Cronos DVD: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

  • OVERALL
    4.5
    SUPERB
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE FEATURE
Faced with his own mortality, an ingenious alchemist tried to perfect an invention that would provide him with the key to eternal life. It was called the Cronos device. When he died more then 400 years later, he took the secrets of this remarkable device to the grave with him.

Now, an elderly antiques dealer has found the hellish machine hidden in a statue and learns about it's incredible powers. The more he uses the device, the younger he becomes...but nothing comes without a price.

THE EXTRAS
Director's Commentary

Now this is a good commentary. Mr. Del Toro is a man who not only loves movies, but he loves HIS movies. And while some can think that would come across as self-indulgent, I myself love his enthusiasm and braveness in dealing with the subject matter that he deals with. I mean, he talks freely about THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE, HELLBOY, you name it this guy is giving you the rhyme and reason for it. All without explaining too much. The best part is he does it in a very interesting way. Maybe it is a Latino thing but I find Robert Rodriguez to be the same way. They talk about filmmaking as though it is effortless, which may explain why they have had such success with their films. They don't get a caught up in the technical aspects. For Del Toro the humanity is the story. That is what people will relate to. I find that amazing. He explains his process of working with different actors, how he puts the scenes together and composes his shots, etc.

I must say that I have been converted. My goal now is to go back screen all of his films, because I love a guy who follows his passion. I was really inspired by how he said he "was killing himself to make the kinds of films that others just make to get a quick buck." Brilliant, Guillermo. Bravah!!

Producer's Commentary

Okay, this commentary was in Spanish and subtitled. Not that I have a problem with this but I tend to not listen to commentaries if I don't understand the language they are being spoken in. Since I listen to commentaries when I lay down to go to sleep(I also take out my contact lenses so I can't read the screen) I had a hard time with this commentary. So what I did was I "skipped/listened". I would just skip to certain parts listen for a few minutes and then move on. There were a few different people talking but I must say I was enlightened to find out that Del Toro has a real arc-angel at his house.

The Making Of

What are these guys trying to do to me? This was typical making of that I was very excited to see. Until I realized that basically all it was was Federico Luppi talking in Spanish over shots being done for the movie. I would like to say that I sat through it or even "skipped/listened" to it but sadly that wasn't the case. I turned it off about a minute in. It looked good though.

Director's Perspective

This was awesome. It was more Del Toro and that's just what I wanted. He talked about his beginnings making 8 mm and 16 mm films. How he started an FX shop, worked for other people for 10 years as he was preparing CRONOS and that was how it all came together. I also remember reading the in the Producer's Commentary about how this movie took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get made. I was very inspired by Del Toro. He explained why he wanted to make this movie(for his Grandmother), the themes of the movie and how they are deeply rooted in Catholicism. I was reminded often of Martin Scorsese and how he deals with some of the same themes. It is nice that Del Toro(like Scorsese) can work with religious themes and not have them dominate the movie or be overwhelmed by them. If you watch the movie please do yourself a favor and watch the Director's perspective. It is truly an enjoyable piece.

Photo Gallery and Art Gallery

These pictures were really cool. Culled from the movie and from storyboards(it seems), I was very much taken aback by the sheer composition of these still images. Taken along with the movie, I didn't find it that shocking. Then looking at some the stills separately I was astonished at their power.

THE VIDEO
Presented in 16x9 widescreen, Guillermo Del Toro's movie looks awesome. I am consistently impressed with care with which LIONS GATE treats their dvd transfers. It seems like the process could be so hard, but these guys do a great job each and every time out. The box cover art as well as the menus also look good. They give the dvd an air of moodiness without getting bogged down by it. Not a sign of compression here, folks!

THE AUDIO
Presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital this movie sounded great. Now, you can watch it with English or Spanish subtitles as the movie is in Spanish. So truthfully, you could've played me distorted, stereo noise form the 1970s and I still would've thought everything was fine. The soundtrack was really good. It created just enough mood while still letting the story tell itself. Too often I think filmmakers rely on a soundtrack to tell people how to feel, when I think a movie without that often works better. Then again, I think films should be talking pictures AND not motion pictures so what the heck do I know?

THE FINAL WORD
Wow...

I heard about this movie back when MIMIC came out but I never had a chance to view it until now. I am not that big a fan of the BLADE movies(there's that darn vampire thing again) but I will be damned if this movie wasn't very enjoyable. There were a few scenes with the Ron Perlman character where I thought Del Toro might be going for cheap laughs(a problem I found that LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE had; yes, I know they were two different directors), but overall I was rather intrigued by the whole idea of this film.

The antiques dealer starts off as a very proud man and then we see how the circ*mstances in his life corrupt him to the point that we can understand how he might want to be young again. The little girl in this movie, Aurora, was so good while saying so little. They made a great team and I am left wondering what else these actors might have done. Stupidly, I had expected this film to be a dark tale of something I either A) wouldn't understand or B) wouldn't want to understand. That was clearly not the case here. This movie from the very beginning lets you know you are watching a dark tale. A doomed fable. It is how it is executed and how the story unfolds that really creates the suspense.

Is this film only coming out on dvd now? The BLADE movies have been wildly successful so I guess that makes sense, but this just seemed like a film that would've found it's way into the public's dvd consciousness sooner. Truthfully, I liked this film better then MIMIC and I now want to see THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE. Yet, another film I stayed away from because it looked like a darkly lit fable that wouldn't interest me. If LION'S GATE dvd wants to keep proving me wrong, let them. Personally, I am enjoying this game.

I think this is a very well put together dvd with a bunch of really cool extras. It could fit nicely into any dvd collection. Hey, here's an idea...maybe there should be a Guillermo Del Toro boxset?

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