Archive for the ‘Guillermo del Toro’ Category

60th BAFTA Awards

THE  60TH BAFTA AWARDS /

THE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 11th February 2007 in London

BAFTA WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORY:

The Queen

Best Film: The Queen

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Best Director: Paul Greengrass – United 93

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Best Actor: Forest Whitaker – The Last King of Scotland

Best Actress: Helen Mirren – The Queen

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Best Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin – Little Miss Sunshine

dreamgirls

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson – Dreamgirls

Best British Film: The Last King of Scotland

Best Original Screenplay: Michael Arndt for Little Miss Sunshine

Best Adapted Screenplay: Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock – The Last King of Scotland

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Best Costume Design: Pan’s Labyrinth

Best Foreign Language Film: Pan’s Labyrinth directed by Guillermo del Toro (Mexico/Spain)

Source: 60th BAFTA Awards

The Jaeger Effect…

Pacific Rim

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Acclaimed Mexican director Guillermo del Toro’s much anticipated 3D sci-fi film Pacific Rim is imaginative, rich and definitely needs to seen in a 3D cinema with digital surround sound to fully savour the cinematic spectacle.

Moving away from the American-centric location of many recent blockbusters most notably Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel, del Toro firmly aims Pacific Rim at a broader international audience as he centers most of the mind bending action in Hong Kong. Avoiding choosing a purely American cast, del Toro selects a relatively unknown ensemble to head up Pacific Rim, from the buff and gorgeous British actor Charlie Hunnam (looking ever more spectacular in 3D and last seen in Children of Men and Nicholas Nickleby) as the brooding Jaeger fighter pilot Raleigh Beckett and Rinko Kikuchi from Babel fame as Mako, the Japanese love interest who has to come to terms with aliens attacking Tokyo and join humanity to fight the horrific creatures along with Ron Perlman (Hellboy) as Hannibal Chou as a shady Kaiju bones scavenger and British actor Idris Elba as Stacker Pentecost the Jaeger central commander. Look out for a humorous performance by Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses) as the geeky scientist Dr Newton Geiszler who has to discover what the Kaijus really want with planet Earth along with Max Martini as Herc Hansen.

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Warning to most audiences, that if you don’t like Monsters and Robots, don’t see Pacific Rim. However if you have followed del Toro’s cinematic rise to fame from the imaginatively rich Hellboy franchise to the critically acclaimed Spanish language fantasy Pan’s Labyrinth then fans will not be disappointed.

Pacific Rim is set in a 21st century shattered world where giant descendants of dinosaurs known as Kaijus emerge out of the earth’s core and start attacking all the major cities of the Pacific Rim from Cabo in Mexico to Sydney to Hong Kong. To combat these giant sea beasts hugely inspired by Japanese monster movies and anime, humanity has built these huge robotic war machines known as Jaegers which honestly make Transformers look like Lego pieces. The script and backstory does not deliver too much on motive or plot, but del Toro gets straight to the point – Monsters attacking the World and Humans are fighting back using massive Robots. The result is some fascinating visual effects and superb set designs paying homage to Blade Runner and Total Recall, making Pacific Rim in 3D resemble a mixture of Hellboy and Battleship on acid!

The intricacies of operating the Jaegers involves two fighter pilots mentally connecting in a visual process known as drifting overseen by a frenetic controller, the Elvis inspired central ops Tendo Choi played by Clifton Collins Jnr (Capote) so that they can both symbiotically operate these giant robots (Jaegers) and combat the blue blooded snarling monsters known as Kaiju’s.

Pacific Rim has been hugely popular in the Asian markets and when watching the spectacular Hong Kong harbour battle sequence it’s not difficult to see why. Unfortunately the enormity of both Jaegers and Kaiju’s battling each other using tankers and skyscrapers inevitably dwarfs any real human interactions displaying that del Toro deliberately went for cinematic style over substance in what is imaginatively a hugely impressive cinematic experience but don’t expect the character depth or emotion displayed in Pan’s Labyrinth. This is del Toro on a massive budget appealing to a much larger audience and in this regard, Pacific Rim succeeds on every monstrous level and surely will be in line for a Visual Effects Oscar.

