Movie News

Capone chats with Guillermo Del Toro about PAN'S LABYRINTH, HELLBOY 2, 3993, SILVER and more!!!

Published at: Dec. 27, 2006, 3:36 p.m. CST

Hey, everyone. Capone in Chicago here. Literally for months after I saw PAN’S LABYRINTH for the first time back in September, I knew that I’d be interviewing writer-director Guillermo del Toro when he came through Chicago in early December. For about two-and-a-half months, I was giddy with anticipation. Guillermo has a long history with AICN and an old friendship with Mr. Knowles that I’ve been aware of for some time. But since I live in the Windy City, I’ve only gotten to know the man through his films. This was our first actual exchange of any kind, but Guillermo has a way of making even a complete stranger feel like an old friend. The big bear hug he gave me at the end of our interview will stand as testament to that. Just to explain a little about our initial introductory exchange: very often when I meet a director who has some knowledge of AICN, the publicist will simply tell the person my real name and my affiliation. What I’ve learned this year more than any other year is that, with the exception of Harry, the AICN editors’ real names don’t really mean much to actors or directors. But when you throw names at them like Quint or Moriarty or Capone, then the interviewees get a little more excited and open. Guillermo didn’t know exactly who I was for the initial part of our exchange, but that changes, as you'll read. I hope this transcription captures some of Guillermo’s enthusiasm and love for PAN’S LABYRINTH. My love of the film knows no bounds, as it’s clearly on of the great films of 2006. Just to give you a little bit of a timeline, this interview took place a couple of days after BNAT 8. Be warned: there are SPOILERS scattered throughout about PAN'S. And now, here’s our friend Guillermo del Toro…

Capone: I went to the pre-BNAT screening of PAN’S LABYRINTH, and I think I liked it more the second time, probably because I wasn’t writing the review in my head while I was watching it.

Guillermo del Toro: Where did you see it first?

C: Here in Chicago, at a screening set up for just for me a couple months ago, which I felt kind of guilty about. There was just me and one other person in the room. I assume that had something to do with you wanting all the Ain’t It Cool people to see it early and put up our reviews right away.

GDT: Really? What is your pseudonym?

C: Capone.

GDT: You’re fucking Capone?! [He reaches to shake my hand for a second time.] Hey, really nice to meet you, man.

C: I’m sure you heard all of the details, but we had a good Butt Numb-a-Thon this year, in addition to your film acting as the warm-up act.

GDT: Yeah, Harry loves doing it. Fucking 300. But the only report I read was mixed on it.

C: On 300? No way.

GDT: Well, there was a guy that loved it, but he said the crowd said after that it will never be done the proper way.

C: I think what that person might have meant was that there were some effects shots that the director said still weren’t quite finished, but it looked good to me. I have to say, though, that in terms of premieres this year, this was probably the most consistent lineup. I know he accepts some of the premieres sight unseen, which has resulted in some mishaps in the past. But this year, every one of the premieres was great.

GDT: Did you stay for the screening of CHILDREN OF MEN?

C: I did not, but I’d seen it already. And that wasn’t part of the official lineup, just for people who stayed the extra day.

GDT: I love that movie.

C: I love it too, and I did want to ask you about your friends' films [Alfonso Cuaron’s CHILDREN OF MEN and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s BABEL], but let me talk about PAN’S LABYRINTH first in case they pull the plug on us too soon. The thing I picked up on the second time is the idea that, for this girl, the only thing scarier than her fantasy world is the real world. The way you convey that visually struck me as something that could only have come from someone who had had similar childhood terrors in their life. Did you, in fact, have such nightmares or waking nightmares?

GDT: Many, many, many of them. I know this is going to sound completely like mushroom-induced bullshit, but when I was a kid, when I slept in the guest bedroom of my grandmother’s house, at midnight, a faun would come out from behind the dresser. And I know it was lucid dreaming, I know it must have been. But at that age, you are dreaming that you are in that room, you dream of the exact same conditions. It was a recurring nightmare. The distant church would strike midnight. The hand would come out first from behind, then it would pull out the face, then the left leg would come out, and it would start pulling itself out from behind the dresser, and I would start screaming. They would come fetch me and take me to one of the other rooms. It really was a recurring nightmare, that one. I find that the girl in the movie is not so much trying to escape reality, which is the way that it would normally go. She’s actually articulating the world through her fantasy. So the things in her fantasy would reflect things in the real world. It’s not really her way of coping with the real world, more like interpreting. Fantasy, for all of us, is a very intimate place, as intimate as religion and as spiritual as religion. That’s why movies provoke that much anger and that much passion, because when a filmmaker you love does a bad movie, you not only don’t like him; you want to kill him, kill his whole family, burn his house to the ground. And by the same token, when someone does something you like, it speaks to such an intimate place that you absolutely fall in love with that.

C: Do you remember, did your faun look anything like the faun in the film?

GDT: Absolutely. I was trying to recreate him. And I saw monsters and creatures when I was a kid alone in my room. I’d see the proverbial monster behind the chair. I know they were lucid nightmares.

C: It’s funny how those types of nightmares speak to the things you were exposed to as a child. I was allowed to watch the old Universal horror movies as a child, so my monsters in the closet were vampires and Frankenstein’s monster. It’s interesting to hear you articulate that.

GDT: I had a recurring nightmare with…what do you call the Japanese IRON MAN here in America?

C: You mean TETSUO: THE IRON MAN?

GDT: Yes, yes. When I got a fever, my hallucinations would be of that shot of The Iron Man flying into camera. I don’t know why.

C: The two films of yours I’ve always had the greatest fondness for are, I guess, what I’d call the two most reality-based ones: THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE and this one.

GDT: Those are my favorite films too.

C: What is it about the post-Spanish Civil War, Franco-led era that has fascinated you? I’m not sure Americans will understand the significance of the period.

GDT: It’s the brutality. The worst acts of violence are those that occur in a household, and a civil war is that. A civil war is a war in the household. That’s why the two movies take place in two buildings, and basically the people living in them are killing each other. I think that the tragedy of civil war, if you read the accounts of the civil war in Spain, a father would kill his son on the battlefield because the son was a Fascist and the father was a Republican or vice versa. Or brother would kill brother, literally. Neighbors who have lived next to each other for 25 years, all of the sudden, are killing each other. It’s a decomposition of social values that is so terrible. For example, many of the acts of violence shown in the movie are taken from oral accounts that I read. Some of the dialogue comes from testimony of the time. For example, the priest in the movie says about the rebels, “God cares little what happens to their bodies, He has already saved their souls.” Or the episode with the bottle on the nose is a mixture of a memory of a street brawl that I saw as a young guy. We were in the middle of it, and a friend of mine was being beaten with a bottle. And the only thing I noticed was that the bottle was not breaking, like in Western movies, like John Wayne breaking the bottle over someone’s head. The rest of the scene plays out pretty much like a little anecdote I was consigning about a Fascist coming into a grocery shop and basically bashing the nose of a guy with his pistol, and getting out of there. He picked up his groceries and left.

C: Both films also seem to have a lot of these intense fears shown through the eyes of children. Are children stronger than most adults give them credit for?

GDT: I think children are purer than most of us. And by purer I don’t mean in a nice way. I just think that a child can feel uncontrolled rage, uncontrolled fear. They simply have no way of measuring it. At the same time, I think they are also capable of just accepting without qualifying. So, that’s why the girl in CRONOS accepts her grandfather, even if he’s running away. Or the child accepts the ghost once he sees the ghost as his equal in DEVIL’S BACKBONE. What is hard in these movies is to take structures that are very accepted and changing them because they are contained in a child’s universe. For example, in CRONOS, the least scary thing should be the vampire. The vampire is a victim. In DEVIL’S BACKBONE, the least scary thing should be the ghost. And the scariest things should be this proto-Fascist caretaker. In PAN’S LABYRINTH, the scariest thing should not be the monsters; it should be, in theory, the Fascist captain.

C: Not just in theory. Do you relate to the child actors differently?

GDT: What I do is treat them like adults, in a sense. I don’t condescend to them when I’m giving them instructions. At the same time, people think children shouldn’t be in such violent films. In reality, shooting a movie is pretty boring. So, let’s say that the Pale Man [one of the creatures in PAN’S LABYRINTH] is scary the first time you see him. By the second day of shooting, when the Pale Man is having a bagel and some coffee, he’s about as scary as your uncle.

C: Is that what you call that character, the Pale Man? He’s not given a name, other than in the credits. [At this point Del Toro opens up a sketch book filled with his drawing and notes for PAN’S LABYRINTH, at which point I want to bonk him over the head and steal the book so I can spend hours looking at it.. He turns to a page featuring his character designs for the Pale Man, which are identical to the way he looks in the film.] Oh wow. I was going to ask you about the design for him. When the girl walks into that room and see the dining hall and see him, it feels like we’re stepping into the middle of something that been going on for hundred of years. Why is his skin drooping from his body?

