I've been wanting to do a review of this movie ever since I watched it last October 2007. I'd personally give the movie a six star rating for its imagery, story, and suspense.
Pan's Labyrinth (or "El Laberinto del Fauno" in Spanish) is the work of Guillermo del Toro, the same guy who directed the Hellboy movie. At first I was skeptical of the movie's English title, it sounded like a B horror movie. But then after hearing nice reviews, I decided to watch it and see for myself.
The movie is basically an adult faerie tale. By adult, I'm talking about the intense and gruesome violence depicted in the story. I wouldn't recommend having kids watch the movie because of the gory head bashing, torture, and the bloody gun fights.
Pan's Labyrinth is set in the wilderness of Spain, during the country's civil war. The military, led by a maniacal war freak captain, is hunting down rebels - killing them left and right. Amidst all the death and violence, a young girl becomes enamored in the world of faerie. She encounters a satyr and learns of a fantastic faerie world. With the help of the satyr and some pixies, the girl undergoes a series of quests to help improve the lives of her family.
Slowly the girl's secret fantasy world and the realities of war begin to overlap. The rebels waged their final war against the military and the girl is forced to make a choice - to save her dreams or her family.
While the movie revolves around the girl and her struggle to save her family from hardship and suffering. I think that her innocence and belief in faerie kept her protected from the brutalities of war. Since she is the only one who interacts with the Satyr and pixies, I was left thinking whether the faeries were real or if she made it all up.
Despite all the death and violence, the story redeems itself in the end. In the young girl's mind, she has succeeded in her quest and she has brought happiness and prosperity for her family and the land.