4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.
This October, I am going to be using our 4 Shots From 4 Films feature to pay tribute to some of my favorite horror directors, in alphabetical order! That’s right, we’re going from Argento to Zombie in one month!
Today’s director: Guillermo Del Toro!
4 Shots From 4 Films
The Devil’s Backbone (2001, dir. by Guillermo Del Toro)
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006, dir. by Guillermo Del Toro)
Crimson Peak (2015, dir by Guillermo Del Toro)
The Shape of Water (2017, dir by Guillermo Del Toro)
Guillermo del Toro ranks high in my eyes as one of the best filmmakers working today. His films have ranged from an inventive take on the vampire genre, the mutant monster film, an evocative ghost story and right up to a dark fable. Guillermo del Toro has worked on both smaller, personal projects and the big, blockbuster action. He’s comfortable in living in both worlds.
No matter which side he happens to land at any particular time he always brings his own brand of visual style and storytelling to each and every film that tells the world that they’re watching a Guillermo del Toro production.
If there’s one filmmaker alive today who probably deserves the label of genius it’s probably Mexican-born filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro. Yes, that’s probably hyperbolic high praise, but then with each new film he releases he shows audiences and critics something rarely seen before that gradually knocks down any doubts as to why he deserves the praise.
In 2006, Del Toro released the Spanish-language dark fantasy film Pan’s Labyrinth and people who had only known him as the guy who directed Blade II and Hellboy finally understood why critics both high and low were having such a major crush on the man’s work and talent. My favorite scene from this film was a major example why Guillermo Del Toro is such a genius. I’m talking about the scene with the “Pale Man” and Ofelia’s encounter with it during her second task given to her by the The Faun.
This sequence showed Del Toro not just juggling the dark fantasy aspect of the film, but also his talent for world-building and horror. This scene was the one which probably sold those still on the fence about the film as they watched it. It’s a scene which showed Del Toro’s love for monsters and he created one which has left an indelible mark on the film-going audience that still resonates to this day.
The latest Song of the Day is from one of the best films of the past decade and, in my opinion, the best film of 2006. I speak of Pan’s Labyrinth by acclaimed Mexican-filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro.
“A Princess” was composed by Spanish composer Javier Navarrete and this particular piece of music from the film continues to use the main lullaby waltz-theme introduced in the beginning of the film. Where the music’s first time being heard by the audience is full of innocence and child-like magic in its tonal structure and melody in “A Princess” Navarrete dials back the innocent quality by adding in some of the hard-won wisdom the main character of Ofelia gains through her trials and tribulations throughout the film’s running time. While the song starts off with a sad and melancholy theme to its melody the song gradually moves back to it’s innocent and magical tone at it’s midway point to signify the main character’s final and complete transition from Ofelia to Princess Moanna.
It’s truly one of the best use of the leitmotif in a film score in quite a while. The fact that Navarrete was able to mine so man different emotional beats from a simple lullaby theme into one final distinct piece of music to end the film shows he was in tune with what director Guillermo Del Toro had in mind. He could easily have gone the usual fantasy music cliche of a huge number of brass and percussion to score the film, but instead went on a more subtle yet complex manner to accentuate a fairly simple fairy tale retelling which also happened to have many complexities in it’s narrative if one was willing to peel back the pages.
Sad news for Tolkien fans worldwide as Guillermo Del Toro has announced that he will be leaving the planned two-part film project to adapt J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel, The Hobbit. As his announcement on TheOneRing.Net explains the many delays to the start of the project has made his role as director to the two films untenable. He had signed up to spend three years in New Zealand to do the films and has even moved his family to have them closer to him during the process, but the constant delays to getting an official start date would mean he would need to spend double the time he had originally signed up for.
These delays have made him put on the backburner his own film projects which seem very close and dear to him. He still has to finish off his Spanish Civil War Trilogy (The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth being the first two). There’s also his wish to do a third Hellboy film (the second film setting up what could be an epic closing to the franchise). Then there’s his dream project to bring to the big-screen a film adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s novella, At the Mountains of Madness.
With Del Toro now gone as headliner for the two Hobbit films there’s surely going to be new rumors about who shall replace him. There was major scuttlebutt that Sam Raimi was in the running in the beginning before Del Toro signed on. I wouldn’t be surprised if Raimi’s name came up once again. He definitely has free time now that he’s off the Spider-Man franchise. Will Jackson do another “out of left field” decision and tap Blomkamp to take over for Del Toro. I think that’s a brave move if it happens, but also one that could backfire and stunt Blomkamp’s career. He’s already been part of plans to adapt a major franchise only to have it taken away from him.
In the end, it looks like The Hobbit may just end up not being made or, at the very least, not make a 2012 release date many insiders have set it two-part film for.