Posted on Thursday, October 29th, 2015 by Ethan Anderton
Director Guillermo del Toro is a master of blending fantasy with reality. He takes the world of the supernatural and makes it feel all too genuine, sometimes forcing us to question what we call reality. But sometimes, del Toro also uses monsters and myths to show the resilience of mankind in the face of threats greater than ourselves. And in these fantastical stories, he also brings humanity, giving weight to larger than life scenarios.
The result is a relatively small but impressive filmography spanning just nine feature films, full of beautiful visuals, magnificent creatures, rich characters and a penchant for combining unreal terror with the very real threats of tumultuous sociopolitical times. And following the recently released Crimson Peak, we decided to have all of the Guillermo del Toro films ranked.
It’s a testament to the talents of Guillermo del Toro that his worst film isn’t even all that bad. The problem is that Mimic just feels like an amalgamation of movies like Aliens and Jurassic Park, mixed with your average urban thriller, and it doesn’t deliver anything nearly as good as those movies. There are some fantastic ideas inspired by the classic tale of Frankenstein, but the meddling of humans with the nature and playing God never goes anywhere beyond your average horror flick.
Hurting the film is a roster of characters that you never really care about enough to worry that they’re becoming food for the evolved, genetically modified bugs living beneath the city — not unlike the homeless who have been rejected by humanity as well, in a not-so-subtle metaphor that is dead on arrival. Mimic has some decent scares and interesting creature design, which would eventually become a staple of the director’s work, but the combined pressures of del Toro’s personal life at this time (his father was kidnapped) and the interference from those pesky Weinstein brothers at Miramax ultimately hold it back.
8. Blade II
Unafraid of getting bloody and violent, Guillermo del Toro delivers what could be regarded as his most over-the-top comic book film — even more so than the two about a demon summoned by Nazis to do their bidding. Taking another cue from Frankenstein for the origins of the Reapers, del Toro takes action to the max with swarms of zombie-like vampires giving our hero quite a lot of trouble. The movie gets extremely goofy, including a cartoonish breaking of the fourth wall by Wesley Snipes, accompanied by endless amounts of wirework popularized by The Matrix. But somehow, del Toro pulls it off in a fun way that never feels dumb.
7. Crimson Peak
Between blockbuster comic book adaptations and monster movies, del Toro has always had a penchant for Gothic romance and horror. And while Crimson Peak certainly takes del Toro back to the roots of his debut feature Cronos and his breakthrough film The Devil’s Backbone, it doesn’t quite measure up to the quality of those preceding stories, even if the visuals and production quality have resulted in what may be del Toro’s most striking film. Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain all deliver stupendous performances, but in the end, the strange relationships between them don’t add enough weight to the proceedings to make the story feel like it matters.