Guillermo del Toro-Produced ‘Mama’ Destroyed by CGI

Megan Charpentier mamaGuillermo del Toro, who often produces for first time directors, became involved with the latest PG-13 ghost story in theaters after Spanish commercial-director Andrés Muschietti sent him a short film.

Sadly, Mamá the short is much more captivating than Mama the feature starring Jessica Chastain as the non-maternal bass player-girlfriend of a man (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones) whose brother recently died after committing a heinous crime.

Here’s a plot summary, from del Toro himself (void of spoilers unless you haven’t seen a preview):

“The kids are abandoned in the woods by their father. It’s half-fairy tale, half-horror film, and they survive five years in the wilderness and nobody knows exactly how. And the thing that kept them alive is a ghost. It looked after them, it’s a presence of a dead mother. And then they come back to civilization and it comes with them.” 
Isabelle Nelisse Mama
Considering the fact that the ghost in Mama looks like a cross-eyed tree with hair, I have to question why Del Toro, who tends to favor animatronics and people in costume over computer-generated images, would approve this.

The eerie appeal of said ghost (“played” by a man and “voiced” by a woman?), CGI or not, is lost due to over-reveals, corny sound effects, and the moths that surround it.

I would like everything about this movie if there was no damn “Mama.” (Or maybe if Mama had been played by an actual person, and not a pile of wind-blown sticks with googly eyes.)
Ghost in Mama shortMama ghost
————–[Ghost from Mama 2008]——————————-[Ghost from Mama 2013]—————-

Don’t even get me started on the ending! I give it TWO LEMONS OUT OF FIVE.

Read: The creepy ghost creature Mama is real, according to Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

6 thoughts on “Guillermo del Toro-Produced ‘Mama’ Destroyed by CGI

  1. The photo of Mama (2013) is actually an actor with prosthetic make up. Only the hair is CGI. So many people criticise this movie for the CGI when they don’t know what they are talking about. Mama is CGI enhanced with the hair and to do things that mechanical effects would hard of not impossible to pull off on some scenes. It is not just a CGI monster as so many people seem to think.


    1. Prosthetics or not, it didn’t look even remotely real to me, and I personally have a hard time being afraid of something that looks like such a comical seaweed-headed mannequin.


  2. I found no problem with the CGI, I thought it actually added to the otherwordly feel of Mama, I rarely speak for CGI over Animatronics but this is the exceptional case. I don’t know how you could say she looked like a cross eyed tree, cross eyed yeah (Why can’t a ghost be cross eyed? is this unrealistic?) but where are you seeing a tree?

    I thought the “over-reveal” was fresh, too many horror films contain only glimpses, this time you see her and it’s freaky. What Del Toro does best is reveal, he shows you the monsters and gives you a different perspective on them, you become fascinated as much as you as you become scared or creeped out.

    The moths didn’t detract, they may not have been necessary, but they didn’t detract.

    I agree with Toad Walls’ comment and rating. Excellent film with a bittersweet ending. I too give it 4.5 out of 5.


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