Guillermo Del Toro writes and directs this Spanish film which is set in Northern Spain in 1944. Pan's Labyrinth is the story of a young girl named Ofelia who moves with her pregnant mother to live with her mother's new husband, a cruel military man named Captain Vidal. Vidal has brought them to an area still in dispute and still at war.
Ofelia is a young girl obsessed with reading fantasy stories and upon arriving at her new home she enters into a fantasy world of her own. A fairy guides her to a Labyrinth where she meets Pan. When Ofelia asks Pan who he is he responds "Me? I've had so many names... Old names that only the wind and the trees can pronounce. I am the mountain, the forest and the earth. I am... I am a faun. Your most humble servant, Your Highness."
Pan tells Ofelia that she contains the spirit of the Princess of the underground realm who had long ago escaped, forgotten about her home and died in the human world. The King always believed she would return in another body. To earn her way back to the underground realm Ofelia is given three dangerous and magical tasks.
While Ofelia goes back and forth between the Labyrinth and Pan and the real world there is another story taking place. That is the story of Captain Vidal defending his territory from rebels, the story of Ofelia's Mother turning sicker and sicker by the day in her pregnant state and the story of a servant of the Captains who cares for Ofelia.
This is at times a horror movie, at times a war movie and at times a fantasy movie yet somehow it all connects and intertwines and works together. The non-fantasy scenes comprise more than half of Pan's Labyrinth and this part of the plot is such a well told and well acted story it could likely stand alone. Amazingly though Del Toro also weaves in a captivating fantasy story and brings the two worlds together.
There is quality imagery and acting in Pan's Labyrinth. There is magic and wonder and in both the fantasy and the real world of this story there is horror.
If you do not like gore there are times to look away but it is worth it to endure the frightening parts of Pan's Labyrinth to see a movie that is like nothing you've ever seen.
I put this movie on my 'Watch It' list and give is a value of $9.
January 29, 2007
Pan's Labyrnth - $9
Pan's Labyrinth is not a movie for the faint of heart. It is also not a children's movie. What it is is one of the most visually stunning, intense, engaging and magical movies I've ever seen.