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Pan's Labyrinth

Guillermo del Toro's critically acclaimed 2006 dark fantasy film.

< read all 21 reviews

This beautifully rendered film takes place in 1944 Spain

  • May 15, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+5
Centering around a lonely 12-year old girl named Ofelia with a sickly preger mother, a sadistically cruel stepfather, and a kindly handmaiden--Ofelia escapes into a fairytale world of her imagination. Guided by a fairy she discovers an ancient, crumbling labyrinth guarded by a faun who discloses her true destiny--she is Princess Moanna--but to prove herself she must complete three increasingly challenging and dangerous tasks; The tasks have to be completed before the full moon.

The first task is to revitalize a dying fig tree. Ofelia must place three stones inside the mouth of a giant toad and retrieve a golden key. Though Ofelia completes this task, she must now deal with her mother's anger when she ruins her beautiful new dress in the process. Upon returning with the golden key, the faun instructs her to use the key inside the realm of the Pale Man. But be warned! Do not eat or drink anything from the banquet table. Nada! Nothing! Of course, Ofelia gives in to the temptation and eats from the Pale Man's table with disastrous results. Ofelia returns to an angered faun, the fighting between Captain Vidal (her stepfather) and the rebel forces intensifies while her mother becomes sicker.

Is Ofelia really Princess Moanna? Will she be able to save her mother? The cast was not only great but drew you completely into the story, and kept your interest throughout the film. You'll actually care what happens to them. There is plenty of action as well as tense moments throughout the film, and you'll just have to watch to find out what happens next. I will say you're never told for sure whether what's happening to Ofelia is real or if she has an overactive imagination. Is it really happening or is she using fairytales to distort the reality of horrors around her. The film leave this entirely up to the person watching the movie.

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November 08, 2009
Very nice review, Shoyu. I was so impressed with this movie. It was totally engrossing and that stepfather- ACCKKKK!
 
May 20, 2009
I haven't seen any of his other movies...but how could anyone be disappointed with this film?
 
May 18, 2009
Del Toro is a genius and this is simply a brilliant film. Its a shame that so many people were angered because they felt that they were victims of false advertizing and lured into seeing what they thought would be a light hearted fantasy film and got this instead. Have you seen any of Del Toro's other films? HELLBOY 1&2, THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE, or CRONOS which is one of my favorite vampire movies but since its Del Toro its more than a vampire flick.
 
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More Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto ... reviews
review by . November 06, 2009
Alice in Wonderland is one of the most beloved stories of our time, It tells of a young girl who falls down a rabbit hole and get's transported to another world where strange creatures rule and the possibilities of magic and adventure are endless. But it's been nearly 144 years since that story first appeared and ever since then film makers have been trying to tell the story a different way for years, But thanks to Guillermo del Toro we have the greatest spin off of all, El Laberinto del Fauno, …
Quick Tip by . June 10, 2010
Visually stunning; interesting plot
Quick Tip by . June 02, 2010
So, so, so, so CREEPY! I hated the main dude. I was Terrified. *shudders*
review by . December 03, 2009
posted in Reel Overseas
The fantasy genre doesn't lend itself well to movies, for whatever reason. Before this decade, fantasy films were much more likely to end up on MST3K or, at best, in a "Most Nostalgic Kids Films of the 80's" list.       Perhaps it's the Spanish-language tendency towards "magical realism" instead of the English-language trend towards Tolkein and Dungeons & Dragons, but Pan's Labyrinth shatters those expectations almost immediately, by melding a little girl's …
review by . September 24, 2009
   Very compelling tale of a young girl who is forced with her sickly and ready to conceive mother, to live with her cruel father in the 1930’s war torn Spanish countryside.  Her father is El Capitan of a military force seeking out rebels against the government.  He loves to torture and brutally murder anybody he catches, whether they are rebels or not (warning: some of the scenes are so graphic that they are difficult to watch if you have a weak stomach).  The girl’s …
review by . November 21, 2009
     Pan's Labyrinth takes place in Spain in May and June, 1944, after the Spanish civil war, during the Franquist repression. Also present is the main character Ofelia's fantasy world which centers around an overgrown abandoned labyrinth. Ofelia's stepfather, the Falangist Captain Vidal, viciously hunts the Spanish Maquis, guerrillas who fight against the Franco regime in the region, while Ofelia's pregnant mother grows increasingly ill. Ofelia meets several strange and magical …
review by . May 21, 2009
DVD
It is 1944, and 12-year old Ofelia and her mother are going to a military outpost in the Spanish countryside to live with her new stepfather, a sadistic army captain.   There, Ofelia discovers an old stone maze that leads to an underground world of fairies and adventures while above ground, the captain is closing in on a rag-tag band of insurgents.     This remarkable movie is alternately beautiful and grotesque, cruel and fantastic.  Ofelia's …
Quick Tip by . November 06, 2009
Really amazing film. Extremely thought provoking & beautifully shot. Made me feel like a child again even though it's not a childrens film.
review by . March 21, 2009
Very compelling tale of a young girl who is forced with her sickly and ready to conceive mother, to live with her cruel father in the 1930's war torn Spanish countryside. Her father is El Capitan of a military force seeking out rebels against the government. He loves to torture and brutally murder anybody he catches, whether they are rebels or not (warning: some of the scenes are so graphic that they are difficult to watch if you have a weak stomach). The girl's means of blocking out all this cruelty …
review by . November 01, 2008
For adults who like fairy tales   This one's worth recommending   I loved the dark but simple plot   From beginning to ending     A king loses his daughter when   The sun's rays light the earth   He sits down in the underworld   To wait for her rebirth     He knows one day her spirit will   Return home once again   (Fast forward to the ending   Of the Civil War in Spain) …
About the reviewer
Justyn Joe Richardson ()
My name is Justyn Richardson but I go by the name Shoyu - after joining the on-line gaming site, Pogo, I have reverted back to my childhood nickname of Tasteless Joe. I first acquired the name when I … more
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Wiki

Inspired by the Brothers Grimm, Jorge Luis Borges, and Guillermo del Toro's own unlimited imagination,Pan's Labyrinthis a fairytale for adults. Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) may only be 12, but the worlds she inhabits, both above and below ground, are dark as anything del Toro has conjured. Set in rural Spain, circa 1944, Ofelia and her widowed mother, Carmen (Ariadna Gil,Belle Epoque), have just moved into an abandoned mill with Carmen's new husband, Captain Vidal (Sergi López,With a Friend like Harry). Carmen is pregnant with his son. Other than her sickly mother and kindly housekeeper Mercedes (Maribel Verdú,Y Tu Mamá También), the dreamy Ofelia is on her own. Vidal, an exceedingly cruel man, couldn't be bothered. He has informers to torture. Ofelia soon finds that an entire universe exists below the mill. Her guide is the persuasive Faun (Doug Jones,Mimic). As her mother grows weaker, Ofelia spends more and more time in the satyr's labyrinth. He offers to help her out of her predicament if she'll complete three treacherous tasks. Ofelia is willing to try, but does this alternate reality really exist or is it all in her head? Del Toro leaves that up to the viewer to decide in a beautiful, yet brutal twin toThe Devil's Backbone, which was also haunted by the ghost of Franco. Though it lacks the humor ofHellboy,Pan's Labyrinthrepresents Guillermo Del Toro at the top of his considerable game.--Kathleen C. Fennessy
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