Yes, I do find this man more disappointing than your average action director. It isn’t that his movies are any dumber than others. They aren’t. It is a reverse prejudice based on two qualities.
He has a powerful visual ability, in beings, environments and machines. It irks me to no end that he cannot turn this to visual storytelling. The visuals are engaging. The stories are dull and have no intrinsic connection to what we see.
The other expectation is the Hispanic filmmaker’s dilemma: so very many use a tradition inaptly called magical realism. Poetry invades physics and we can either have a story where the nature of the story bends the nature of the world, or we have a parallel world interwoven within ours for a while.
I am so taken with this style of filmmaking that I would now perish without it. Even Rodriguez has it in his kiddie and troubling exploitation movies. That del Toro seems so oblivious to this richness, while excelling in others that matter…. It is like a master chef’s meal that is lovely but made from paper.
So all this big slugging machinery? Paper.
Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.