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 is 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 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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  • Evilgoldfish

    Errr where do you get only 5 films from?! Lest we forget the utterly amazing Devil’s Backbone? Or Cronos?!

  • Sherlock-Junior

    For his Spanish film hattrick ALONE he is worth among the canon of great autheurs. Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth are all highly original stories.

  • Evilgoldfish

    I know you mention them but also dismiss them. Shame as especially devil’s backbone is amazing. Is it that they just weren’t covered in the US?

  • The Shadow Nose

    Fuck, yes. The guy is not only of lesser ability than many other never-lauded directors out there, but his publicity machine is overbearing and attaches himself weekly to a squillion projects that NEVER HAPPEN. And he’s a pompous windbag in every interview he does. And he clearly blew THE HOBBIT, and didn’t enthuse anyone with MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS, even WITH James Cameron attached. Overrated doesn’t even begin to cover it. And yes, the first HELLBOY was easy the best movie he’s made, because the second blew chunks.

  • eriksamdahl

    I know, bad… they are on my Netflix list now!

  • Joe_HTH

    Yes he’s overrated. What has he done other than Pan’s Labrynth? Even that was merely decent. Hellboy was mediocre and Hellboy II sucked. Blade II sucked. Mimic was serviceable at best.

  • James

    Del toro is the most overrated director of our generation. Fans, critics, studios and media have elevated him to God status, but one wonders why? Yes Pan Lab was an amazing movie but that’s pretty much the only good movie he made, hell boy is above average at best.

    Pacific Rim confirmed to me just how overrated he is, he Doesn’t have the same vision he used to with pan Lab, PR was a huge disappoitment imo and the ratings are overrated because no one dares critique him.

    If someone comes up to u and tells u omg omg Del toro! Ask them simply what movies did he make ? They’d be like “u dont know?? Pan’s Lab! Hellboy! And….well Hellboy !!” I mean really? This is the visionary god like director u everyone is hyping about?

    Yes he is a good designer makes great monsters and robots but that’s it.

    Thank God he hasn’t touched The Hobbit.

  • Doroteo_Villa

    Come on, Ron Perlman in Cronos?! That was just good.

  • ccdev

    GDT is vastly overated. The Strain, need i say more.

  • Vanihm

    PL wasn’t that original. Check out Heavenly Creatures or Paperhouse.

  • ephraim wörner

    he is a fat nerd like the movie loving internet nerds are. people love mich because he is fat and pleases the nerds. no memorable movies at all. usck my love craft

  • Volcano Dude

    I’ve been saying this for years, and I’ve given him chances with Pacific Rim & Crimson Peak, but he is completely and abundantly the most overrated director I’ve ever witnessed in film. I enjoyed the first Hellboy, sure, I fell asleep during Pan’s Labyrinth, so I should see it again someday, but his films after those have been bad to okay at best. I don’t understand the nerd love for him and am hoping a few more badly made films from him will get rid of him and his “film making god” like undeserved reputation for good. I was so glad the day I heard he wasn’t directing The Hobbit films, but I feel he tainted them with his little amount of input and vision he’s credited for.