Sunday, February 25, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno)

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Staring: Ivana Baquero, Sergi López, Doug Jones

I write this review if only because of Pan’s Labyrinth winning the Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, Achievement in Makeup, and Achievement in Cinematography. It had been nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Original Score.


Pan’s Labyrinth is a story set in post-Civil War Spain about Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), a young girl, who with her mother is traveling to live with her stepfather in the countryside. Ofelia is not happy about the move, but her mother says it is for the best. Interested in fantasy books, Ofelia is somewhat shocked and relieved to stumble across an ancient Faun who tells her a wondrous tale of an ancient king looking for his long lost daughter… who has happened to be reincarnated into Ofelia.

Events become tense when communist rebels being to attack around her stepfather’s country estate, as Ofelia completes the required tasks for her to enter back into the kingdom once more.


When I first saw the film, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. The music was brilliant, the acting was superb, and the set design was absolutely amazing. What bothered me at first was the conclusion. For those who have seen the film, you know what I’m talking about.

The open interpretation of the entire story was troublesome to me, and frankly I really had no idea how to react to the film without some deep thought. At one moment it’s a bittersweet tale, then the other an all out depressing story. After some deep thinking, the film is not just amazing because of the ambiguity of much of the story and the debates that stem from that, but because the story is so well crafted, I almost felt a part of it all.

Mind you, before going into this, it’s really two stories in one. It is a fantasy film and a brutal war film all in one.

Verdict: *****/*****


Matt Ramone said...

I'm operating under the theory that all of the fantastical happenings happened in Ofelia's mind, as evidenced by Captain Vidal's inability to see the Faun in the climax. The only two holes in this theory are 1) what about the deal with the Mandrake root? and 2) how did she get passed the armed guard stationed outside her room in order to abscond with your baby brother from the captain's office?


Matt Ramone said...

So...wanna share it with yours truly? Also, you wanna go see the Thermals with me Friday night?

Chris said...

Also, how did she get from the dead-end of the maze to the "center", if Captain Vidal was right behind her? Unlike "The Shining" the "walls" of the maze were brick.

Also, don't forget about Ofelia seeing the blood in the book before her mother's accident.

Personally it would have been interesting to have had Vidal "see" the Faun, and then have him shake his head, and then not see it. Since he was halucinating and losing a lot of blood, it would still be ambiguous, but would remove holes in both theories.

I'm going along with the Director and saying it was real, even with the inconsistancies (Her mother and the Queen), Vidal not seeing it.