GDT: What I try to do is create a world that has a mythology behind it, and then I try not to explain the mythology. I think the minute you do that, the mystery goes away. This design is based on a guy I know who is very old and lost a lot of weight…

C: The pale man looks like one of those people.

GDT: And a friend of mine had an encounter in a locker room, and he described it, “You wouldn’t believe it, there was skin going everywhere!” And I just thought it was a look…when I create a creature, since we don’t have money to enhance every shot with CG, I thought dangling skin looks really good when you make it with silicon. So I said, let’s do it like that. Originally the sculpture was an old man’s face, but when I saw the first sculpture, I did this drawing and I removed the face and faxed it to the [makeup effects team] DDT company and said he has no eyes. Let me figure out where the eyes go. And I thought that he could have them on a plate and he can grab them with his hands. But then I thought, what if he has a stigmata and he puts them into the stigmata. That’s the way I thought about it.

C: When he puts his hands up to his face to see, it’s a terrifying moment, and I’m not even sure why. But it’s far worse then just putting the eyes in his head, which is what you think is going to happen. I guess the obvious question would be at this point, will we ever see Doug Jones’ [who plays both the Faun and the Pale Man in this film, and played Abe Sapien in HELLBOY] actual face in one of your films?

GDT: No, not if I can help it. [Laughs] He actually has a couple of roles in HELLBOY 2.

C: So I hear. But when I saw that he played both characters in PAN’S, I wondered if you chose to do that because he had the right body type to play them, or if you were linking the characters somehow.

GDT: Okay, I’m going to give you a couple of spoilers to those who haven’t seen the movie yet. So skip this if you haven’t. The idea for me was Pan the faun is the Pale Man and Pan is the frog.

C: I wouldn’t have guessed the frog, but okay.

GDT: Yes, the girl's tests aren’t really about the tests. If you watch the movie carefully, the fairies that the Pale Man eats all come back at the end. They’re all alive. So the idea is that the real test for the girl is not so much the test, but seeing how she learns from her mistakes and seeing how she is capable of following only her instincts and disobeying the rest of the influences. It’s about her being her own little person. And her decisions are morally tested, if you want. This is very anti-American. It’s not the regular Western structure. It’s very much fairy tale logic. For example, the frog under the roots of the tree is very much recurrent in fairy tales. I remember there’s a tale called “The Three Hairs of the Devil.” The devil is asleep and a guy pulls one hair, and he can ask one question, whatever he wants to know. And there’s a town where water won’t flow, and the town is dying of thirst. So the guy pulls the hair and asks the devil, “Why is water not flowing in the town?” And the devil says, “If you look under a stone, you will find a giant frog. Kill it, and the water will flow.” That’s fairy tale logic. I’m so fed up with so many notes when I’m developing a screenplay for a studio. Why this? Why that? The tale just has to be told, it’s not a logical exercise. Why does Cinderella need to leave at midnight and not 1 o’clock or 2 a.m.? If it was a Hollywood story, you would have a character saying, “In traditional magic, midnight is the time of…” It’s endless babble. So I love the fact that in my movie, the three tasks are really testing her will. For example, [in the Pale Man sequence] the fairies point at the middle door, and she chooses the left one. They say don’t eat the grape, and she eats the grape. If you watch the movie, you’ll see her mother has sent her to bed without supper. And the next day is the near miscarriage, and she hasn’t eaten. So her hunger says, eat the grape. And it’s a big mistake, but it’s a mistake she’s going to learn from. And in the end, when the faun says, "Give me your brother," she can say her own answer.

C: In the event, we run out of time…

GDT: We’ll ask for more time.

C: Cool. I will come back to this movie, but I want to make sure I get these questions in before we’re cut off. Where are you with HELLBOY 2 now?

GDT: We are in pre-production. We are designing. We’re budgeting with Universal. We’re scouting in Hungary. We’re doing effects breakdown, all of that. We’re going to shoot in May-June in Hungary and London.

C: It seems like your name comes up a lot with different projects [this interview took place before the rumor about TARZAN broke]. But the one I’ve read about that actually makes sense because it’s another Spanish Civil War-era piece called 3993.

GDT: Yeah. 3993, the idea, I read the screenplay by a guy called Sergio Sanchez and I loved it very much. The idea was brilliant. He’s doing another draft. I need to work with him, and then if the draft comes out the way I want it, I would love to direct it. It’s a movie I’m scared of because it would be the only movie of the three about the Civil War that has mostly contemporary elements. It’s split up between 1993 and 1939. It’s about how the Spanish Civil War, which a lot of people at the beginning of this new century think is a thing of the past, can come alive then. It’s hard to describe it without spoiling it. I’d love to do it, and I’d love to do a movie in Mexico again. But I’ve been stuck on page 60 of a screenplay called SILVER for 13 years, and it’s essentially about an old masked wrestler who becomes a bodyguard to a group of politicians in Mexico. He is fat, he has a broken leg, he doesn’t wear the mask anymore. And he finds out they’re vampires, and now he has to kill them at age 60-something. He puts on the mask and goes out to kill them.

C: No, that’s the one. Finish that one. Forget everything else.

[At this point, the publicist makes the first of many valiant attempts to shut the interview down. Guillermo ask for a few more minutes.]

C: The only other overriding theme in PAN’S LABYRINTH I wanted to hear your thoughts on was the idea of being pushed into a certain fate versus taking control of your own destiny. That’s ultimately what Ofelia's life boils down to.

GDT: Yes, it’s the some story in CRONOS, and the same story, for me, in HELLBOY. It’s about how what you choose defines you. Most people allow circumstance to define them, and I think destiny…there’s that great phrase in TERMINATOR, “No fate but what you make.” I think up to a point, that’s true. The movie tries to tell you that for every character in the movie, there is a moment of choice. The movie is based on the crossroads, the labyrinth, right turns, left turns, choosing where you go. And it’s a theme for the doctor, a theme for Mercedes, a theme for the mother, who chooses obedience, for example.

C: I did want to touch on what we talked about earlier: your friends’ films. The three of you have made three of my favorite films this year: your movie, BABEL, and CHILDREN OF MEN. Is there a common thread in the three films?

GDT: We talked about it a little bit. The three movies ultimately are connected by two things. I believe very much that in the case of PAN’S LABYRINTH, it’s very much like a Rorschach test, like a blotch test, in that people either find it incredibly green or they find it incredibly hopeful and poetic, and I feel that the three movies talk about hope in a certain way. And the three movies are father-and-son or parents-and-children stories. In Cuaron’s film, it is the absence of children that makes the movie ultimately about children. But the reality, it’s a deal where we coincide working this way and we’ve been friends--Alfonso and I--for 20 years. PAN’S in the third movie we’ve produced together. I wanted to produce PAN’S myself because I felt I needed more control over the movie because of past experiences. And Alfonso is a great partner; we produced CRONICAS together, a small Ecuadorian-Mexican co-production.

C: Is that the film with John Leguizamo as the journalist?

GDT: Yes, yes. And we produced DEVIL’S BACKBONE along with Almodovar. And I feel that in all of the 20 years--with Alejandro it’s been 16 years--of friendship are coming to fruition now. We hang out together, and we talk to each other more than we talk to our mothers.

C: Having these three films one right after the other this year has been a unique experience. It’s really changed the landscape of what has come out this year.

GDT: When I watch BABEL, I was really entranced by the Japanese story. Because the other stuff, I could see Alejandro doing. He’s very good at that juxtaposition of timelines and violence. But the Japanese story was so delicate, so well observed, so private in a way. I was very taken by that. And CHILDREN OF MEN, I’ll tell you, even when he explains to me on paper how he pulled off the shots he did…he explains to me how he did it, I still don’t know how the fuck he did it. How can you plan that way?

C: And it’s not just those three big scenes. He does it all the way through the film.

GDT: People talk about the three big ones, but it’s also throughout the movie. Much of the movie is single shots. I was sworn to secrecy about how he did it, but I can tell you this, I don’t think that in terms of cinematic invention that there will be anything that daring for a while, that really beautiful execution of digital and physical effects together.

C: There’s a real distinction in PAN’S LABYRINTH between the grotesque and the violent. The true violence of the film is reserved for the real world.

