Drayenko MarinDr. MyersEnglish 1302-40 “Pan’s Labyrinth” “Pan’s labyrinth”, a film that was released in 2006, has received amazing praising fromboth the professional critics and the common viewers; rotten tomatoes – a famous website formovie reviews - gave it a 95% of positive reviews, while the common viewers gave it a 90%,which are actually, really impressive numbers for any kind of movie. “Pan’s Labyrinth” is awonderful fantasy movie that mixes dark subplots with the wonders of the world; all of this donein a fascinating way, although it may be too dark and gruesome for some viewers, it isundoubtedly done the right way. It is the type of film, which causes you to submerge into its ownworld and live it as if everything that’s happening is real. Directed by Mexican producer,Guillermo Del Toro, who is known by his weird fictional and rich in fantastical ideas, and fordirecting high budget movies such as Blade II, and both Hell Boy’s movies, this film is probablyhis finest piece work yet, due to the fact that it contains different plot ideas, and the way they allexpress themselves, in an fictional, imaginative way, but yet so real at the same time; theexecution is just perfect on its own way. “El laberinto Del Fauno”, or as it is known in the United States, “Pan’s Labyrinth”;takes place in Franco, Spain, 1944. Germany and its Fascist allies are at the height of their powerand the film revolves around the 12 year old, Ofelia - played by Ivana Baquero – and her
pregnant mother, Carmen – who played by Ariadna Gil- , which they are traveling to go and livewith Ofelia’s new step father; Captain Vidal, a military captain, which has a grotesque, dark andmalicious aura around him, and is part of the Spanish Fascist movement to crush rebel guerrillasin the mountainous areas of the country. “Pan’s Labyrinth” happens to be when the SecondWorld War was happening, and the two girls get involved into the rebellion without knowinghow they got involved. Ofelia’s mom is sick, and it is unknown if she will be able to survivechildbirth. In the middle of all this situation of pain and reality, Ofelia gets contacted by amythical creature, who tells her that she is in fact, an immortal princess. The film revolves aboutdifferent things and that’s what makes it be a “rich” movie; it feels as if everything that ishappening on the screen is real, and you feel the necessity to care for the characters that appearin it. This film is a political fable disguised in the form of a “typical fairytale” story; there isthe little girl, the bad guy, the monsters, but of course, there is more than meet the eye, and so itis hard to write a review without wanting to spoil the wonders and awesomeness that this movieis. Although the movie has many great things in it, one of the best things about it, and helpsit be what it is – a great film – are the actors; starting with Ivana Baquero, who does anastounding job incarnating the character of Ofelia and connecting with the audience, because ofher personality of being different and wanting to know more about everything, she gives thissensation of not obeying Captain’s Vidal as he would expect. But not only her, all of thecharacters are portrayed in way that you can’t feel indifferent about them. For example, CaptainVidal is just as cruel and mean as the worst villain you could ever imagine to be, and you can’thelp but to hate him since his introduction in the film, when we see his first’s interaction with
Ofelia, treating her as if she wasn’t welcomed at all. Ofelia is a special character too, for whatI’ve stated before, and due to her fanatism for reading books and fairy tales. She is a little girl,who is contacted by these mystical creatures, and she is supposed to be a princess, which in someway reminds us of Alice in Wonderland, due to the fantasy she gets to live, but we don’t reallyknow if it’s actual fantasy, or reality. Another important factor of the film, that definitely captures the viewer, is the intriguingforest where Ofelia and her mother live, it is and old forest in the middle of practically nowhere,far from the civilization, and it is mainly composed of different old stones and has a crumblingstructure, which greatly helps the viewer to feel as if they were traveling in time. Undoubtedly,Del Toro does a great job finding this place to evoke different kinds of emotions on the viewer’sminds. Going back to Ofelia’s fairytale world, it is a different world that is inhabited by uglycreatures, such as, a faun that has his eyes in his hands, some weird insects, a giant toad andmany amazingly extravagant and creative creatures; it is without a doubt a pretty scary place, inwhich overtime Ofelia goes, and has to do different ordeals and shores - just as in many othermovies- , but it offers the little Ofelia to escape from her everyday life, that is some kind of hell,due to the presence of captain Vidal. This helps bringing the fantasy to a higher level, with thedifferent visual ideas Del Toro offers us. The other side characters, such as the doctor, who attends Ofelia’s mom – Carmen - andthe housekeeper, Mercedes, help us in grasping what it is to live in a house governed by militaryforces – and the special presence of someone as Captain Vidal - and how it can be an extremely
hostile place to live in, in many ways. They do a really good job in including little details such asthese, which elitist love. As a native Spanish speaker that I am, I believe that making the movie in Spanish, was abrilliant idea, even though English speakers might not fully agree on this view, I truly believe itgives the film something else, it makes it feel REAL, like it actually happened in Spain. I believethat films should be this way; personally, if I watch a Japanese film per se, I want them to speakJapanese, because it makes sense, it makes you believe, and helps you believe that everythinghappening, is actually Happening. The film overall, is an amazing mix of different creative ideas, and different things, donethe right way, which many films nowadays seem to lack in quantity. Definitely, it is a terrificmovie that won’t leave anybody indifferent. It might be longer that normally films are, but it usesits 120 minutes the right way, you will feel connected from beginning to end. The film, as I have stated, contains different stories, different personalities, and differentcharacters, that, when put together, they form a brilliant film. It is not a “happy”, or anything ofthe like, but it will definitely make you experience something new, and fresh, plus it will giveyou something to think about even after it is finished, you will be left wondering so manydifferent things, that you might, or in fact, you will watch it again, just for the absolute pleasureof enjoying every little thing all over again. Indeed, this movie is a piece of art that should be appreciated by everyone. It is highlyrecommended, especially if you want to see something different from what is convoluted inmedia nowadays.