Friday, July 11, 2008

Guillermo del Toro

Hellboy II is out this weekend which prompts me to think about Guillermo del Toro, director of Mimic, Blade II, Hellboy, Hellboy II, and Pan’s Labyrinth. He was the guest on “Sunday Morning Shootout” last weekend and listening to him reminded me of one of my trips to the Lake Placid Film Festival where del Toro was a guest (this was after Hellboy was made but not yet released). At the festival and anytime I’ve seen him interviewed on TV he strikes me as an extremely intelligent man, remarkably knowledgeable about film and film-making, well-spoken, polite, sincere and very approachable. Ray Harryhausen (producer and visual effects wizard of the 40’s and 50’s; see Jason and the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans and the Sinbad films for examples of his work) was another guest that year and I was so impressed by the respect with which del Toro spoke of and to Mr. Harryhausen. Del Toro struck me as a film personality without a big ego: a genuinely nice person. He spoke of film as the medium that was so important to him as a child, that filled him with wonder and a sense of magic. It is that wonder and magic that he strives to evoke in his films and in my opinion, he does so successfully. I have heard him referred to as the most imaginative director in Hollywood today and whoever said that is right on the money. On Shootout he showed his little book that he keeps with him at all times. It is full of drawings and thoughts about whatever strikes his fancy and hopefully will help him in thinking about his films. He’s an artist as well as a director, writer and producer (The Orphanage). His film Pan’s Labyrinth was an exceptionally wonderful film. Roger Ebert’s review expresses my thoughts much better than I could say them so I recommend reading it for a good critique of the film ( Suffice it to say, it was a truly imaginative, visually stunning work: one which is definitely on my “to be watched again” list.

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