GDT: True, and I don’t want to spoil anything, but the Pale Man eating the fairies is pretty rough. To me, the grotesque is beautiful. There’s an element of the poetic and beautiful with the grotesque, in general, in art. You can see it in a Fuceli painting or a Goya engraving or a symbolist painter or Francis Bacon, you name it. The grotesque contains a heavy dose of melancholy, loss, and poetry. But the violence in the real world is dealt with in a way that is very shocking but at the same time, it is very off-handed, very nonchalantly by the captain. It’s everyday violence in the war. When you see the movie again, I do the opposite of what you would do in a horror film. In a horror film, each death becomes more and more inventive and elaborate. More like set pieces, like Dario Argento or Lucio Fulci. In this movie, it’s the exact opposite. You start with an elaborate, violent death, which is the bottle on the nose, and little by little, it becomes more lean until the final death, the doctor’s demise, is one shot. I probably just spoiled that. To the point where the captain does his final act of violence, I finished that frame and the D.P. turned to me and said “What’s the coverage?” and I said “That’s it.” That’s the whole point; it’s just like that. There is one moment in the whole movie that is completely larger than life, and that’s the sewing of the mouth. And the reason for me including that is that it proves a character point. This guy [the captain], we saw him cut his own throat in the mirror. We saw him deny his father’s watch. We saw him polish his own boots, fixing his own watch. I think it defines who he is, what an unstoppable guy he is, that he is sewing his own mouth. And he becomes, essentially, the Big Bad Wolf at that point. I think it was necessary for him to become the ogre. Even so, in his final moment with the baby and the rebels, is such a tender moment when he says, “My son.” And I am at peace with creating this mutilation on him. They call it a Chelsea smile, half Chelsea smile, really. Like the Chelsea gangs in Britain. I think that it’s about creating a monster, but allowing him a moment of humanity right before he dies.

C: Another common theme in your films. Okay, now they are shutting us down, and I know the guys that are waiting to get in, so we should stop. Thank you so much for sitting with me for so long. [And then came the aforementioned bear hug.]

Capone capone@aintitcoolmail.com



Readers Talkback

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  • Dec. 27, 2006, 3:09 p.m. CST

    Pan's Labyrinth, eh? May

    by Grimjack99

    Pan's Labyrinth, eh? May have to check it out.

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 3:15 p.m. CST

    What about Deadman?

    by holidill

    Isn't he involved in that one as well?

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 3:24 p.m. CST

    cool, even more...

    by streakerfreak1983

    interested now!

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 3:25 p.m. CST

    Excellent.

    by Nordling

    Great interview. PAN'S is one of my top 10 for 2006, and it's intelligent and beautiful. Very nice interview, Capone.

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 3:29 p.m. CST

    GUILLERMO DEL TORO GOTTA EAT

    by Pound Sand

    Apparently, so does the Pale Man, who favors a cup of coffee and a bagel.

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 3:44 p.m. CST

    Love it.

    by Rakafraker

    GDT is a entertaining guy. I like the movies he makes, even if they are mostly popcorn flicks.

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Del Toro

    by kbass

    Some truly great movies and some not so great. But at least his movies are interesting.

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 3:57 p.m. CST

    awsome movie

    by harold_maude

    this years end has been great, my top two Pan and Rocky balboa

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Wide release?

    by biggles2_22

    Does anyone know when the movie will go into wide release? There's nothing scheduled here in Mich.

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Whatta Guy

    by DOGSOUP

    Maybe this year begins a different kind of Mexican Revolution....shit I just had a premonition on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. I just hope the second Hellboy animated movie is better than the first.

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 4:52 p.m. CST

    does this guy scare you?

    by carpemundus

    or is it just me? www.carpemundus.com - seeing del toro in our nightmares

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 5:01 p.m. CST

    Woohoo! Pan's Labyrinth unedited in the US!

    by Veraxus

    I've been terrified for months that the movie would get studio chop-shopped for it's US release... but much to my joy, the commercials they are running advertise an R-rated film! Hugbies!

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 5:03 p.m. CST

    Silver

    by Veraxus

    So... GDT is making Bubba Nosferatu?

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 5:14 p.m. CST

    This Interview Just Frustrated Me More

    by Mr. Winston

    Though I thought that many of the components of PAN'S LABYRINTH were very solid and that the WWII portions of the film worked extremely well on their own, I was really, really disappointed by the film - for a few of the reasons del Toro mentions. <br> <br> To me, his comments about creating a mythology and then not explaining them...that's a huge cop-out. I would make the case that the "tasks" Ofelia has to complete in the movie don't parallel, even slightly, her real world woes - nor does she seem to learn at all from them (until a forced sequence at the end). They seem like random, mostly pointless exercises in Pan fucking with her to an Nth degree, whether it's just to taunt her or to distract her from the pain of her waking life. <br> <br> I wrote a review for this film which I sent in and I was damn sure AICN wasn't going to publish because I'm so anti-del Toro as a screenwriter (though I think he's a brilliant director). I understand that, but I think it's pertinent to warn everyone who's going to see this that it's not a fantasy film - it's a war drama. In the nearly two hours of running time there might be 15-20 minutes total of fantasy narrative. That's it, and I think I might even be generous in that approximation. And not only did the fantasy not seem to relate to the real-life drama taking place, but it didn't seem to make much sense on the whole. Why del Toro thought he could provide a weak fantasy subplot to a WWII drama is beyond me, but I didn't think it worked. I would have much rather seen an intimately realized fantasy world with a WWII backdrop...because the fantasy world, in its visuals and concept, had the potential to be stunning. <br> <br> To me this movie was a hell of a lot less about him wanting to let the audience figure out the story and much more about him not being able to tell the story he had in his head properly.

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 5:39 p.m. CST

    I love The Devils Backbone...

    by leeVSbenway

    ...although it gets a little less awesome the more I watch it, can't fricking wait for PL. If GDT were to give me a bear-hug I'd pop a boner and try to nuzzle up to the big guy until he got creeped out or invited me back to his place. Great interview Capone.

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 7:22 p.m. CST

    Mr. Winston

    by BadMrWonka

    but the concise wrap-ups and exact parallels that you seem to be hungry for, are exactly what Del Toro said frustrates him about the Hollwood system. expectations like that, while they might be a comfort to many viewers, stymie the freedom that writers and directors should have to tell a story that is not so precisely defined. it is the result of his own childhood dreamscapes, and an attempt to make a statement about children's fantasies and the escape they provide, especially within a horrific environment. why is there a need to provide a perfect package for everything? personally, I'm looking forward to this one, not for a perfect story, but for a glimpse into a part of life that, while fairly universal, is rarely done sufficient justice in cinema: the fantasy world of the child'd mind, and the wonder and horror it provides.

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 7:39 p.m. CST

    Oh well Mr. W, I'm still there opening night

    by DOGSOUP

    This Friday GDT you get my money.

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 8:49 p.m. CST

    when is pans labyrinth coming to theatres

    by white owl

    in the small towns? if at all?

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 9:53 p.m. CST

    MAY DEL TORO CONTINUE TO EAT

    by Unlabled

    .

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 11:10 p.m. CST

    BadMrWonka, DOGSOUP

    by Mr. Winston

    First of all, you SHOULD be there opening weekend. For all the parts of this movie I didn't like, there are still many that I did. Out of all the films out there it's still worth your $10, even as flawed as I find it. <br> <br> To you specifically, MrBadWonka, I would say that, in my perception of the film, it wasn't at all about a perfect package or a three-act structure. It was about telling the best story, and telling the best story the best way it could be told. I think if he had done a straight WWII story it might have been an absolute masterpiece, and had he told a straight fantasy I would have been enthralled. But the way in which the story unfolds...it didn't work for me. And let me state this: I am sick and tired of the Hollywood treatment. I despise it more than just about anyone. But I found this effort, while brilliant in parts, too mismanaged to take. I didn't find that the fantasy elements had anything to say about the realistic elements, and I think when you're trying to navigate this kind of narrative that's a huge problem. I hope you find differently, but even if you don't the price of admission for the experience will surely be worth it.

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 11:21 p.m. CST

    Second best movie of the year

    by oscarbait

    Not to be redundant, but the Pale Man scene was awesome. Hansel and Gretel meets Pinhead...WICKED!

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 12:28 a.m. CST

    Thunderballs

    by streakerfreak1983

    do you ever have anything nice to say. Have you seen Devils Backbone or Cronos? I am going to say I did not like Mimic or Hellboy(although I do feel it could have been better if it was done outside Hollywood) But his films done outside the system are great. Geez, always so negative. What do you like?

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 12:31 a.m. CST

    he just needs to stay in Spain shooting...

    by streakerfreak1983

    Spanish Civil War/post-spanish civil war area films.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 12:44 a.m. CST

    what about Del Toro's long-gestating adaptation...

    by beamish13

    of Katsuhiro Otomo's "Domu"? Will that ever happen?

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 1:01 a.m. CST

    FIRST!

    by graycove

    _

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 1:27 a.m. CST

    AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS

    by where_are_quints_hobbit_set_reports

    I just scanned this interview looking for any AMOM news... what the fuck is the status on this, which is frankly the project I'm most excited about??

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 2:27 a.m. CST

    Love this F'N Movie

    by Redfive!

