EP Review: Pan’s Labyrinth

A film by Guillermo del Toro.

Reviewed by Steve Eley.

Comments (9)

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  1. I saw this… it was visually spectacular and Sergi Lopez (one of Spain’s best ultra-evil character actor) was chilling as allways. I felt the end was dissapointing, not because it was ambiguous but just because it was an anticlimax.

    Interestingly enough, under the brutal fascist dictatorship of Franco’s spain there were no massive-scale uprisings of the kind depicted in the movie. Franco kept spain in an iron grip right up to the end of his reigeme. It’s interesting to see a glimpse of this fascist reigeme which was formed at the same time as the Axis powers and only crumbled in the 1970s.


  2. Simeon Weinraub says:

    I was very excited to see this movie. I have been a fan of del Toro, whom I think of as Peter jackson’s more interesting evil Mexican twin, since he directed Cronos in 1993.

    Del Toro has finally hit his stride with this movie. I think that Del Toro paid his dues with movies like Mimic and Blade 2, so that he could get to this point. If you have ever seen his first post-Spanish Civil War horror movie about kids, El Espinazo del diablo (The Devil’s Backbone), you can see how his esthetic sense is a little bit beyond what Hollywood would usually call commercial. That movie is hauntingly beautiful, disturbing, and a little bit political.

    With Mimic, Blade 2, and Hellboy, he has proven that he can create imagery and tell stories that have resonance, as well as be able to helm more high concept fare.

    I hope that the Oscar nomination for Pan’s Labyrinth means that del Toro will get more control with his American movies, because that could only mean good things.

    I am seriously looking forward to Hellboy 2, and 3993 (which is also about ghosts from the Spanish Civil War)

  3. Sullydog says:

    I’m with Steve on this dark and haunting fairy tale. In mid-movie, I found myself wishing that the two “storylines” were more integrated, but by the end that didn’t bother me and I wouldn’t have cared anyway. The imagery was gorgeous, in toto a sort of Ibero-Celtic-Fasco-Funk, and the arc of the story was at once a Christian tale of sacrifice and redemption and also a celebration of pagan archetypes. Just stunning.

  4. Gary H says:

    I read the comments and saw the movie before listening to the Steve’s review. The review is mostly right on. My only concern is the violence. There is some violence in this movie, hence the R rating, and while being brutal, is very short. But do not let that deter you. This movie is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. Definitely in my top three.

    Go see this movie. Don’t take a child, but you must see this movie. This is a masterpiece, worth all the Oscar nomination it received.

    regarding the storylines, I saw them as two parts of the same storyline, both essential to the movie.

  5. Steve Durfee says:

    I don’t think I would recommend that everyone see this movie, but I found it moving and disturbing in a way I liked. I think the dramatic tension escalates geometrically once you realize that the writer and director have no boundaries — anything is possible.

    In his review, Steve mentioned two plot holes: “food” and “knife”. I don’t completely agree with the first — I think that real children make foolish mistakes and behave inconsistently (the only other people who do that are adults!) Besides, if Pandora hadn’t opened the box or if Goldilocks hadn’t slept in the bed, where would their stories be? I see where you’re coming from, Steve, but to me the food incident was believable, albeit shocking.

    I’m curious, though. Which plot hole does “knife” refer to? There were so many knives.

  6. Consolidator says:

    I just saw the movie and felt that it’s not logical. At the end of the day, it seems like the child imagined all the fantasies herself and the other people can’t see or touch what she has experienced (example the creature from the kingdom that visits her at night)

    In other words, we just do not know whether to categorise the movie as reality or just pure fantasy in the mind of a simple child. When we mix reality (like the fight between the army and the rebels) with fantasy (creatures and toad from underground kingdom), it’s just make a mess of an otherwise good acting on the part of the cast.

    In other words, the storyline is absurd in my view and it mars the movie.

  7. irving p says:

    one of the best movies ive seen yet.
    4 out of 5 stars.

  8. odogg says:

    I agree with Consolidator. When she was killed I thought…that’s it? Obviously by that time I had realized a long time before that it was just a young child’s imagination and I was ready to accept what Del Toro had to offer for an ending.

    I don’t think this movie is reality, nor should it be even slightly regarded as reality. It is simply what it is, the imagination of a simple child and a story of a brutal tyrant.

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