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The Good, The Bad & The Badass: Guillermo del Toro

10.19.2015
Last time on The Good, The Bad & The Badass, we took a look at the career of a director you “just might” have heard-of, Steven Spielberg. This week's subject is another heavy-hitter, especially in genre circles...
Guillermo del Toro

I adore Guillermo del Toro. A real, honest-to-God fanboy made good, del Toro's movies are just wonderful. Seemingly unconcerned with being commercial or stylish, he makes things that he's passionate about, such as CRIMSON PEAK, which is a nostalgic throwback to old-time spooky, Val Lewton-style thrillers. Even the $150 million PACIFIC RIM was its own beast, being a far more effective Kaiju/adventure movie than the more hyped GODZILLA, which made way more money a year later but is something no one seems to remember with any affection only two years later.

From his early days with CRONOS, del Toro has always stuck to genre, but had made a wide variety of things, including two superb Spanish Civil War-set fantasy thrillers (THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE and PAN'S LABYRINTH) along with the compromised MIMIC (read all about it in Peter Biskind's excellent 'Down & Dirty Pictures') and arguably the two movies he's most famous for in the genre community – the HELLBOY's, starring del Toro favorite Ron Perlman. He's also nurtured the careers of directors like MAMA's Andres Muschietti , and stayed a loyal comrade to his director pals Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Alfonso Cuaron. Heck, the only thing about del Toro I don't like is The Strain, but hey, nobody's perfect.

His Best Work

PAN'S LABYRINTH is arguably the movie that really made del Toro the legendary figure he is in the genre community today. Why is that? It's rare that genre gets taken seriously by critics, but the Spanish-language PAN'S LABRYNTH was so wonderful people couldn't help but take it seriously. Like a bizzaro, dark WIZARD OF OZ set against the Spanish Civil War, PAN was so successful it won three Oscars, and likely would have won one more – best foreign film – if it hadn't been up against THE LIVES OF OTHERS.

His Most Overrated Film

Now here's one that's going to get me a lot of red in the talk-backs – HELLBOY. Now, I'm not saying I don't like HELLBOY. In fact, I like it a lot. I even put it in my top five (it just beat out BLADE 2 – which I also like). However, I don't think it's the classic many of our readers think it is. For one thing, del Toro shot himself in the foot with the WW2 prologue, which is so-amazing the rest of the film can't help but pale in comparison to it. Ron Perlman is great, as are Selma Blair, John Hurt, Jeffrey Tambor and everyone else, but the action is largely repetitive, and the coolest bad guy (Kroenen) is done away with too easily. Rupert Evans' character is also wholly unnecessary and feels like a walking and talking studio note. But, it's still a very good movie – so chill out!

His Most Underrated Film

Which brings me to the sequel. HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY had the misfortune of opening one week before THE DARK KNIGHT. It actually opened-up at number one at the box-office and got good reviews, but people forgot all-about it too quickly. It's actually a wonderful film in its own right. Possibly due to PAN'S LABYRINTH, del Toro got a lot more freedom with the sequel, and whatever failings the first one had are rectified here, with terrific action, no tacked-on second leads, and a surprisingly heart-felt story. It's an excellent film and one of my favorites of del Toro's oeuvre.

His Best Scene

PAN'S LABYRINTH is such a masterfully-made film that every scene is lovingly-crafted and exquisite, but none more so than our introduction to the titular Labyrinth, with drop-dead stunning creature design, including Doug Jones' Faun.

His Five Best Films

5. HELLBOY
4. DEVIL'S BACKBONE/CRONOS (TIE)
3. PACIFIC RIM
2. HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY
1. PAN'S LABYRINTH

Up Next

 While PACIFIC RIM 2 still seems like a possibility, del Toro has gone on-record stating his next film will be a low-budget, black and white creature-feature. Knowing del Toro it'll be highly original, and very likely outstanding.

Source: JoBlo.com

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