Cronos – A Film By Guillermo Del Toro (1993/Criterion DVD)
Picture: B+ Sound: B+ Extras:
A- Film: B
Guillermo Del Toro is a proven draw for fans of the
fantastic. His films harness the best
elements from the vastly different worlds of commercial and independent
moviemaking, and often blur the line between them.
Whether a creation sprung from his own mind, as is the case with Cronos, or from the work of others, like Blade II
and the Hellboy films (reviewed elsewhere on this site), his artistry is
seen in everything onscreen, down to the smallest detail. Such love and care are rarely seen these days,
and we are fortunate to have a talent such as his working in this field.
The story of Cronos is a modern telling of the vampire legend, told with
much heart and a brain as well. Del Toro
takes several well known aspects of the vampire myth and turns them on their
head only slightly - bringing this world of the undead closer to something we
can relate to.
While it is in vogue to do such a thing these days - updating and playing with
the idea of what it is to be a vampire - very few of the stories that do this
manage to do it effectively. Here, it is
not only done well, but seemingly with ease.
Criterion has done a commendable job in bringing this lesser seen film of Del
Toro's to the masses, as it has been out of print for some time now, and only
available on an edition of lesser quality than the standards that they hold.
The picture quality is excellent, and has been restored with the best of care.
It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and is anamorphic widescreen. The sound quality is also good, presented on
the DVD in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. No multi-channel mix was created for this
edition, but the absence of that is quite forgivable.
Among the best of the bonus content here is the inclusion of Del Toro's 1987
horror short film, Geometria. It
is a solid production for a filmmaker as young as he was at the time, and his
influences are laid bare for all to see in a matter of just a few short
After seeing where he began, it is equally amazing to take a trip through his
present-day working area, in the featurette Welcome to Bleak House. It is a behind the scenes look at his home
office - where one can get some idea of where his mind is just by seeing the
objects and treasures he surround himself with to stimulate his creativity. This place is practically a museum to all
things horror, and takes much of its feeling and purpose from the house of the
late Forest J. Ackerman.
The rest of extra content includes a large booklet, featuring an essay on the
film, as well as the director's notes from when the film was in production,
here translated into English. On the
disc itself, we have two audio commentaries, and interviews with cast and crew.
These extras are a great inclusion, and really sweeten the deal even further
than just having this film back in print on DVD and now on Blu-Ray as well. Watching this film is like receiving a pass to
another world... even if it's only going to last for 90 minutes. I highly recommend a purchase to any and all
who have an inclination to the fantastic, or just a general curiosity about
- David Milchick