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Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno) » User review

Pan's Labyrinth

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

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Is it Live or is it Memorex?

  • Nov 1, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+5
In war torn Spain there lived a young girl named Ofelia, who loved to read fairy tales. She moves to the country with her pregnant mother, to live with her stepfather Captain Vidal. The Captain is not a nice man, in fact he is evil, spending his time torturing captives and waiting for his son to be born.

Ofelia has a secret world, a world of fairies and fauns. When a faun appears to her inside the labyrinth, which is part of the grounds of the mill she has come to live in, he informs her that she is a lost princess, and must perform three tasks to prove she is not a mere mortal. Ofelia readily accepts the tasks, and the Book Of The Crossroads that the faun gives her. From the book she learns her tasks to be filled before the next full moon.

'Pans Labyrinth' is a dark fairy tale, not one for the kiddies. I finished the movie and immediately watched it again. The faun FX was extremely well done. The thing at the banquet table was sumptuously disgusting, creepy as all get-up. I think I'm in love with it.

The war story and the bad captain left me feeling shades of 'Shindler's List' inside the story, and I remembered the warm-up of David Bowie's 'Labyrinth', now all grown up into a big-boy movie. It brought to mind the McFarlane Twisted Fairy Tales figures that sit on my shelf watching me as I write this. It also smelled faintly of 'City Of Lost Children' but perhaps that's simply because it was twisted and subtitled.

The acting is excellent, the photography stunning, and the dream breathes the fetid breath of imagination. Del Toro leaves it up to the viewer whether or not Ofelia's world was real or in her head. And what was that thing that came out of the toad's mouth?

My only complaint with the movie would be that it needed more Labyrinth and less war. This is a superb movie for the horror or dark fantasy lover, worthy of a purchase. Enjoy!
Pan's Labyrinth

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May 22, 2009
Terrific review, Schtinky. I agree with you about wishing there was more labyrinth and less war. Those torture scenes were gruesome!! And that thing that the frog threw up...was it his stomach? He deflated afterwards, maybe it was his whole insides. I loved Mercedes! Kona
 
March 22, 2009
I loved this movie- I think this was my first exposure to Castillian spanish- it was absolutely beautiful. Look forward to reading some more of your movie reviews- do you like fantasy movies?
 
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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 15, 2009
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 …
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 …
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Ranked #31
I want to thank Everyone for welcoming me back! :) I'm here to stay folks, my sabbatical on writing reviews is over and I'll continue to review for Lunch. It's great to be back, too! Thanks again for … more
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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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