Is Guillermo del Toro Overrated?

Overrated. To rate or appraise too highly. To overestimate.

Does this word, this definition, apply to filmmaker Guillermo del Toro?

Guillermo del Toro is a golden child to some. Any movie he touches, fans anticipate with bated breath. He can do no wrong, and it’s absolutely guaranteed that his next movie is going to be great, one of the best of the year. It’s as if the filmmaker has been making movies for decades.

He’s only directed five movies you’ve probably seen, with his sixth – Pacific Rim – on its way.

I fall in line just like everyone else. When Pacific Rim was announced a couple years ago, I couldn’t wait. Yeah, brah, another Guillermo del Toro movie. I can’t wait, brah, is how I was, because that’s how I talk (not really). But as my brother posed to me not too long ago, why do people get so excited for his movies as if he’s the next Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino or the second coming of Christ?

Let’s do a brief analysis:

Mimic (1997)

It has been 15 years since I’ve seen Mimic, but according to my original, poorly written review, the movie “featured stunning cinematography and a suspenseful story,” but was unintentionally funny and “not very exciting.”

Blade II (2002)

From my original review: “Blade II┬áis the average sequel in every respect – faster, cheesier, and dumber, but not necessarily boring to watch.”

Hellboy (2004)

Perhaps the film del Toro is best known for, Hellboy demonstrates the director’s ability to make a lot from a little. With some good action, great humor and cool special effects, Hellboy is a fun, imaginative and quirky film that looks like a blockbuster, without the blockbuster budget.

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

One of the most alluring, creative and beautiful movies of the 21st century, this Oscar nominee put del Toro on the map and established him as a filmmaker to watch.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

While by no means terrible, there’s just something off about this sequel. Del Toro tried to turn what was an action-comedy into a fantasy-action-comedy, and the result is inconsistent at best.

Argument A: Guillermo del Toro is not overrated

The list above excludes two of del Toro’s earlier and more critically acclaimed Spanish-language films, Cronicas and The Devil’s Backbone, both of which are certifiably fresh on RottenTomatoes.com. I’ve seen neither.

Furthermore, even if all or most of his movies aren’t perfect, he makes consistently good movies – which is more than can be said for most filmmakers. When the only truly bad movie of your career is a horror movie from the 90’s, things could be a lot worse.

Also, Guillermo del Toro was the producer of The Orphanage, one of the best horror movies in recent memory.

Argument B: Guillermo del Toro is overrated

Of his most well known and mainstream movies, only two stand out as true keepers. Two were good-but-not-great action sequels, and one was a forgettable horror movie. At best, he makes consistently decent but rarely great movies, and if he is to be considered a revered filmmaker, he still has a long way to go.

If The Orphanage is going to be brought into the equation, than so does Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, another movie del Toro produced – and co-wrote. That horror movie was one of the worst movies of the last decade.

What do you think?

There’s no denying that Guillermo del Toro is a talented filmmaker, especially when it comes to creature and set design. But having talent does not mean he isn’t overrated. And if anything, being overrated simply means that unfair expectations has been placed upon him. What do you think?

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Action Movies, Fantasy Movies, Featured, Foreign Films, Horror Movies, Movies, Science Fiction Movies
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