Every Guillermo del Toro Movie, Ranked

Photo: Warner Bros. Fox Scout

When Guillermo del Toro won two Oscars, for Best Director and Best Picture, at the 90th Academy Awards, the visuals were different than when most filmmakers took home the top prize. Presumably anyone at that point loves movies, but for del Toro, that dedication goes a little deeper. He often carries himself as a fan first – a happy big kid who just looks very jazzy He even got the job in Hollywood – but that cheerful smile was especially wide when he accepted the Best Picture Oscar. But he was also revered, using part of his separate address for Best Director to speak humbly of his recognition of now being part of a great tradition of Academy Award winning filmmakers. Other people love movies – del Toro lives them.

A child who grew up fascinated by monsters and fantasy films, he put decades of his encyclopedic cinematic knowledge into his films. This can be a double-edged sword: at times, his films can be little more than a carousel of sharply rendered references, but without the spirit and inspiration for his influences. But when called upon, del Toro is adept at blending high art with pulpy fun. In the end, this may be his greatest gift to an adored art form: he was a worthy advocate of all the “infamous” genres (horror films, fantasy flicks, and comic book films) that critics have long deemed unworthy of serious attention or voters. academy.

This creates an interesting challenge when classifying his films. You don’t just pick his best movies – you’re basically telling yourself what kind of del Toro fan you are. Do you engrave his artistic performances in foreign languages ​​(Pan . mazeAnd Satan’s backbone)? Are You Biased For Gonzo Action Movies (Pacific Rim, the Hellboy Movies)? And where to put exactly nightmare alley? As you will soon see, there are types of del Toro films that resonate with us much more than others. You may feel quite the opposite. With someone like Guillermo del Toro, this is one of his great strengths: his passion for having space for multiple entry points.

del Toro was notoriously unhappy with his first big studio production—for Dimension Films, when it was the infamous (and lucrative) arm of Miramax—mostly because he didn’t get the final cut; The Weinsteins fought it off so much that del Toro admitted that his father’s kidnapping in Mexico a year after the movie came out wasn’t as bad an experience as making Sound and movement imitator. The movie isn’t necessarily horrific. It has a disturbing visual feel to del Toro, and there’s some grit that goes beyond what you’d expect from your typical bug-eating movie. But it looks just like any other horror movie, except that it’s a little better. And there is absolutely nothing “like any other movie” about del Toro. For what it’s worth: Del Toro’s directorial cut, released in 2011, is just a marginal improvement.

del Toro might seem like an unconventional pick for a sequel to the vampire series Wesley Snipes; It’s not like Blade is a particularly creative or awesome superhero. But del Toro was keen to show that he can achieve success after failure Sound and movement imitatorand a comic book geek went to work making a fun comic book that – when it was rare – still holds its own unique sensibility. Thus, there are some really horrific monsters in this, more than you’d expect in a ridiculous sequel, which gave an idea of ​​what del Toro would be able to make more mainstream in later films. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of kicks and poses for Wesley Snipes. Too many, all said.

Del Toro’s biggest hit—especially outside—was its unpardonable homage to the primal pleasure of watching big robots beat big monsters. Pacific Rim It takes place in the future in which Kaijus invaded Earth, which required humanity to counterattack using Jaegers, which are huge machines operated by two pilots. The filmmaker’s best and worst qualities are embellished brightly in this homage to the Japanese entertainment genre: Del Toro’s geek love and eye for the viewer appears in every frame, but the characters and storytelling are so carelessly developed that you’re constantly reminded of, y’know, big robots and big monsters strike each other is being Fun…but that’s not enough for a full movie.

It’s funny to think how rebellious and dangerous it is Hellboy seemed In 2004, looking at you watch it today, it’s basically just a straightforward superhero origin story. Sure, Ron Perlman’s Hellboy is rude and a little rude, but he’s still the good guy, and that’s how the good guy became the good guy. It’s ugly, but not uglier than half of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Del Toro’s heart is clearly with him, and he shows an impressive ability to model basic action sequences in a way that makes sense and is still exciting. As strange as it sounded at the time, this movie might be the most traditional del Toro movie ever made.

Del Toro loves to play in literary genres, and his remake of the 1947 film (which itself is based on William Lindsay Gresham’s novel) exemplifies what is best (and also limits) about his revered enthusiasm. This tale about a villain (Bradley Cooper) learning a complex trick formula for being a world-class mental scientist, is portrayed by del Toro with plenty of nods to classic noir. Its direction invites the audience to the luxury of that period’s decor and generally sinister tone, with the integration of hard-speaking ladies and suspicious individuals. It’s a sumptuous recreation of an era and cinematic style that may take a while to realize the story isn’t quite on the same level, even though the characters are often little more than elegant stereotypes. Great follow up water shape – He appears to be entering the period of the “mature author” with this bleak study of greed and evil – nightmare alley Ultimately lacks some kick from his previous work.

