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.

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.


Kungfucius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tochi said...

Good review. I would have given the extra loonie to make it a nice, even $10. :)

Coutts said...

kungfucius (nice name by the way!), way to give the ending away! oh well, probably wouldn't have seen it anyway. i'm not sure if its that i'm "fainhearted" but i'm not too into this stuff.

Kungfucius said...

Sorry bout that :( I removed my comment to keep away any spoilers.

The Hansens said...

Thanks for the review tanti..I was curious about this movie. With kids around, movie watching time is precious, so I'll have to keep this on my "Convince Jen Into Watching " list.

* (asterisk) said...

Thanks for the link, Tony. I've linked you up, too.

I'm interested in seeing Pan's Labyrinth, and I kind of like Del Toro in general, but it's gonna be a hard sell on my missus, I think. We'll see...

Tony Tanti said...

I see that a lot of you are hesitating to watch this or feeling that you'll need to convince others in your life to sit through it.

I'd like to clarify the horror that I spoke of. This movie is not full of Wes Craven style horror, it would be far more comparable to Misery. There are a couple instances of gore that catch you off guard but the horrific elements do not dominate this movie.

I wanted to be clear that they were there so that if you do see this you don't go in expecting LOTR or Narnia.