    Ive seen it three times now and each time Ive seen it with a different person who falls in love with it.Theres very few films that do that.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 2:36 a.m. CST

    "I'm still waiting..."

    by andrew coleman

    I'm still waiting for you to stop using my oxygen but that hasn't happened yet. Del Toro owes you nothing, so keep waiting. This movie rocked by the way and I plan to see it again when it comes out. Is it on the 29th? I'm not really sure.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 3:23 a.m. CST

    Thunderballs

    by Vern

    Del Toro has made two good movies I believe - MIMIC and HELLBOY. The other ones are GREAT movies, so I can see how it could be frustrating to you.<p> Seriously bud, CRONOS, DEVIL'S BACKBONE, BLADE FUCKING 2... what does a guy have to do to impress the mighty Thunderballs? I mean be honest, even YOU have got to ask what kind of a miserable person could find nothing to like in any of those three movies. Honestly bud it makes me sad every time I see your talkbacks. You are like the man born without the ability to smile or be happy. Forever cursed to keep us updated on how much everything and everyone sucks. Your soul will not rest until you have made a list of everything that has ever existed in the world with "is a piece of shit" or words to that effect written next to each one.<p> But you're part of the family. We still love you. You are our crazy uncle who yells at us and never laughs. But blood is thicker than water. Some day you'll love some movie and we'll all be there to witness it.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 3:30 a.m. CST

    Guillermo del Toro is my favorite director

    by Ribbons

    True story. I was really hoping he'd be able to make 'Domu' happen, but apparently the rights are inextricable. It's too bad; for many months I imagined what it would be like, and whether he'd be able to convince a studio to let him make it Japanese without throwing a couple of white people in there, and whether Otomo would be willing to collaborate with him and how that would influence the project, and so and so forth. Ah well. I'll be seeing 'Pan's' this weekend, hopefully enjoying it as much as others have, and it makes me happy to see so many projects with Del Toro's name attached to them these days. However many of them actually pan out remains, as always, a painful mystery, but I'll be cheering him on along the way.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 5:32 a.m. CST

    Pan's Labyrinth: The Waring Blender School Of Filmmakin

    by The Devilled Backscribe

    Take a pinch of "Labyrinth" (surprise!!!), a dash of "Nightbreed" and (the underrated) "Dream Child"; and then toss in huge portions of the 1985 Byelorussia-set movie "Come And See" (there's scenes in this that look like DelToro lifted shot-for-shot), and you end up with "Pan's Labyrinth", one of the most schizophrenic things I've seen this year: a movie that doesn't seem to know who it's talking to. I was largely bored by the flick. Ofelia drifts off into her fantasy world...why?? Despite the horrors around her, she seems blithely wel-adjusted, and lacking in any motivation. Then again, "Devil's Backbone" was similarly listless: a total one-trick pony. Del Toro sure has one sharp publicist, because he's got all the fanboy fools thinking he's the second coming of Luis Bunuel.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 5:47 a.m. CST

    Wanted a fantasy but was spoon fed cliche war film...

    by Prague23

    It's not the fantasy I was expecting, not at all. Stephen King naming it as his favorite film of the year was really surprising to me. Although, the version of Pan I saw had TERRIBLE English subtitles (when they decided to include them!), and was dubbed into French! Del Toro just isn't the god of filmmakers to me like the AICN crowd screams. So, maybe if it's released in Prague and I can see it 'properly' I'll be able to enjoy it. Instead of sitting in confusion, wondering why I'm watching a war movie, using basic cliche plot points and elements, instead of the f'in fantasy film that I was hyped. It didn't even have really good music, I thought. Casino Royale was infinately better.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 5:58 a.m. CST

    Second best movie of the year indeed!

    by Klaus Herzog

    With "Children of Men" being the first that is. I didn't care much for del Toro's movies before. Kinda enjoyed "Mimic", didn't care for "Blade 2", hated "Hellboy". But "Pan's Labyrinth" is a fantastic movie. I really can't recommend it enough. I hope del Toro directs one of the last installments of Harry Potter, he would be perfect for it.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 7:32 a.m. CST

    Thunderballs by Vern

    by antonphd

    wow. ok. i'm impressed. that was better than I could ever have handled Thunderballs. nice one Vern. I would have just told him to fuck off or ignored him. you got class man. you got class.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 8:24 a.m. CST

    WIDE RELEASE????

    by biggles2_22

    C'mon help a brutha out! Does anyone know when the movie will go into wide release?! There's nothing scheduled here in Mich. Oh, and Thunderballs? You suck. Congrats on getting Vern to respond to your suckiness. It probably made your day. Anyone to slag GDT is just fishing for debate and obviously not being serious. If your visiting this site on a regular basis, you've got some clue as to good film making. (Unless of course you're prepared to come out of the closet to profess your love of everything Uwe Boll.) Otherwise, get the f#$% back in the closet and stop fishing for debate. Vern, stop taking the bait from this loser.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 9:10 a.m. CST

    way to go Vern

    by streakerfreak1983

    Although I do not feel your sentiment to Blade 2 (just could not get into the series) Devils Backbone and Cronos were great.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 9:19 a.m. CST

    The Devilled Backscribe and Prague23

    by streakerfreak1983

    so devilled by your name it seems you just came onto this site to attack del Toro and prague what the hell does Casino Royale have to do with del Toro. Another damn talkbacker picking a random film out of his ass to attack another. At least pick a film that is related in some sort of way. Yes I loved Casino, I am a huge Bond fan, but in no way can it be compared to ANY del Toro film.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 9:20 a.m. CST

    Vern

    by PwnedByStallone

    Your response to Thunderballs was the best thing you have ever written. I love GDT and I look forward to Pan's. As it stands Devil's Backbone andd Blade 2 are my favs. Seriously I was initally kind of meh about Blade 2 but I have seen it a couple times since and I'm convinced it's one of the great horror/action masterpieces of our time.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 9:24 a.m. CST

    wow Ak-47

    by streakerfreak1983

    I guess all the talk about you being Thunderballz was misguided

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 9:38 a.m. CST

    I loved Hellboy

    by kinghenryVIII

    There is nothing wrong with that movie (minue the wanna be love triangle with the Agent - but I guess that had to thrown in). Hands down, great movie and a good time. Good story, cool FX, and Ron Perlman was great.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 10:49 a.m. CST

    "Fucking 300"

    by triplefive

    even Del Toro is excited for this one. no pressure, Snyder. no pressure at all.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 10:56 a.m. CST

    & Mountains of Madness must be hard as hell to adapt

    by triplefive

    its all dry, scientific descriptions of five-pointed shapes and large empty caverns. i get what ole HP was doin', but it really wont make a good movie if adapted straight.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 11:39 a.m. CST

    WIDE RELEASE????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    by biggles2_22

    Bueller?...Bueller?...Bueller?...

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 12:19 p.m. CST

    GDT

    by Cobbio

    Thanks, Capone. I enjoyed the colorful and seemingly heartfelt interview with Guillermo. He seems like a friendly, thoughtful guy, and while the only movies I've seen of his are "Hellboy" and "Blade 2," I enjoyed "Hellboy" enough to recognize that Del Toro's star is on the rise.<p> Another thing I enjoyed about the interview was Guillermo admitting he had faun-filled nightmares as a kid. I can relate big time, in my own way, I guess. Brain chemistry and its resulting "lucid dreams," as Del Toro called them, have a lot to do with how a child's mind develops. Nightmares often affect kids in a big way, and I think I now know why Guillermo developed such a creative imagination. Thanks for giving us this tidbit of information, Capone. I'll keep it in mind when I go see "Pan's Labyrinth" in a few months. Can't wait.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 12:31 p.m. CST

    El Gordo rocks

    by CuervoJones

    Great director and great human being (no pun intended)

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Eres un ejemplo para los gordos del mundo, Guillermo

    by CuervoJones

    Siempre te lo digo y te lo volveré a decir.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 1:02 p.m. CST

    streakerfreak1983

    by PwnedByStallone

    Not the same person. We just seem to be the only two people on Earth not blindly enamored with Rocky Balboa. Although it seems now he just hates everything so the comraderie I once felt is beginning to fade.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 1:27 p.m. CST

    devilled backscribe

    by BadMrWonka

    throwing in a Bunuel reference doesn't mean you're not still a troll. just means you took a couple of film history classes. maybe that's why you have to hate an innovative director for coming up with new ideas while you're still figuring out what to do with that sociology degree. (possibly communications),<br><br>here's a tip, if you sign up for a talkback account with a trollish name, then make fun of the same director your name is feebly parodying, you're not gonna get much cred. that's kiddie stuff.<br><br> it's hard, but possible, to make a reasonable argument against del toro's films, even here on AICN, but you haven't done it, pal.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 3:34 p.m. CST

    Here Here

    by J Skell

    Good one BadMrWonka. I've gone to film school and I hate to break it to you Devilled but everything you just said pretty much makes no sense. No one is really claiming GDT is Bunuel. What we are claiming is that Pan's Labryinth is an amazing film for what it is: a standard fantasy film that dips into the historical, the horror genre, and the classic fable, and it's done with a poetic honesty. That's a hard thing to do. A very hard thing to do. I don't think Bunuel could have made Pans, but of course LGT can't make any of the films Bunuel did. Different worlds my friend.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 4:36 p.m. CST

    LGT = Luillermo gel Toro?

    by BadMrWonka

    just kidding, I get what your saying.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 5:08 p.m. CST

    Streakerfreak: Say what? You

    by The Devilled Backscribe

    Streakerfreak: Say what? You missed my James Brown quote earlier. DelToro is an egomaniac who has a great publicist. Let's be serious. He was fired from "Mimic", totally didn't acknowledge his earlier screenwriter on ANY of his "Hellboy" discs, and gets away with pretending that his "homages" of his other material are "fresh". Let's not forget: after he came on to "Hellboy", it was put into turnaround...and "Hellboy 2" has been rejected by two studios, and still is awaiting a greenlight by Universal. And "Mountains Of Madness"? After the way DelToro ran "Hellboy" into the ground originally at Universal...is it any wonder "Mountains Of Madness" has been rejected a couple of times already? In fact, look back at ALL of his projects. "Monte Cristo"...the Mark Frost stuff. Let's face it: Del Toro doesn't really inspire confidence with his work.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 5:10 p.m. CST

    AK-47, you are just worried Del Toro will come on and..

    by Talkbacker with no name

    ...rip you apart Stallone style! hehe only messing with ya, mate. But seriously, is it me or have a lot of people chilled the fuck out since Sly's visit?. It's nice. I like it!

