Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pan's Labyrinth

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.


rob said...

This movie was a bit depressing and brutal for me for some reason. I found it difficult to watch, it was like all the characters were sadistic, from the army captain to the Faun who is the main contact of the girl in the fairy world.

But I guess in this sense, that's what makes this a true fairy tale - as the original Hans Christian Anderson stories were quite brutal in their original form. Many of them scared me when I read them as a kid.

The debate is whether the alternate world seen by the girl is real or imagined. My interpretation is that it is real, the creatures actually exist, and that the real world is there to function as a testing ground for her.

rmacapobre said...

I just watched this movie with english subtitles. It was hard to watch the violence.

I blame the little girl for all the things that happened after her eating the grapes. Why cant she have learned from looking at the mural illustrating what happens if she eats ..

As far as I am concerned, she killed the two fairies and her own mother ..