Del Toro’s excuse to indulge his penchant for gothic horror, crimson peak It is a luxurious and immersive slice of horror house cinema. It also features one of Jessica Chastain’s most underappreciated performances: she plays Lucille, the deeply unsettling sister of a handsome and ineffectual young man (Tom Hiddleston) who has just married an influential author named Edith (Mia Wasikowska). Del Toro is about Edith’s growing realization that her husband’s house might be filled with some ghosts, but crimson peakThe story of del Toro and his production team sets the exquisite weaving of turn-of-the-century awe. There is a sense of play in the film’s creepy horror, highlighted by Chastain’s cute role. Spoiler alert: Lucille is no good, and the Oscar-nominated actress enjoys her character all evil eye and devilish action. Like the movie itself, Chastain pulls off all the stops for a great, hilarious finale.

The first movie wasn’t a huge hit, but it was loved enough by fans to let del Toro, after his decisive breakthrough with… Pan . maze, to make a sequel exactly the way he wanted it, and boy, did he do exactly that. Most of the boring planning work of the first movie is eliminated, and we totally live in the land of crazy pants fantasy. The result is a great entry that goes so far beyond the original that you probably don’t even need to see it at all. The scene at the troll market is a masterpiece of invention, and the film is graceful and silly enough to give us some Barry Manilow as a good measure. Del Toro has let his strange flag fly here, it’s a blast.

“I Wanted Kronos Being ‘antagonistic’ to every vampire movie you’ve ever seen… you feel pity for a vampire.” With del Toro’s debut, he established two core principles that defined his career: a desire to reinvent fantasy genres and empathy for his fantastic monsters. He’s also an excellent world builder, devising a legend about a beetle-like artifact that immerses its owner in eternal life.The lucky recipient (or is he unlucky?) is an antique dealer (del Toro’s frequent representative Federico Lopi), who quickly discovers that living forever may not It’s that cool. Del Toro was 28 when Kronos First shown in Cannes, it has the boyish prowess of a filmmaker who’s been thinking seriously about vampires since he was a kid — there’s a trepidation and trepidation about what a vampire represents that goes much deeper than just shedding some dude with fake fangs. This painful film was also his first collaboration with Hellboy‘s Ron Perlman, who plays a serial killer to get the ladybug for his rich uncle.

Five years before gaining international fame with Pan . mazeA mixture of history and fantasy, del Toro did the same with the Spanish Civil War drama that also happens to be a ghost story. This is Spanish Satan’s backbone Set in an orphanage inhabited by children who lost their families in the fighting, the film focuses on Carlos (Fernando Telvi), a newcomer who first deals with bullies and then the spectral presence of a missing boy (Junio ​​Valverde) who once resided in an orphanage. It doesn’t have the romantic flourishes of del Toro’s later films, but the somber exploration of childhood traumas and the stings of war resonates heavily in the fairy tales.

Love story, monster movie, eccentric musical, Cold War thriller: water shape It is its own unique beast while also being a perfect concoction for Guillermo del Toro. Best Picture winner Sally Hawkins features Elise, a silent guardian who works at a secret government facility that currently houses a strange fish creature (Doug Jones) that is being studied by scientists and the military. Elise’s growing fascination with the creature – both spiritual outcasts – unleashes a romantic movement filled with moments of dark humor and touching beauty. We suspect that for diechard del Toro fans, water shape Probably not among your favorites from his movie. (It’s so polished and a little accessible – after all, isn’t it part of del Toro’s charm that, like his characters, he works on the sidelines?) However, the damn thing just works, serving as an anthem to those everywhere and providing a reminder of what was It feels like making movies in a classic studio.

Del Toro is the kind of director who escapes to his fantasy land so completely that, at times, he is accused of losing any connection to reality, for better and for worse. shine on Pan . maze is that he makes the bold decision to associate his inventions and monsters with realistic horrors, with a young girl named Ophelia (Ivana Baquero, in a stunning performance) with a sinister stepfather who is also Franco’s officer in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. Del Toro can connect her fictional world to a more terrifying real world in a way that can feel magical at times, a high-wire balancing act that never falters. Some of his creatures will haunt our popular culture forever – the pale man remains terrifying after more than a decade – but you won’t forget the dangers and ultimate fate awaiting Ophelia. Del Toro creates a new world but, somehow, remains rooted in the scary real world.

Grierson & Leitch writes about movies regularly and Host a podcast on the movie. follow them Twitter or visit their location.

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