See it to believe it and Pacific Rim is not only big in Japan!

Never Lets the Imagination Perish

Fantasy of a unique kind

Fantasy of a unique kind

Pan’s Labyrinth cemented Guillermo del Toro’s reputation as a magical and visionary filmmaker, the Oscar winning Spanish fantasy film about a girl who discovers a secret world beyond anyone’s imagination in the lush forest while escaping the brutality of the Spanish civil war. The Mexican born film-director Del Toro first attracted attention with his visionary look in Hellboy, released in 2004 starring a relatively unknown cast including Ron Perlman, Selma Blair and the brilliant John Hurt. Hellboy featured a storyline about a Devil-shaped child born during World War II at the height of Nazi power in Europe.

As an adult, Hellboy is confined like most supernatural beings to the Centre for paranormal research in New Jersey, USA and is eventually called upon to combat the forces of darkness as unleashed by a Nazified leader who is part mutant part machine. Hellboy was a secret sensation at the box office and Del Toro would have liked to do a sequel but according to Hollywood legend the studios were initially reluctant to invest so much in a novice director’s wild imagination.

The Spanish language film, Pan’s Labyrinth, changed all that receiving a critical reception on the international film festival circuit from Cannes to Berlin and went on to win several Golden Globes and Oscar awards most notably for make-up and art direction. Now with studio financial backing, Del Toro was able to lavish his attention on Hellboy’s sequel the far superior and hugely fantastical follow-up, which is extremely rare even by Hollywood standards, for most sequels seldom eclipse the original film.

Meet the Golden Army... del Torro's imagination unleashed

Meet the Golden Army… del Torro’s imagination unleashed

Hellboy II: The Golden Army, for any fantasy fan, is a visual feast and a rare glimpse into one man’s extraordinary imagination so skilled and detailed as well as amplified and bold, as to make him a worthy rival of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Hellboy, played with absolute relish by Ron Perlman is reunited with fire girl Liz Sherman played by a sexy Selma Blair and Doug Jones makes the most of a much larger role as Abe Sapien, the half-fish, half-man creature who unsuspectingly falls in love with the elf Princess Nuala as they all set out to defeat the Princesses evil twin brother Prince Nuada played by former pop star Luke Goss, who is wildly intent on unleashing the dormant potential of The Golden Army, creatures created by some seriously twisted trolls. The storyline which features a multitude of amazing creatures, most notably in the Troll market sequence and some equally lavish sets at the courts of the Elves, also is a pastiche of scenes from War of the Worlds, Indiana Jones and the Star Wars trilogy, displaying not only Del Toro’s talent as a director but his vast visual and filmic repertoire.

So with all this fantasy, do the characters suffer at the indulgence of breathtaking special effects? Absolutely not. After an initial battle between Hellboy and some ungodly creations from evil tooth fairies to a ferocious fauna-hued monster, there are some solid character building scenes with loads of wit, smart references to the Romantic poetry of Tennyson to music by Vivaldi, while Del Toro allows some ironic allusions to contemporary visual society from the media to Youtube, from the ordinary unbeliever to those that hoard antiquities.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army is confidently rooted in the realms of fantasy and lavish fairytales and would most definitely appeal to anyone who cherishes the imaginative view of society as opposed to a strictly empirical and conventional world. More significantly, this film as I am sure the director believes, reaffirms the vital importance of our own imagination in a world which seems determine to vanquish any real originality.  Visionary, brilliant and thoroughly entertaining, I was equally fortunate to witness such an amazing and technically superior creation on the big screen, as like all great film’s its impact will surely diminish when scene on DVD. Never let your imagination perish and indulge in some spectacular fantasy…

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