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Skell: No sense? You claim

    by The Devilled Backscribe

    Skell: No sense? You claim to have gone to film school (oh, joy -- you and the REST of "failed hollywood working at McDonalds"): try this instead. SEE THE MOVIES I CITED, especially (ironically) "Come and See". The AICN Del Toro "LurrveFest" is just embarassing. Have you people responding here actually SEEN "Pan's Labyrinth"? Seriously. It's not that great.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 5:17 p.m. CST

    The Devilled Backscribe, you are kidding right?

    by Talkbacker with no name

    or just being an arsehole? They are many directors yu can hack on but Del toro is not one of them. The guy is a fucking master. <p>If you read the interview, Hellboy 2 has been greenlighted and starts filming soon. Man, you really should read the news instead of just jumping right in with pointless nonsense.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 5:33 p.m. CST

    Talkbacker: "HB2" has NOT

    by The Devilled Backscribe

    Talkbacker: "HB2" has NOT yet been greenlit. (Not "Greenlighted") The design team (including Wayne Barlowe, Mignola, storyboard artist Tracey Wilson) have been working out of the Valley the last several months to ratify a budget for the movie. That has still to happen. In the words of Thomas Dolby: "Quod Errat Demonstrandum, Baby".

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 6:12 p.m. CST

    Devilled

    by J Skell

    No I don't work at MacDonalds. I didn't fail. I work in television. I've had scripts actually optioned. And I've seen Pan's Lab twice. I'm not a Del Toro maniac and think this is his first great film. Devil's Backbone was good, but not polished enough. I fully admit I have not seen "Come and See", but I have seen all the others you mentioned as well as most of Bunuel's work. You can say that is the crux of your arguement and anything I say is null and void until I do see "Come and See", but it brings up a more interesting point. It doesn't matter if it's similar to parts of "come and see". Really, it just doesn't matter. Because the film feels authentic. It struck me deeply and personally and few films do that. And that's more way more important that whether or not something may have come from something. It's why I still support Tarantino even though he rips off every single moment. Because the movie still has it's own voice at the end. And I don't think GDT is remotely as bad as Taratino in that regard. I'm curious what films you've seen have given you a similar genuine response. I can tell you've seen a great deal and are thoughtful so I'd just like to know. Cheers

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Directors

    by J Skell

    Another thing. This is a huge general point and maybe people can argue with me here. I don't like every director. But I appreciate any director who gets a following. Because films in the end are designed to communicate. And if a film strikes and resonates with a group of people then that's all that matters. I can think they're terrible, but it's okay because they communicate with someone out there. A director with a fan base is something infinitely more valuable than some dude like Tim Story or Brett Ratner who just goes through the motions with their movies and stick to "professionalism." Anything else we argue about is just a matter of taste. (A great movie that kind of deals with this subject in social terms is "The Ballad of Jack and Rose") So to Mr. Devilled: I like Del Toro. A lot of us do. Believe it or not, we're not idiots. And it's something that should at least be respected.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 6:37 p.m. CST

    Wait, is Devilled Backscribe the screenwriter

    by Vern

    who he says went unacknowledged on the Hellboy dvd? At first I thought he was just some knowitall dude who didn't like Pan's Labyrinth, but now all the sudden he's dumping a list of inside info and gossip from throughout Del Toro's career, with a real disgruntled former employee vibe. Come clean bud, what's your story?

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 6:37 p.m. CST

    Vern

    by J Skell

    The plot thickens...

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 6:41 p.m. CST

    If so...

    by J Skell

    He's on IMDB. I don't want to say the name cause that's calling someone out, but Hellboy info is up there. If it is him, I thought it was written like a british accent...

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 6:48 p.m. CST

    Mimic

    by J Skell

    The problems of "mimic" were well-documented in Peter Biskind's book "Down and Dirty Pictures" and that debacle falls squarely on the shoulders of who else but the Weinstiens. They basically made it hell for him and re-edited the picture because they were bossy know-it-alls. (Believe it or not, they've actually gotten better lately. Though they still refuse to ACTUALLY RELEASE most of their good asian titles) Saying he was almost fired doesn't matter because they almost fire everyone but Quentin. They hated directors who didn't do what they wanted. Which is why the keep hiring John Madden.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 7:37 p.m. CST

    DEVILLED BACKSCRIBE GOTTA EAT

    by Pound Sand

    Vern's right (as usual): what's the what-what here?

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 7:46 p.m. CST

    I'm hurt, devilled

    by BadMrWonka

    that someone so confused and out of touch as yourself didn't even respond to my jab at ya...oh well. that's life. <br><br>if you're so special, go out and hire that publicist of GDT that you're so enamored with, you putz.

  • Dec. 28, 2006, 8:31 p.m. CST

    Hey Devilled

    by streakerfreak1983

    "The Devilled Backscribe Dec 28th, 2006 05:08:41 PM Streakerfreak: Say what? You missed my James Brown quote earlier. DelToro is an egomaniac who has a great publicist. Let's be serious. He was fired from "Mimic", totally didn't acknowledge his earlier screenwriter on ANY of his "Hellboy" discs, and gets away with pretending that his "homages" of his other material are "fresh". Let's not forget: after he came on to "Hellboy", it was put into turnaround...and "Hellboy 2" has been rejected by two studios, and still is awaiting a greenlight by Universal. And "Mountains Of Madness"? After the way DelToro ran "Hellboy" into the ground originally at Universal...is it any wonder "Mountains Of Madness" has been rejected a couple of times already? In fact, look back at ALL of his projects. "Monte Cristo"...the Mark Frost stuff. Let's face it: Del Toro doesn't really inspire confidence with his work." I'm confused what the hell does any of that have to do with anything I said. James Brown? What? Did I miss something?Someone help me here. Vern, anyone....

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 7:50 a.m. CST

    Speaking of poop...

    by Frijole

    I got one of those 20 Questions little handheld game thingies at Christmas... and it's amazing how many things it gets right. It actually guessed it when I was thinking of poop. And it even called it "poop". "He called the shit 'poop'... Hahaha!"

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 8:12 a.m. CST

    Yackback: I don't have a

    by The Devilled Backscribe

    Yackback: I don't have a strong opinion of DelToro's work either. I actually liked Cronos, and don't think Mimic is as bad as everyone makes out. And I didn't even hate Pan's. But I'd rate something like Photographing Fairies higher.

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 8:34 a.m. CST

    Spirit of the Beehive

    by Harker-Writes

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned the movie Spirit of the Beehive. Spanish Civil War combined with James Whale's Frankenstein. Del Toro must have seen it even if no one here has.

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 9:06 a.m. CST

    The Devilled Backscribe you really are...

    by Talkbacker with no name

    a strange little fella. You have been asked some interesting questions yet you choose to answer yackbacker. <p>Are you a disgruntled former employee or not?

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 9:24 a.m. CST

    The guy is allowed to have

    by B_Harrigan

    The guy is allowed to have an opinion. And I love how Vern pulls out Blade 2 as being an example of great film making.

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 10 a.m. CST

    no love for Blade 2?

    by just pillow talk

    While not great filmmaking, it was a pretty good action flick, and the best of the Blade series...

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 10:54 a.m. CST

    Blade 2 Love

    by J Skell

    I went with my friends to a screening after finding the first blade pretty much laughable. About halfway through it I was like "is it me or is this pretty good?" It's a much better action flick with a great mood and visuals. I thought it was the only decent film in the series.

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 10:56 a.m. CST

    Can't believe Devilled

    by J Skell

    did not respond to the identity questions. If you are indeed Mr. Briggs than you deserve to be called out because you've been parading a personal vendetta as objective opinion. If you are not the screenwriter than it helps validate your lack of bias. Folks are curious....

