Cronos (1993)

Directed By – Guillermo del Toro

Screenplay By – Guillermo del Toro

Cinematography By – Guillermo Navarro

Starring Federico Luppi, Ron Perlman, Claudio Brook & Tamara Shanath

94 min.

It is only fitting that I started my month of Spanish language films with a Guillermo del Toro movie and now I have ended it with a Guillermo del Toro movie.

Cronos isn’t so much a great movie as it is greatly original and creative. It is such a cool and bizarre story that you really have to find out what happens. It takes this old antique dealer and makes him the star in a dark quest for immortality.

With its in-camera effects it very much in the same vain of Re-Animator, even if it is not as outlandish and gory. But if you’re looking for a good time and something incredibly original, Cronos is a short fun film filmed with all the themes you’d want from a tale about the power to live forever.

God Bless America

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Directed By – Guillermo del Toro

Screenplay By – Guillermo del Toro

Cinematography By – Guillermo Navarro

Starring Ivana Baquero, Sergi López & Maribel Verdú

118 min.

What a better way to start my year of foreign movies than with Guillermo del Toro’s mystical Pan’s Labyrinth.

Pan’s Labyrinth is definitely Guillermo’s best directorial feat as he adds his notorious touch of the fantastic to a deeply moving story. This is just a really really good movie on all levels and while personally I would like a tad bit more of the fairy-tale element and the faun character, there is not a moment of extraneous fluff that could be cut out and nothing really needs to be added. While this is an “Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland” kind of tale it is also very much the story of the last of the Spanish rebellion of the fascist regime and the evil general that is leading the troupe that is suppose to quell the remaining strands of the rebellion.

Pan’s Labyrinth is a throughly engrossing movie, with moments of complete fantasy and moments of the harshest reality of war. There’s blood and elements of the grotesque and also elements of the surreal. This movie deals with birth and death, life and familial bond. Pan’s Labyrinth is very much unlike all other del Toro’s movies because it uses his style and his creatures to tell a story with heart and passion. Everyone (of age) should watch Pan’s Labyrinth.

God Bless America

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

Directed By – Peter Jackson

Screenplay By – Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro

Cinematography By – Andrew Lesnie

Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen & Richard Armitage

144 min.

When I saw the first Hobbit movie I was pretty pissed because it was boring and made me just want to watch a trilogy of much better movies called The Lord of the Rings. When I saw the second Hobbit movie I thought “okay, the dragon is awesome” and there were plenty of fairly good moments in The Desolation of Smaug. So I figured Peter Jackson wanted to make three movies so that this third movie could be the coolest thing ever. Unfortunately, The Battle of the Five Armies is totally lackluster and without a point.

What kills me, KILLS ME, is that Jackson made three incredible movies out of three incredible books with The Lord of the Rings trilogy, yet decided to make three movies out of one book with The Hobbit. J.R.R. knew that Bilbo’s tale was worthy of only one book, but sadly Jackson thought he knew better than the original creator. Dammit Peter.

The Battle of the Five Armies is an entertaining blockbuster and will keep your attention for the long runtime of 144 minutes, but there is no reason why I would ever ever ever rewatch this or any of the other Hobbit movies. This is completely different feeling than what I have with The Lord of the Rings trilogy which I revisit about once a year.

The Hobbit would have made one hell of a movie (SINGULAR), a movie that would (or at least should) have paralleled in greatness to The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Two movies would have been pushing it. A now that all is said and done, three movies would make an amazing book into a joke of a trilogy.

Hollywood please please please learn from Peter Jackson that no one book should ever be turned into three movies, your two-part scheme is already over the top.

God Bless America