Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Pan's Labyrinth

Pan's Labyrinth seems like quite a left-field film for director Guillermo del Toro, who is responsible for such recent Hollywood popcorn as Hellboy and Blade II. However, it's not the first time he has used the Spanish Civil War as a backdrop for this style of film. His 2001 movie The Devil's Backbone was another drama/fantasy/horror set in 1939 Spain when General Franco's right-wing Nationalists are poised to defeat the left-wing Republican forces.

Pan's Labyrinth takes place in 1944 after Franco's victory and a young girl is travelling with her mother and adoptive father, who is the captain of the guard, to a rural area in northern Spain in order to wipe out the lingering Republican forces.

The young girl is Ofelia and is being brought unwillingly with her pregnant mother by order of her adoptive father, the tyrannical Captain Vidal whom she refuses to recognise as her adoptive guardian. She has brought with her a bundle of books which are all fairy tales and it seems this is a world that she often travels to in order to escape the harsh environment in which she has found herself growing up in.

While Captain Vidal sets about eliminating the bandits that live out in the woodlands surrounding the base, Ofelia is contacted by a fairy who brings her to a nearby labryinth where she is told by a faun named Pan that she is the lost princess who's soul has finally reappeared in Ofelia's body and that she must succeed in 3 tasks to prove her true worth and be reunited with her father, the King, who has been waiting for her return.

The film makes fantastic use of two main plotlines. One of which concerns Ofelia and her three tasks and that of Captain Vidal and the bandits, each of which overlap with other subplots and are beautifully woven together to make a fantastic storyline both contextually and visually. The acting is sound from everyone concerned and the CGI creatures that exist are realistically portrayed and fit in perfectly with the story being told, adding extra depth and edge to the mystical world in which Ofelia finds herself.

Pan's Labryinth is a gem of a movie and one the best movies of 2006. Go and see it.

I would give this film 9.1 grapes out of 10.



Blogger Lou said...

It definately must be placed in the top 10 of 2006.

11:42 pm  
Blogger Skry said...

It's so good Phil didn't give it a 5!! :D

I would recommend this film to anyone who wants to see a very adult take on a very child-based theme, that of a thriller/action mixed with a fairy tale.

It has some very gritty and violent scenes in it, but the overall tale is of a better world, a magical one that all children believe exists. You just have to imagine it and if you believe enough then anything can happen.

I too would give this film a 9 revolutions out of 10, but I would have given it 10 had the English subtitles been better. I don't mind watching subbed films and certainly don't expect everyone to just amke English ones, but it would be nice to see accurately translated subs in such a big-budget film.

12:12 am  
Blogger Skry said...

Pan Mythology if you're interested.

12:13 am  

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