$2.50 Reviews: Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

$2.50 Reviews:

Pan's Labyrinth

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Pan's Labyrinth (or El laberinto del fauno in Spanish) is a 2006 fantasy film given to us by director/writer Guillermo del Toro. It contains multiple stories, with the main one being given to Ofelia (Ivana Baquero). Ofelia is a young girl who after a short while in is told that she is actually a princess from the Underworld. Because of this fact, a faun (Doug Jones) has come to ask her to prove that she truly is the princess. Ofelia is required to perform three tasks before the next full moon, or she will remain trapped in her human form, unable to become the immortal that she once was.

Set a short time after the Spanish Civil War, there are also a few side stories in Pan's Labyrinth, that occasionally decide to interfere with Ofelia's quest. Ofelia has a mother. Her mother is pregnant with the child of the captain of a base camp. He is certainly one of the more interesting characters, never quite possible to figure out all the way, while still never acting sporadically. The housekeeper Mercedes is secretly helping the Guerrilla forces in their fight against the captain by smuggling out supplies. All of these lead to many events that never stop being captivating, yet still are nowhere near as entertaining as Ofelia's adventures.

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A good idea of the visual style used

The film works on many levels. It is beautiful, having a set art direction, and not separating from it. The visual effects, despite a couple looking slightly off, look amazing. Del Toro has built a world that you want to look at. It ends up being one that you cannot stop staring at. Despite the film having a far darker tone than some other fantasy films, it never stops being a joy to look at. Pan's Labyrinth actually ends up being quite gruesome. People are shot and stabbed with a greater frequency than I expected going in. Some scenes almost making you want to look away, but you won't. The film won't let you. It never stops being a joy to watch. The soundtrack is hardly noticeable, a trait that is usually a good thing, but when it does become noticeable, it does what it is supposed to. It adds mood, whether that be calmness or tension. The soundtrack helps bring out the emotions in the characters, even though they likely didn't need the help.

I cannot think of a single actor that did not play their part wonderfully. Ivana Baquero plays a wonderful Ofelia, and is now only one of the few child actors who did not manage to annoy me throughout a movie. Doug Jones plays the faun, a character which you don't necessarily want to care for, yet shows his fair share of emotion. The Captain is played by Sergi Lopez i Ayats. He plays the "ruthless dictator" well, but the character also has his fair share of both tender and comedic moments. All the characters make you feel something all throughout the film, leaving you perplexed, stunned, sad and happy at various points in it.

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Ofelia and the faun. "Ofelia, you are a princess"

Despite the fact that film is without a doubt worth watching, there are certain parts that gel together far better than others. Ofelia's sections definitely fall into the "far better" part of the film. Every time Ofelia is front and center, you know that something magical is going to happen. I can't say this about every other part of the film. Parts involving the captain are usually fun, but some of the scenes he is involved in just don't seem to mesh well with the rest of the movie. The housekeeper Mercedes is also guilty of this, but with her character being less fun than the captain, when her scenes don't work, you really do notice. They do end up serving a purpose, helping further her character's development, but in comparison to the rest of the film and its imagination, these scenes fall flat and feel boring.

Pan's Labyrinth is absolutely a film you need to see. Words can't really describe some of the crazy and twisted things that occur within it. The visual effects are solid, the art direction is imaginative and captivating, while the soundtrack helps to bring out the best of the above average acting. That's about all you can want in a film. It's a film about fairy tales, but does them in an adult fashion. It's essentially a film that appeals to the childish part of the adult brain, yet does it in a way that their mind can now handle. Those two elements, childlike appeal and dark thriller combine in such a way that will leave you wanting more. It is dark and gory, but does it in an incredibly visually appealing way. Pan's Labyrinth is something that you will have a difficult time turning away from, even after the incredibly moving final scene.

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Ah, good, you liked it. I don't have to fly to Calgary and murder you then.

I really like Pans Labyrinth, but the first time I watched it, I didn't really get it. It wasn't until I watched it when I was older that a lot more clicked for me, especially the symbolism with various fairy-tales and Greek mythology, which is used in a way that all those little elements compose different stories altogether, when linked with the stories they originally stemmed from. I do have some problems with the film, such as the scenes in the human world don't work as well as the more fantasy-aimed scenes, and I wish the film had made more of a direct choice as to whether or not it wanted to be dark or childlike. As it is, it fleets between the two and sometimes the contrast doesn't always gel.

