I think all the performances here are excellent, with Shannon being the lone exception and even then, he's quite good. I can see how someone might call certain performances like his and Spencer's one-note, but I think they each have at least one scene to balance this and show some shading. And then also, it is a fairy tale. Most villains of this ilk don't tend to or need to be more than Gastonesque.
I got a very Jeunetian vibe as well, matrixschmatrix.
As for del Toro, I think he's an incredibly talented filmmaker. I do think his Spanish language films carry more of an edge and tend to prefer them to most of his English fare*, this being the exception. But I don't think that this film is getting praise and recognition because he does a good interview, is knowledgable in film history, and is likable. C'mon. You may not engage with the film and that's fine. I could certainly see how it could be divisive when viewing from a certain lens, but don't skew other people's perceptions. A film with a strong central performance, outstanding art direction, an original script (yes, an amalgamation of '50s genres wrapped in a fairytale, but very much its own beast), and an enchanting score has plenty of legitimate reasons to be heralded as one of the better films of 2017.John Shade wrote:Ditto mfunk's reaction. Yet another film from recent years where I feel like there's some critical conspiracy that I'm just not part of. Going to be kind of harsh here, but I wonder if del Toro is so highly regarded simply because he's a really likable guy and is always great for a film conversation. He has so much enthusiasm, but all of his work does seem something like Burton or Gilliam b sides, unless it's a monster fetish thing--which this takes to new levels obviously.
And which B-sides?!??!! That's a dig if I've ever heard one... I think at their best, Gilliam, Burton, Jeunet, and del Toro may play in the same sandbox, but use different tools and make altogether different castles. I try to focus on the A-sides of all their work, lest I get depressed.
*I'm probably in the minority, but I feel this is true of all three of the amigos (del Toro/ Cuaron /Inñaritu). I like Pan's Labyrith, Y Tu Mama Tambien, and Amorres Perros over Pacific Rim,Gravity, or Birdman.