermo del Toro

So here we are, another retrospective in the can.  And I must say...the most challenging of all to finish.  It wasn't because I didn't like the films, no no no.  It just caught me at a busy time.  But as promised I finished.  And there's a little surprise in here, too.  Guillermo del Toro loves monsters and creatures and his whole filmography celebrates them.  He doesn't have interest in getting away from that and I'm glad.  Most directors will use horror and sci fi as a launching pad to "prestigious" films, but Guillermo has no desire.  I love that we have a director who enjoys playing in the sandbox and perfecting it.  Of all the directors out there, not one pays as much detail to every ounce of a creature's being or supernatural mechanics being used in a film.  You'll never utter "how does that work" leaving a del Toro movie.  Its surprising to thing he's been making films for around 20 years.  Hats off to your future endeavors, Mr. del Toro!

And here's the rankings (plus a mini review/thoughts)

8. Blade II

I dunno what it is folks, i just don't dig this movie.  This is the only film in the del Toro catalog I'm just not on board with it.  The whole film feels very repetitive and the movie doesn't seem to make me feel the stakes (pun) are as high as they are telling me.  There's too much behind closed doors and away from the human population to give me any sense that this is a massive problem going on.  I dig the sets, the costuming and some of the fights for sure, but this movie just rings dull to me.  I want to really like it, its just not happening for me.

7. Mimic

This is a fun little homage to Alien.  I do recommend the director's cut as it makes it more than just some schlock sci-fi creature movie.  Its got some good character motivations and resolves.  The only thing is, Guillermo would do better.  Its an enjoyable film that you should give a shot if you've not seen it or the director's cut if you've only seen the theatrical.  BTW, what happened to Mira Sorvino?  Last I saw her was a guest spot on House.  I liked her back in the day.  Where did things go south?

6. Hellboy

Sucks to put this one low, but alas, its still a good movie.  Its a bit long, but still its much better than one would expect and really good comic book movie. Ron Perlman owns this movie and it gives us a pretty good tale.  I think it may be pushed back because, whenever I'm grabbing for a Hellboy movie, its not this one.  The second film offers pretty much everything in this one and does it better too.  But still, this is a good one.

5. Cronos

I like this dark little horror tale a lot.  Its such a small story with bigger implications.  It shows the filmmaker being a master of his craft within his first venture.  Its also an incredibly unique vampire tale.  Hell, if you had no clue about this movie going in, it might be sort of a surprise twist for you that its even about vampires.

4. Pacific Rim

For right now, this is where i'm putting Pacific Rim.  Normally when I do these retrospective rankings i keep the newest release out of it, as i like to have some time with a film before I firmly place it.  I only saw Pacific Rim once and i did love it and have a blast.  The film has some of the most impressive large scale action scenes you'll see.  The characters may be thin, the plot simple, but holy shit it delivers SO MUCH in the battles and jager technology that you really shouldn't care.  I didn't even like the lead, but managed to not really be bothered at all.  Charlie Day absolutely steals every scene he's in here and him and Ron Perlman's pairing is great.  IF we get Hellboy 3, I ask Guillermo find a role for Charlie Day to be put alongside Hellboy.   I don't really get to see movies twice in the theater anymore, but this is one I would LOVE to see a second time.  Longtime friend of mine, Todd Sorenson called it "Top Gun meets Godzilla meets Voltron" and yes, Todd, you're absolutely right.  If you haven't seen it yet, GO GIVE PACIFIC RIM YOUR DAMN MONEY!  Unlike Pirates 4, the overseas crowd really does know what's up this time!

3. The Devil's Backbone

Arriving on Blu-ray today!  This is one of the very best ghost stories ever told.  It does hold that format of a child ghost trying to have the wrongs of his death righted type story, but its done the best and before it was totally whored out.  The ghost should creep you out, some scares earned, and hopefully you're clinging to your seat for some of it.  Plus its got some history to it and a unique setting.  It's one of the best kinds of horror films, its not only genuinely creepy and scary, more importantly its a good movie above all that.

2. Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Yep, I love this movie.  I already gushed over it so much.  Its one of my very favorite comic book movies of all time.  I mentioned that i pick it over Hellboy if i want to watch one, but I also pick it over a majority of superhero/comic book films.  This is one of those movies that satisfies most of my wants and needs from a movie with just one sitting.   It's one I like that I just have a hard time writing and sort of critical expertise as to why a lot of the time.  So, just go back and read my piece if you want some more "insight" haha.

1. Pan's Labyrinth 

And yes, when I said "masterpiece" do you think it wouldn't have been #1?  Wouldn't change a damn thing about this one.  It feels like an age old fairy tale that i just hadn't heard before.  It feels incredibly well thought out and crafted.  It never goes too big and keeps everything grounded and rooted in mixing its mythology with reality.  Its a powerful film and one that should grace every collection.  People were high Guillermo leading up to this, but here he stepped up to the plate and proved it.  Hopefully this is a film studied and talked about in the future as one of the best.  It certainly needs to be.  I'm hoping Guillermo heads back to that Mexican well in the near future to make another film akin to this and The Devil's Backbone.

Next up for Guillermo del Toro is Crimson Peak which he describes as a throwback gothic horror story about ghosts.  Sign me up.  It already boasts a cast with Jessica Chastain, Benedict Cumberbatch and Mia Wasikowska so its got that going for it too.  Its slated for a 2015 release, so we've got a bit of a wait.  But its shorter than 2008-2013, so i'll take it!

So...for the next retrospective (whenever it starts), I'm going to do one by request!  Thanks for reading and sorry for the massive delay on this one!

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