Guillermo del Toro: Mr. Fantastico

During the earlier days of movie watching, I was just another common movie watcher, and never really cared about who was acting, directing or spending money for the movie. But in the last few years, I have been looking at each minute detail about the movies, and I have come up with my favourites. I have them among the actors, but among the directors, my favourites one has been Guillermo del Toro, and I would call him Mr. Fantastico, and his movies are consistently fantastic!

I have always found it easier to connect with the movies from him, and each movie which he directed and I have watched, has given me different and yet special feelings. He has also written novels, and The Strain Trilogy about vampires is a well-known one. It was made into a television series and receieved positive opinions. I am looking forward to reading the novels or watching that series some day. So along with being director, screenwriter and producer, being a novelist also comes as one extra skill for Mr. Fantastico.

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The movie that made me certain about his skills was Pan’s Labyrinth indeed. Originally titled El Laberinto del Fauno, this Spanish Dark Fantasy movie gave me a feeling that I could never really express in the right way, because it was that special. I often refer to this movie as the grand fantastico of all movies belonging to the same genre. If there is a dark fairy-tale that could rise above everything else, it is this movie, and this serves as your opportunity to fall in love with Princess Moanna, heir to the magical underworld.

I have recommended Pan’s Labyrinth to everyone without second thoughts, and it is a movie which brings you the idea about how Mr. Fantastico uses the themes and imagery to perfection. Getting 4/4 from Roger Ebert, 95% at the Rotten Tomatoes and 98% at the Metacritic – I would consider this as one of the greatest movies of all-time, and del Toro is the master of the fantastic, the truth that a lot of people fail to know because they haven’t watched this movie, and it is not right!

It has been about ten years after Pan’s Labyrinth had released, but you never really get out of that magical effect which the movie had created on the audience. I see Ivana Baquero, the girl who acted as the protagonist of the movie, and then I realize that it was so long ago. There are not many directors who have left such an effect on me with one movie; del Toro has actually continued the fantastic work in the later movies. Actually, there are a lot of his earlier movies which I really wanted to watch, but couldn’t as they were not available.

Then there was Hellboy from the same director – I love this one and its sequel, and I have never felt that a director could do Hellboy better than him. Del Toro is at his best with the creatures, he is at the highest level of fantastico with them and you might have realized that from the creature design in the Hellboy movies. These two also have heavy ratings from critics – do you remember the Angel of Death in the second movie? That was one dark fantastic creature, one of its kind.

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His last two movies, Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak also remain my big favourites. Both these movies did better outside North America, and one thing about these two movies were that they were intellectually a long way ahead, and unless you manage to get there with the idea, it won’t work. The former was one of the best entertainers with monsters and robots while the latter was one of the best Gothic Romance Horror stories in the last few years. Well, if you are going to watch a movie from the master of visual beauty, Mr. Fantastico Guillermo del Toro, you need to get more fantastic!

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the movie, Crimson Peak.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

TeNy

Spreading Sequel Fever

There is something special about ending of 2014, as there is something special coming up for the movie fans. The sequel fever begins in one week here, as three big movies are awaiting release. In India, these three movies release between November 28 and December 19, leaving us with another busy group of weekends, after the release of The Equalizer and Dumb and Dumber To this weekend. Between them, we also have to look for The Pyramid, Jessabelle and Exodus: Gods and Kings. These are the big three sequels, all of them having the release of the third movie of their franchises:

3. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

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Night at the Museum is one of those movie franchises which I personally value more than a lot of other movies which I agree to be better than them. It has provided me with some valuable lessons in history with its major characters, and it has also been a big inspiration for me to visit more museums, even as there is a very small number of them which I can easily reach from my location. It has even made me wish to work at a museum, and inspired me to take my second graduation in History and a possible second post graduation in the same subject. The movies had such big influence on me.

I loved the second part of the movie more than the first, and here comes the third and final one of the franchise on December 19th as my perfect Christmas movie. I always had faith in Ben Stiller’s skills, and this is one role that I have always believed to suit him perfectly. All those awesome historical characters are returning here, especially my favourite Octavius, and the Knight Lancelot also makes his museum debut here. This might also be my last chance to watch Robin Williams on the big screen – loved his Teddy; hope our protagonist saves the magic this time forever. Despite the doubts about its ability to be among top ten grossers of the years, it becomes certain that whenever I get the time to get lost in a museum, I am going to use it, that is for sure!

2. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

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I have always loved this series, and my attraction towards the first movie did actually inspire me to buy the whole series of books, and I sincerely hoped to do a PhD thesis on the same, a hope which was crashed not only by not getting an admission, but also by the last book of the series. Yes, I loved the first two books of the series, and I found the second one a lot better than its movie adaptation, but among all of them, I have found the third book the least interesting, and its first half as the most boring side of an otherwise very interesting collection.

It is based on my least favourite part of the story that this movie comes, and that should actually bother me at least a bit, but I am having full faith on Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson as far as the movie is concerned, and I also expect some awesome visual beauty on the screen. The movie already has had positive opinion from the critics with a seventy two percent rating in Rotten Tomatoes. I am expecting some great cast performances and a positive use of its themes to bring a wonderful experience, making this weaker area of the book transform into something spectacular.

1. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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I have been a big fan of The Lord of the Rings and Narnia, two of those movie franchises, and whose original books are those which I have never read completely yet. There was no reason why these three movies based on The Hobbit wouldn’t interest me. I did love those two movies about the adventures of a hobbit and his dwarven friends a lot, rating the second movie a little bit higher than the first, just the reverse of my opinions about two of those The Hunger Games movies. I am not someone who can wait too long to watch J. R. R. Tolkien’s mastery before reading it. Look out for the nice cast, and also note down a name associated with it – Guillermo del Toro.

There is something about The Lord of the Rings – it is that we always keep needing more of it, and there is sadness about the fact that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies might finish it off, but that also wants us hoping for a lot more, increasing our need to watch this one. A visual extravaganza and some great action is guaranteed in this one. This will surely compete hard to eliminate Transformers: Age of Extinction from the highest grosser of the year position along with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, and it is certain that one of the first three positions can be reserved for this one and the Jennifer Lawrence starrer.

Keep calm and watch these sequels, worry not of the money you spend at the multiplexes 😀 [All images used in this post are from the Facebook pages of these movies]

TeNy

The Bright Future

As this year’s movie watching adventures come to a close, there are a number of movies which I am looking forward to in the next year, not including the sequels. As far as the quality and the variety of movies which released in 2014 are concerned, I would consider the year far behind 2013, whether we are considering Hollywood, Bollywood or even the Malayalam movie industry. There are only a few movies that are left for release in 2014, which can change that, but there is hope for the next year. It might be too early now, but these are the five non-sequel movies which I am looking forward to in 2015.

The Last Witch Hunter: Even as it kind of brings some doubt into our minds with sounding like The Last Airbender, I would trust Vin Diesel on this one, and joining him is Rose Leslie from Game of Thrones, this time with a hero who knows a lot, and this should keep the standards. As witches seek to unleash a plague, it is this hunter who stands between them. I would have like The Rock to do such a role, but it seems that Vin Diesel would do nicely – he hunts witches this time, and not aliens or humans, works perfectly well for me. May this one not be the last witch hunter you will ever want to see, hoping that this will do only good to the genre – meanwhile look at this poster’s similarities to the creature in Mama.

This should be a fascinating story (Pic from movie's FB Page)

This should be a fascinating story (Pic from movie’s FB Page)

Victor Frankenstein: As James McAvoy plays Victor Frankenstein and Daniel Radcliffe is Igor in this different adaptation of the original classic from Mary Shelley, there is the certainty of some beauty in variety here. We have had the perspectives of the monster as well as the scientist, and it is time we get the viewpoint of the scientist’s assistant. Coming up on Gandhi Jayanthi next year, lets hope that this one is not lost and not shown here due to some random stupid Bollywood movie with any superstar releasing in India, like Besharam in 2013 and Bang Bang! in 2014.

Hitman: Agent 47: As this movie which needs no introduction comes to the big screen as a reboot, this adaptation of the game franchise should do even better than the other one which released earlier. Hitman is that kind of a character with immense possibilities and a lot less chance to go wrong. Lets hope that this movie twists the wrong idea about video game adaptations and turn it into something better. Paul Walker would have been an amazing Hitman, and it is saddening that he had to be replaced with the accident. We should give this assassin a chance, because video games can certainly make good movies without getting the critical appreciation, and it is a proven fact.

Hitman was never just another game for us (Pic from movie's FB Page)

Hitman was never just another game for us (Pic from movie’s FB Page)

Crimson Peak: Its been sometimes since we saw something from Guillermo del Toro, and I have to say that whenever his name is involved, I consider the movie a must watch, and that feeling has never failed me. It has Mia Wasikowska in the lead role. If you have seen her in Stoker, you would know how good she would be in a movie like this. The nineteen century setting in a Gothic mansion far away from the city, sounds too good to go wrong. As it is supposed to be not just a ghost story, but also a Gothic romance, there is going to be mysterious feel about this one which is going to be special. Our own Loki, Tom Hiddleston is going to be there – something big is surely coming here!

Jupiter Ascending: This one has been making us wait rather too much. Along with having Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis together, this movie provides us with a huge universe extending through different planets and solar systems and if what we see in the trailer keeps happening a lot, we can be sure that there will be some incredibly powerful action and magnificent visual effects which will rule the screen. This should be an amazing new world if it can rightly deliver what it seems to possess. Check the posters and the trailer and you will know. Lets trust The Wachowskis once again to bring that awesome science fiction movie of the year to us.

Such awesome visuals and action (Pic from movie's FB Page)

Such awesome visuals and action (Pic from movie’s FB Page)

Among the sequels, my best bet would be on Avengers: Age of Ultron and Furious 7 – no surprises there. I also have high hopes for Insidious: Chapter 3, Sinister 2, Jurrasic World, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, The Woman in Black: Angel of Death, The Transporter Legacy, Terminator: Genisys, Taken 3, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, Kung Fu Panda 3, Mission: Impossible 5 and London has Fallen. There are also the upcoming James Bond and Star Wars movies, plus Fifty Shades of Grey. It is a long list of movies yet again, and my guess is that it will surely be a better year than 2014.

TeNy