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

Spawning Better Sequels

There are only a few sequels which have managed to be better than the original. The list is rather bigger when we consider the older movies including Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but later it turned out that the sequels were just made to make use of the franchise name and earn for money. So, lets see some of those movies which released after 2000 as the interesting sequels. You needn’t agree to this, but you can always respect others’ opinion. Here are those sequels.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier: With the oirigins of the great hero already established in the predecessor, this one develops nicely on what was there in Captain America: The First Avenger, and goes on to bring a thriller which is far ahead of any other Marvel Comics based movie featuring any superhero as the lead character. With Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson around, there is almost nothing that goes wrong with this flick of high quality. This one is not just about Captain America as you will understand; this is also not just a superhero movie, but much above that. [Read the full review here]

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Hellboy II: The Golden Army: The second movie outshines the first by using the fantasy atmosphere to go with the demonic horror which is always in the background, waiting to pounce. Visually better looking, and having more of a mixed story, this one has a clear advantage over the original. I liked them both very much, but there are too many epic scenes in this one, which means that it is very difficult not to give this one the advantage. Guillermo del Toro continues making things better, and this one surely needs another sequel. The world is different now from the time this one released, and could go on to become the classic hit.

Avengers: Age of Ultron: I have loved The Avengers, and there is no doubt about that. But this sequel is clearly better, because it has a more thrilling story-line, which is why even without Loki, this works so well. This is how a superhero franchise should evolve, into something more than just blind action, as the movie brings a stronger idea along with adding stronger cast making some nice characters like Quick Sliver and the Scarlet Witch, the latter being the most stunning addition with Elizabeth Olsen joining the team. The action is also more stylish and having more power. Even though I watched this one in a smaller theatre, I felt the superiority. [Read the full review here]

X2: X-Men United: The second movie of the X-Men should undoubtedly be the best, even after so many years with the series standing at X-Men: Days of Future Past. This second entry is my all-time favourite, and the fact that it was followed by the worst X-Men movie ever, only makes its position better. The joining of the mutants is one interesting thing, and there are many others including the addition of Nightcrawler who might be the most interesting and the most admirable character ever in the history of the X-Men franchise. Unfortunately, he was not seen much around after that. It is a surprise consider the scope that the character had.

Thor: The Dark World: The difference between Thor and its sequel is rather very less, but as the former was just an origin story and the latter having more scope, it was easier to exploit the same as far as this movie is concerned. Actually, the use of Dark Elves and their leader Malekith is the highlight of this one, and the fact that most of the action is set not on Earth gives this one the visual advantage. Even when the setting shifts to Earth, there are some very nice scenes of battle. The dark matter called Aether is another thing that adds to the curiosity of the audience. [Read the full review here]

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Instead, if we look at the movies which couldn’t do better than the original, there is a long list of them, especially with the number two, like Transporter 2, Insidious Chapter 2. Saw II, Shrek 2, Die Hard 2, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Blade II, The Chronicles of Riddick, Despicable Me 2, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and others. There are also those movies which come up with the curse of the number three, like Species III, Resident Evil: Extinction, Iron Man III, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and so on. Sequels are unpredictable, but they will make money almost every time!

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of these movies.

TeNy

People of the Halloween

It is that time of the year again, and the period of Halloween, a night which has kept me happier than most of the other night. This is that celebration, which even if not at all popular in this part of the world and not even heard about among the people of our locality, had a lot in store for us. Halloween did turn into something special in 2010, but it remained so only for just another year, and 2011 ended the same.

It was after my visit to the United Kingdom in 2010 that this celebration got going. Thanks to my cousin in England, I was able to get a few Halloween special items as the night neared. But I had to cut short my visit and return to India as my grandfather had expired. Soon, I returned with what all scary or almost scary things I had brought from the place. After a few days passed and there were only a few days to Halloween, I wondered what was the use of the costumes.

Our notices before the first & the second Halloween.

Our notices before the first & the second Halloween.

We had a group for the youth at that time, and more than a month had passed after the last meeting – I was for some odd reason the secretary of the group and decided to hold a meeting, in which I asked the same about the possible celebrations. There was not really a response in the beginning, but later we felt that may be it could be possible, not without doubts, but still there is hope.

The major arguments against the celebration were that
I. Nobody is aware of such a celebration and doesn’t care at all.
II. People will get scared and might even complain.
III. Some people might misunderstand the evil masks.
IV. We don’t conduct celebrations, only the elder’s group do.
V. We have absolutely no decision making power.

Hellboy, Mr. Brain, Ghostface & Wolfman :D

Hellboy, Mr. Brain, Ghostface & Wolfman 😀

But then we decided to give it a twist. I had read about the Halloween related fund raising programs for UNICEF which had raised a huge amount of money. It is really a nice idea, I have to say; for Halloween isn’t usually considered in a positive light, and this changes a lot: http://www.unicefusa.org/mission/usa/trick-or-treat. See what they say about the same “began in 1950 as a way to help kids who need more than candy”. Notice the tagline: IT’S SCARY HOW MUCH GOOD YOU CAN DO!

We thought, may be we could do something good with our group along with celebrating Halloween all at the same time. It was from this idea that we come up with the plan to give a detailed proposal to the association and get the permission to conduct the same. We printed notices and distributed them in each and every home to make sure that they will be ready when we arrived. We rented a few more masks from the shops to make sure that all our members were included.

Before unleashing the monsters...

Before unleashing the monsters…

We mentioned in the notice that we would take donations as well as the old clothes. Even as there were two or three homes which didn’t open the door or didn’t contribute, and even though a number of people were not at home, we did collect around five thousand rupees for the night along with a lot of old clothes, which we could take to the nearby children’s home and the home for the aged. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t go on for more than two years, due to the lack of volunteers and the absence of interest.

It is fun, and a satisfying thing to do. Unfortunately, our club did cease to exist.

How not to steal Halloween sweets! :D

How not to steal Halloween sweets! 😀


Happy Halloween 😀 🙂
TeNy