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 10:57 a.m. CST

    MCMLXXVI

    by Scarbro

    I don't know why you're damning Michael Bay but I'll take any chance to do the same! Damn him! Dam him to the hell that it is to sit through his movies! (Although, Transformers looks good.)

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Mimic

    by Scarbro

    I remember meeting the head of the FX company that worked on Mimic in Toronto. He told me this story that Del Toro actually paid $25,000 of his own money to finish the effects he wanted after the studio (I guess the Weinsteins) refused to let him make the movie he wanted. I always admired Del Toro for that.

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 11:22 a.m. CST

    lol Scardro

    by BadMrWonka

    you must be new here if you're responding to MCMLXXVI, that's ALL he posts, ever. and transformers looking good, well I don't have an opinion either way, but that viewpoint will get you some lashings around here. just letting you know! welcome to the talkbacks!

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Blade 2

    by Vern

    Yes, I did and will continue to hold out BLADE 2 as an example of great filmmaking. As much as I love Del Toro's "classy" movies, BLADE 2 is the one I watch over and over again. It's gotta be one of the best "for hire" director jobs there ever was.<p> You guys may not love BLADE like I do, but that's just because you haven't gotten there yet. To me BLADE 2 is a damn miracle, because with the combination of what it was a sequel to and who the director was, I had impossibly high expectations to fill. And it topped them. It takes much of what I loved about the original but ups the ante, making it weirder, more atmospheric, with more interesting villains, better fights and amazing, breakthrough special effects. Blade and Whistler still get great lines, and they even saved some for Ron Perlman. Plus, who ever thought Del Toro could do an action movie? Well, he did. You guys were getting all excited about dudes swinging around on ropes for X-MEN, meanwhile BLADE 2 has people getting their heads banged through cement poles. I think this was also the first movie to switch from the actor to a digital stunt double and back in the same shot. All the super hero movies since should be paying BLADE 2 royalties.<p> In conclusion, BLADE 2 is better than whatever horseshit you chose as your top ten or twenty movies this year and last year. Hope this clarifies, thanks.<p> p.s. Backscribe, are you to blame for ALIEN VS. PREDATOR, if so please apologize so our nation can begin to heal

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 11:43 a.m. CST

    Hey, I can dig the criticism

    by Ribbons

    I acknowledge that, although I think Del Toro is a great director and has a fascinating imagination, he could use some help in the screenwriting department. If that was your job, Mr. "Backscribe," then maybe I'm sorry, although not knowing any of your work it's kind of hard to say. I don't know what all this talk about 'Hellboy' being in turnaround for a while proves, btw, because half of the idiots who put it there were probably the ones who said shit like "What if he only turned red when he got angry?" But whatever.

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Blade 2

    by B_Harrigan

    "In conclusion, BLADE 2 is better than whatever horseshit you chose as your top ten or twenty movies this year and last year. Hope this clarifies, thanks." -Vern So Blade 2 is the better than every movie made in the last two years? Yeah, you cleared that up for me you smug bastard.

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 12:48 p.m. CST

    Why do Americans like 'Children Of Men' so much..?

    by workshed

    I thought it did Mr.Cuaron no favours in terms of his reputation.

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 12:51 p.m. CST

    saw it again

    by cahcat

    i saw Pan again last night, Doug Jones was at the screening, he's soo awesome and charismatic, this movie is just magical and beautiful and sad. Oh so good.

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 1:26 p.m. CST

    Sounds kind of like a darker version of Labyrinth.

    by superninja

    I bet this movie doesn't have David Bowie, though!

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 1:33 p.m. CST

    Thnx BadMrWonka!

    by Scarbro

    Yeah, I guess I've got 'new guy' written all over me now. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 1:36 p.m. CST

    Oh well, I'm with Thunderballs.

    by superninja

    Don't think he has made a really great movie yet.

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 1:39 p.m. CST

    Blade 2 is good for what it is.

    by superninja

    Compared to anything else, though, it's just not very good.

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 1:44 p.m. CST

    My problem with Hellboy is that it is not shot

    by superninja

    very creatively. If you look at the comic, the use of space and light, it is begging for this type of visual translation to the screen. It would have set Hellboy apart, and instead it looks like Blade V: Enter Hellboy.

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 2:31 p.m. CST

    Vern and digital stunt doubles

    by snomusic

    It's actually that crappy digital work that stands out like a wart would on Salma Hayek's nose that totally takes me out of the movie. It's the same reason I hated Matrix Reloaded with the terrible CGI Neo. It's as bad as watching the 1948 Superman serials where they switch to a cartoon Superman to make him fly. That was really great wasn't it? NOT.

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 3:01 p.m. CST

    Saw it this AM. Great movie. Really, really, great.

    by McGsStepson

    A fine film and one of the few end of the year films that has really had an impact on me. And its not A LOT of fantasy, but when that "part" of this film is onscreen it is both unforgettable and fits with the civil war narrative to great effect.

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 3:33 p.m. CST

    Truly one of the great films of the year

    by Nabster

    Pans really was an incredible movie. Sure it was a visionary movie, with an script as original as they come, and some superb imagery, but the actors also need to be commended. Finding good child actors seems to be so difficult,however, in this movie the child is pitch perfect. She seems very believable, and the facist captain is just incredible. I havent seen Cronos or Devils Backbone, but i certainly have new found respect for Del Torro, the man comes of as incredibly inteligent in this interview. All of my friends in London also loved it, even the ones whom I thought did not have the patience or sophistication for foreign films. I really could go on about this film. Whoever would have thought the two best films of the year would be ones made my Mexican film-makers. The other one in my opinion was Children of Men. Some of the most incredible and intense direction ever to grace a screen. The mounting tension created by those long unbroken shots are simply unparalleled. Movies like Pans can make one love and believe in films again. Oh and please make silver you next project, it sounds like another excitingly original project

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 5:17 p.m. CST

    Rose & The Mexican Three

    by Scarbro

    Hey y'all, Thought you guys would like this, it's an awesome interview by Charlie Rose (and what interview by Rose isn't?) with the three Mexican directors Del Toro, Cuaron, & Inarritu in a round table conversation about "film and friendship". Del Toro even lets Charlie read through his Hellboy2 diary. It's pretty awesome to see this kind of friendship in an industry filled with big egos and low self esteems. Enjoy! http://tinyurl.com/yzhyn8

  • Dec. 29, 2006, 10:20 p.m. CST

    Interesting. I like...

    by Jaka

    ..Hellboy. Crazy, huh?

  • Dec. 30, 2006, 2:50 p.m. CST

    Talkbacker with no name

    by PwnedByStallone

    Don't think I haven't noticed that the love for Rocky Balboa has taken a noticable decline since the movie actually came out and people have seen it.

  • Dec. 30, 2006, 4:01 p.m. CST

    Rare opp. - wife wants 2 C movie but no PANS/CHILDREN

    by JDanielP

    Yeah, if either "PANS LABYRINTH" or "CHILDREN OF MEN" were playing this weekend (at least, close to us), one of these two movies would have our evening dollars. We're checking all theatres anywhere within a good drive and can't agree to anything else. (I've seen "THE GOOD SHEPHARD" and "ROCKY BALBOA" ...and together, we've seen "THE HOLIDAY") Looks like it will be a DVD tonight, for sure. And we may have to wait for PANS or CHILDREN on DVD. Damn, ...if only timing wasn't everything.

  • Dec. 31, 2006, 3:30 a.m. CST

    AK-47, look, if you are a Rocky fan

    by Talkbacker with no name

    You are going to love Rocky Balboa. I saw it over the weekend and loved every minute <p>Rocky! Rocky! Rocky! Rocky!

  • Dec. 31, 2006, 7:34 a.m. CST

    Pan's script wasn't that great.... but.....

    by blindambition238

    I saw Pan tonight and of the films i saw this yea, Babel and Children of Men included this was by far my faveorite. I have to agree, along with many here now it seems, that the script wasn't that strong in retrospect; many of the plot points involving the whole war scenario werent exactly that refreshing and fairly predictable. You could pretty much map where the Doctor and Servant's (Verdu) storylines were going to go when they first entered the screen. However, Del Toro's direction, told the film's story with the right enough of emotion, creativity, and themematic nuances to make the entire experience memorable. What's the saying? Plot is nothing, story is something, and narrative is everything? Oh yea and I didn't realize Blade 2 was hated hated by some. I love that fucking movie! Its definatly not that smart or inspiring of a flick, but like Vern said: for what it was supposed to be it was pretty damn impressive. I still think that scene where Snipes tears through all those armoured guards is one of the best moments in comic book films. Oh well I trashed my credibility but those were my 2 cents.

  • Dec. 31, 2006, 7:35 a.m. CST

    wow i made typos abound

    by blindambition238

    sorry guys. damn small typing box thingy

  • Dec. 31, 2006, 11:20 a.m. CST

    Vern--you've lost it.

    by moondoggy2u

    Its opinions like yours that prove Backscribe's ultimate point: geeks, and this site in particular, will take some relatively unknown mediocer director and pad his resume to the point of absurdity. Blade 2 is the best movie in the past two years? Vern--grow up.

