There are certain aspects to film that, if done correctly, feed the entire experience of the movie without drawing direct attention to it. A filmmaker employs many techniques, and one we may not always notice right away is the deliberate use of color. In a video recently shared by Sploid, director/editor Quentin Dumas brings to light the expert use of hues in the films of Guillermo del Toro.
While it may seem like a bold statement, I’m confident in my opinion that del Toro is one of the most visionary filmmakers of all time and that his work will leave a lasting impression. Even when his films aren’t entirely all there in the plot or character development departments, they’re still breathtaking to look at, and that has a lot to do with his vibrant use of color.
Dumas’ video is a supercut of some of the most iconic visuals from Mimic, The Devil’s Backbone, Blade 2, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy 2 : The Golden Army, Pacific Rim, and Crimson Peak. Showing off Guillermo’s chromatic predilections by grouping together scenes that have an abundance of a particular color, be it red, blue, or yellow (or all three at once), the visual juxtaposition is set to Barry Manilow’s “Can’t Smile Without You.”
It’s videos like this that almost demand a thorough review of everything del Toro has ever done in order to watch for the stark color schemes. Does the use of yellow for both love scenes and weird chemicals mean he thinks love is chemical? How do his blue characters differ from red ones? These and other deliberate choices behind any given scene can induce a new level of appreciation once you become aware of them.
What are some of your favorite uses of color in Guillermo del Toro’s films? How about in other films altogether? Let’s discuss in the comments below!