Anyway, good review as per always. If you liked Pans Labyrinth, may I suggest you check out the Swedish film Let the Right One In? It has a more gritty aesthetic than Pans Labyrinth, and doesn't have the same 'Fairytale' vibe, but it's a great flick.

The film was really trippy; I liked it, and it was something fresh, but it was a bit of a cross between Dr Seuss and Tim Burton.

FargoDog:
Ah, good, you liked it. I don't have to fly to Calgary and murder you then.

Anyway, good review as per always. If you liked Pans Labyrinth, may I suggest you check out the Swedish film Let the Right One In? It has a more gritty aesthetic than Pans Labyrinth, and doesn't have the same 'Fairytale' vibe, but it's a great flick.

You could still fly to Calgary and just not murder me. =D

You can recommend whatever you like. I...can't guarantee I'll find it, but I shall keep my eyes out. (I may have to wait for the English remake to come out on DVD. :/)

Marter:

You could still fly to Calgary and just not murder me. =D

You can recommend whatever you like. I...can't guarantee I'll find it, but I shall keep my eyes out. (I may have to wait for the English remake to come out on DVD. :/)

Not.. Murder? Sorry, you've lost me there.

It shouldn't be too hard to find. It's fairly well-known by foreign film standards. The English remake looks terrible, but I'm not going to judge until I see it for myself. Don't really have my hopes up, though.

FargoDog:
Not.. Murder? Sorry, you've lost me there.

It shouldn't be too hard to find. It's fairly well-known by foreign film standards. The English remake looks terrible, but I'm not going to judge until I see it for myself. Don't really have my hopes up, though.

There are things to life besides murder. You should learn that soon!

I shall keep my eyes open for it then. Thank you.

OMG IT IZ IN SPANISH IT MUST BE TEH SUXORZ

I need to buy this movie.

*adds movie to growing list of movies he needs to buy*
I like the review structure, I may need to check more of these out.

Marter:

There are things to life besides murder. You should learn that soon!

I shall keep my eyes open for it then. Thank you.

Coming from the person with dead bodies just lying around the place..

Good, good. Anyway, I'm going to stop de-railing this thread and go finish watching my DVD so I can put up another review. Looking forward to the next review.

tomtom94:
OMG IT IZ IN SPANISH IT MUST BE TEH SUXORZ

I need to buy this movie.

I NO RITE!

But no, you should definitely check this one out.

FargoDog:
Coming from the person with dead bodies just lying around the place..

Good, good. Anyway, I'm going to stop de-railing this thread and go finish watching my DVD so I can put up another review. Looking forward to the next review.

...I didn't kill them though.

Yeah, hurry up and write that review!

Nice review.

There's no doubt this movie is visually stunning, but I just can't seem to get pulled along for the ride. I have this problem with every one of Guillermo Del Torro's movies; they look fantastic yet the story itself leaves me kind of cold.

Good review, and a great movie.

Pale man was one of the creepiest things I've ever seen.

-Samurai-:
Good review, and a great movie.

Pale man was one of the creepiest things I've ever seen.

Pale Man certainly was creepy.

Thank you!

I enjoyed the captain as his brutality shows how our world can be scarier that the dark reaches of the fantasy one. Smashing that guy's face in felt genuine in its raw nature.

Overall this film is two great films combining into a singular work that to me is a classic. I've seen it several times and no signs of growing tired of it. Of course, I love fantasy and history so the Spanish civil war was an interesting setting for me as not many works place din that period.

I rather like that movie. The one gripe that I have with it is that I wanted to see more of the fantasy world explored. Also, not knowing a whole lot about the mythology they were playing off of and knowing damn near nothing about the Spanish Civil War I feel like I missed out on a lot of subtext, especially in the real world parts. But good movie and good review.

Very well constructed review. Loved the movie myself. Probably didn't pay half as much attention to detail as you seem to have, but regardless it's a very good movie. The first time I watched it, I didn't remember anything about it(there's a good reason for that) at all except for the Pale Man. Second and third time watching it I fully understood it.

Either way good job on the review!

I had a hard time watching this, reading the subtitles kind of broke the immersion since I speak only one language and at that only partially well.

 

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