  • Dec. 31, 2006, 11:26 a.m. CST

    The truth about Del Toro, Vern

    by moondoggy2u

    Is that he's a midling director who shows promise--nuff said. Save perhaps for Pans Labrynth, which has unknown cult film status written all over it (zero anticipation or awareness of this film outside of a few websites), all of Del Toro's films are forgettable and purely average. Will Del Toro get better? Who knows, maybe he'll always be the same or maybe he's just getting started, but one thing is for sure: he's not the second coming as this site, and VERN in particular, would have you believe. In fact, if I may be so bold, this is all just another example of AICN creating a lot of false hooplah over some midling film because the director of said film was willing to give this site a lot of face time and gift packages.

  • Dec. 31, 2006, 11:34 a.m. CST

    And finaly, Vern, you might want to stop rewriting

    by moondoggy2u

    history. THe first blade was a mildly successful film (mostly due to its lower budget). Sure, it helped pave the way for marvel movies, but other than that, no one cared. To the average movie goer, it was some forgettable piece of popcorn trash, and the same goes for its sequel, which only looks better due to its higher budget, NOT del toro. You make it sound like Blade was some hard act to follow and Del TOro is God among men for knocking the ball further than the original. And thats just one example of why most of us over the age of 14 roll our eyes at the AICN hype machine.

  • Dec. 31, 2006, 12:26 p.m. CST

    Anyone else skip a heart beat...

    by Neosamurai85

    ... with the fleeting thought that he was remaking Miike's Silver? Cause that scared the shit out of me. Peace.

  • Dec. 31, 2006, 1:39 p.m. CST

    saw Pan's yesterday

    by oisin5199

    I really liked it, but it didn't necessarily have the emotional impact that I look for in movies like that. That's not necessarily a fault of the movie, just my own expectations. Anyone looking for a full on fantasy epic will be disappointed, but what I think Del Toro does is actually stronger, more resonant and powerful. But it's the kind of film that percolates over time - more cerebral than I would have expected. And I have to disagree with the earlier poster (Mr. Winston - funny that's my dad's name) about the fantasy and reality being unrelated. There was absolutely nothing random in this film. The clockwork imagery is no accident, as things are finely structured like a clock. As Del Toro says, the scariest monster is the Captain and there are subtle references that he's a kind of minotaur in this labyrinth. Pan is the thing that challenges Ofelia - he's both the facilitator and obstacle to her journey back home to perfect familial and civil bliss (the underground kingdom). He's both endearing and scary. And both the 'fantasy' stories and 'reality' stories have to do with hidden things - things underground (buried letters, treasure, hidden people (rebels) in caves, hidden creatures in pits and labyrinths) - it did feel like the two worlds could easily exist side by side. Ironically, in Chicago, Pan's is playing more places than Children of Men, so I'm still waiting to see that film.

  • Jan. 1, 2007, 7:20 a.m. CST

    moondoggy

    by Ribbons

    No offense pal, but it's quite possible that Del Toro appeals to a lot of us here, myself included, because he's a genre director? Being able to use your imagination and create semi-coherent worlds through film is a pretty admirable talent. While it may not make him an objectively "good" director, it appeals to me. Although I do think he's great behind the camera as well, mostly in terms of composition. I can understand people who don't vibe with his movies thinking he's overhyped; truth be told, I feel the same way about Robert Rodriguez half the time. So we're simpatico. But I take umbridge (umbridge, I say!) to the intimation that anybody who actually has the gall to *like* GDT is just a sucker of "the AICN hype machine." More specifically that we're employing covert tactics to try and trick people into liking him? Why? I can only speak for myself, but I "would have you believe" that GDT is one of my favorite directors because he actually is, not because I think that I have to help maintain the status quo of AICN as the arbiter of geek taste or something.

  • Jan. 1, 2007, 11:16 a.m. CST

    Ribbons--believe me, I totally agree with you

    by moondoggy2u

    Also, I think you'll have to point out to me where I said that anyone who likes GDT is a sucker--and if I unintentionally implied that you would be a sucker for doing so, then I apologize. . If you'll notice, I never even commented about the article or those who like/dislike GDT, but rather, with Vern's laughably immature statement that Blade 2 was better than any other film released during the past two years (which he stated as fact, not opinion). That, Ribbons, is one of many examples that more than a few mods at this site treat its audience in a less than honest and/or objective manner. Again, I'm not accusing you guys who like GDT as some massive AICN conspiracy, but rather, I'm disputing Vern's less-then-objective statements and this site's tendency to overhype directors, seemingly for unethical reasons.

  • Jan. 1, 2007, 11:48 a.m. CST

    by the way,

    by moondoggy2u

    I meant that I agree with you concerning your right to have a favorite director and such. Hell, the Star Wars prequels are some of my favorite films and you know how much of a red button issue that is! Just to say it one more time, if I implied that you or anyone else that enjoys GDT is an idiot or something, than I beg your pardon. My dispute was with Vern's obviously asenine post and AICN's tendencies, which, whether you subscribe to such tendencies or not, do exist and cause many among us, myself included, to treat AICN with more than a few pinches of salt. Still, for the record, I do like this site, warts and all.

  • Jan. 1, 2007, 1:39 p.m. CST

    Just wanted to let everyone know...

    by JimmyLoneWolf

    That I saw Ebert and Roeper's 10 Best of 2006 special yesterday and AO Scott (in my opinion the best of the guest critics) picked Pan's Labyrinth as his 2nd Best film of the year! The clip they showed was literally jaw-dropping in its beauty and uniqueness. Now I understand why this site has been reporting on this film for months...its that damn good! Guillermo Del Toro is truly a gift to cinema...and I still remember him bursting into tears of joy after seeing the Abe Sapien model for Hellboy. He's that kind of guy. One last thing...The 1973 Spanish film The Spirit of the Beehive fits perfectly between The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth. It concerns a little girl's obsession with the movie Frankenstein and her escape into fantasy during the Franco-regime. It is considered by many to be the best Spanish film of the 1970's. I'd recommend seeing The Devil's Backbone first (its set in 1939, Beehive is set in 1941), then The Spirit of the Beehive, and finally Pan's Labyrinth (besides taking place in 1944, it seems a culmination of all the films set in this time and place). Enjoy!

  • Jan. 1, 2007, 4:56 p.m. CST

    Das cool

    by Ribbons

    I had just gotten the impression from your post that you were accusing everyone, or almost everyone, for liking Del Toro for reasons that weren't genuine.

  • Jan. 2, 2007, 3:47 a.m. CST

    here's a long one for Moondoggy

    by Vern

    You're right, when I wrote "In conclusion, BLADE 2 is better than whatever horseshit you chose as your top ten or twenty movies this year and last year. Hope this clarifies, thanks," it was, as you put it, "obviously asinine." And if you can show me where in the Constitution it states that I am not allowed to make an exaggerated statement in a talkback to amuse myself, I will show you which part somebody added onto your copy of the Constitution to fuck with you.<p> That said, I think what you're saying about Del Toro is also a silly exaggeration. You don't have to like the guy's movies. But to write him off as "a middling director" and claim "all of his other films are forgettable and average" is bullshit. Are you kidding me? Yes, BLADE 2 is my favorite of his movies (I am partial to movies that kick ass and/or take names.) But the other ones are the pure Del Toro movies, and I haven't even seen PAN'S yet (it's not playing here). Regardless of your personal enjoyment of CRONOS and DEVIL'S BACKBONE, you're honestly telling me they're just "average"? I don't see how you can use that word to describe movies that have such a distinct look and feel and obviously personal stories (something you don't get in too many horror movies, especially these days). Even his most compromised movie, MIMIC, is completely unique. I mean, who else is making movies even remotely like Del Toro's? Nobody. To be average it would have to be everybody. The guy is obviously an original with a unique touch and to call those movies "average and forgettable" is exactly what you're accusing "The Ain't It Cool Hype Machine" of doing, in my opinion, just in the opposite direction.<p> As for this "Hype Machine" I'm supposedly a part of, I don't think you understand my place here. I don't know what those other guys do down there in Texas, but as far as me there is no orchestrated effort on anything. I send them a review in email and they usually put it up. (Every once in a while I have to send it twice.) That's the extent of our conspiracy. Those guys don't even email me. They don't even send Christmas cards. I never met or saw Del Toro in my life, but I liked his movies before most of these other jokers. And I will keep enjoying them as long as they are enjoyable, which is so far working out.<p> By the way I don't think I've ever reviewed a Del Toro movie on The Ain't It Cool News before. I did send them a pretty positive review of HELLBOY but they didn't run it, because I guess their Del Toro Hype Machine was on the fritz that day.<p> Finally, in regards to the BLADE movies, I never said a word or even a letter about what some mainstream composite "average moviegoer" thought of them or how much money they earned. I was saying what I thought about them, I thought that would be clear but I will specify for now on. In my opinion and not the opinion of the mainstream C+ most representative moviegoer, hell yes, BLADE is one of the best movies of the past ten years, especially of that type. I, myself, alone, without the company of a carefully selected scientific sampling of moviegoers from various backgrounds and geographic locations, watch it over and over again. It definitely WAS a hard act to follow, and Del Toro IS impressive (not sure about gods among men, sounds kind of un-Christian) for knocking it out of the park. I'm not just "making it sound like," I am explicitly stating it for the second time. For clarification. What's so ridiculous about saying I loved BLADE and was amazed that the sequel lived up to my expectations? I bet there are average moviegoers out there who make more outrageous statements than that and you NEVER jump on their balls like you did me. you play favorites man. You're hurting my feelings. <p> I'm sorry, Moondoggy. If you can't accept that I love the BLADE movies then I'm afraid we just can't be friends anymore. I hope some day you can forgive me as I have already forgiven you for trying to ice skate uphill, etc.<p> p.s. that is a reference to the movie BLADE starring Wesley Snipes. thanks Moondoggy but cut me some slack please. happy new year bud.

  • Jan. 2, 2007, 1:27 p.m. CST

    Vern,

    by moondoggy2u

    When have I said that you have no right to make an ass of yourself? You of course have every right to your opinion, but dont expect people like myself to call you out on it. Do I retort every other opinion in this world made by your average Joe and Samantha? Of course not, but when we are in a talkback forum designed for points and counter points and you make an admittedly dumb and/or overly emotional statement, you might want to expect to be taken to task for it. AS for the idea that I'm exagerating when I say that GDT, although talented, is middle of the road to myself and many others, well, all I can say is that your perspective remains somewhat dubious. To not subscribe to the idea that GDT's Blade 2 is one of the best films in 10 years could hardly be considered an exageration by anyone other than someone with, shall we say, questionable attitudes. Finally, I think you may have to reread my statements to Ribbons concerning the freedom to enjoy movies before you accuse me of being unable to accept your tastes. My entire beef with you, Vern, and to some extent, many AICN mods in general, is that you state your OPINION as fact, which only serves to exagerate the merits of a director and/or film and undermine your own credibility. I'm sorry that you cannot accept a rational argument for SOME professionalism on your part and instead equate said argument about perspective as "hype" and, thusly, hypocrisy, but that doesnt change the argument's accuracy. Just for the sake of argument (and simplicity), let us assume I am "negatively hyping" a movie, your positive hype doesnt mean your credibility is any less shot, does it? Is it okay to beat Timmy up since Bobby did, too, Vern? Anywho, I'm done beating you in the head over this, Vern. Remember, in the future, try to lay off hyperbole and feel free to stick a "In my opinion.." every now and then, okay? Oh, and with all sincerity, I wish you a veerrry happy new year to you, too. And sorry about the lack of paragraphs--I've still have yet to figure out how to do it--the instructions are way over my head. Old dogs and all that;)

  • Jan. 2, 2007, 1:28 p.m. CST

    oops.

    by moondoggy2u

    thats supposed to be "Dont expect people like myself to NOT call you out on them.

  • Jan. 2, 2007, 1:29 p.m. CST

    oops.

    by moondoggy2u

    thats supposed to be "Dont expect people like myself to NOT call you out on them.

  • Jan. 2, 2007, 1:32 p.m. CST

    sweet jesus, i seriously need to edit before I post

    by moondoggy2u

    I meant, "feel free to stick a 'in my opinion...' in your posts every now and then.." Sorry for the garbled post, Vern.

  • Jan. 2, 2007, 1:57 p.m. CST

    moondoggy

    by Vern

    I'm not a "mod." Maybe this black box they gave me is serving me wrong, but I'm just a talkbacker like you. I wrote up a pretty good list of a small percentage of the reasons why I love BLADE 2. I ended it with a joke. You are beating me over the head with my joke, ignoring all my reasons, and saying Del Toro is middle of the road without giving any explanations of what you don't like about his movies or even which ones you're talking about. I WIN MOTHERFUCKER.<p> See, the last part in all capitals was the part I didn't mean. So respond to the rest.<p> thanks Moondoggy, I don't think we know how to communicate with each other but at least we're trying to be reasonable. thanks bud.<p> p.s. try the letter p inside some < > triangle bracket things

  • Jan. 2, 2007, 4:27 p.m. CST

    Vern returned

    by moondoggy2u

    You're not a mod, huh? I appologize, then, because I had always thought that anyone with a black box was a mod or something. I appologize, then--I did not know. <p> As for our communication skills, I think its more of a case that we just have completely different styles of syntax and humor. Were we not so limited, things would probably be quite a bit clearer between us. Concerning my examples of his being middle of the road, I give you Blade 2, Mimic, and Hellboy. You say Mimic is unique, but I see nothing in that film that shows anything beyond your typical monster movie. It plays exactly like Alien(s), Jurrassic Park, Congo, Phantoms, Relic, and a slew of other late 90s horror flicks. Same goes for the direction in Hellboy and Blade 2, for that manner. Granted, I havent seen Pans Labyrinth, and it may indeed be the bee's knees, but that doesnt take away from the fact that the bulk of his work doesnt exactly stand out--save for his obvious penchant for darker films. <p>Make no mistake, however, Vern, there are things I like about GDT. As lower budgeted action/adventure films go, he knows how to go the extra mile. His films look like they cost twice what he was budgeted--no small feet in modern cinema. Furthermore, I do like his use of heavy contrast shadows, something not done in many films as of late. <p> Thanks for the help, by the way--these paragraphs are a godsend. Oh, and no need to thank me for being relatively well-mannered in our disagreements. You and I have butted heads on more than one occassion, if I recall, and you have always been very respectful. After all, rudeness and profanity is the bane of all civilized discourse. <p> ps. Now fuck off, asshole. ;)

  • Jan. 2, 2007, 4:30 p.m. CST

    shit. I put the first P break a few sentences early.

    by moondoggy2u

    oh well.

  • Jan. 2, 2007, 4:57 p.m. CST

    GDT ...

    by Dee1973

    ...shows promise as being a great director, I saw PAN a few times and it gets better with each viewing. I also find it pretty depressing some of the comments concerning the coherance of the fairy tale elements...hello? , it's a fucking fairy tale mate! But i did come across an interesting interpretation which said that the tasks relates to the mother's difficult pregnancy

  • Jan. 2, 2007, 5:42 p.m. CST

    Moondoggy

    by Vern

    Does that mean you don't consider DEVIL'S BACKBONE and CRONOS as middle of the road, or you haven't seen them? I think of those two (and hopefully PAN'S) as what Del Toro is about, and then he does these other for-hire movies for fun and puts his spin on them. I guess you can't say that about HELLBOY because it was his passion to adapt that comic book. I don't like that one as much as the others but it is still a movie nobody else would've made, up to and including the monster characters all being dudes in makeup.<p> Plus, that clockwork nazi dude was pure Del Toro.<p> As for MIMIC, here are the things that I think are pure Del Toro: the bizarre image of the insect whose features camouflage him to look like a man. The autistic kid obsessed with making rhythms with spoons. The fact that kids die in the movie. The people rubbing bug juice all over themselves. The shadowy cinematography and eerie soundtrack. Probaly other stuff, but I haven't seen it in a while. I agree though, it has a whole ALIENS-ripoff vibe you can't shake by the end but I think Sr. of the Bull put his fingerprints all over it still.<p> BLADE 2 though, come on dude. Masterpiece. Admit it.

  • Jan. 2, 2007, 6:15 p.m. CST

    intelligentsia

    by J Skell

    This reminds me of either the duels of the old english aristocracy where men would take turns shooting at each other like in "Barry Lyndon". ALSO, where is the DEVILLED. His complete lack of repsonse means that I believe he is indeed Mr. Briggs who would obviously have a big bone to pick with Del Toro personally and therefore not exactly the most objective of critics.

  • Feb. 13, 2007, 12:12 p.m. CST

    Damn good interview

    by Rupee88

    For a long time, all I knew of Del Toro was Blade II and Hellboy and I was not overly impressed, even though those films were kinda cool. But I just saw Pan's Labyrith and now i know what all the fuss is about. And reading this interview makes me respect and admire him even more. I plan to check out Devil's Backbone for sure. And good job by Capone here too. Good shit, aicn.

  • Feb. 13, 2007, 12:14 p.m. CST

    And that young actress doesn't get enough credit

    by Rupee88

    After Del Toro, she gets the next largest amount of credit for the excellence of Pan's Labyrinth, very closely followed by the brilliant cinematographyer. She was just near perfect in that role.

  • June 11, 2009, 2:23 a.m. CST

    Solid Interview. Really helped with my Pan's Essay. Cheers.

    by MMacKK

  • June 11, 2009, 5:33 p.m. CST

    LIFE! GIVE ORCUS' TB.....LIFE!

    by orcus