I don’t know what’s wrong with me,but I haven’t wanted to see people getting shot and dying as much lately. Whilst I call the doctor and check to see if I haven’t turned into a woman, here are my thoughts on Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth”.
Whilst rewatching “Pan’s Labyrinth” in preparation for this review, a horrible thought occurred- “This is going to be a bitch to review.” Why? Well, I’m not entirely sure. It’s a fantastically well made film and more imaginative than 10 of your Harry Potters or Spiderwick Chronicles. However, it’s pretty complex as well- with layers and layers differing elements all rolled into one. It’s tempting to say “It’s good- see it” and dust my hands and congratulate myself (that sounded cleaner in my head) ,but maybe I’m getting ahead of myself…
The story follows Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), a little girl obsessed with fairy tales who travels with her pregnant mother to live with her stepfather, the ruthless head of the Spanish army, Captain Vidal (Sergi López). Obviously, children and fantasy worlds go together like religion and lies but Del Toro tells it in such an original way you forget all about anything that’s gone before. It’s so good. The acting is all fine and dandy, but a special mention has to go to Doug Jones as the faun (not the titular Pan, as many people think) and the fucking terrifying Pale Man. He adds subtle nuances and movements to every character he plays. He’s brilliant.
So, favourite scenes? Too many to go into detail here, but I have to mention the Pale Man scene. It is probably the single most tension filled scene ever. I don’t say that lightly either. It’s amazing. If you don’t even shudder when the Pale Man starts to move, you’re not human. Seriously, check your circuits, cyborg. Like all Del Toro films, the design is spectacular. It’s dark, twisted and yes, magical.
I’m not entirely convinced of the whole “adult fairytale” thing. The film can be really brutal at times and it can be quite jarring. I don’t have a problem with violence or brutality (in films, anyway) but I really think that without it, this film would be perfect for children. Children love dark and twisted (why do you think Roald Dahl is still popular?) and as I said before, it’s a fantastic film. I want to sit down some kids in front of “Pan’s Labyrinth” and say “See? This is a good film, now take your DVD of “Space Chimps” and fuck off!” So, kids can fuck off and so can those people who avoid films because they’re subtitled. Ah yes, those fuckspuds who say things like “I want to watch my films, not read them!” and other equally flawed arguments. You know who you are- and guess what? I know who you are…and I’m coming to get you. The Spanish language adds a great lyrical quality to the film.
I can’t really think of anything else to say about “Pan’s Labyrinth”. It’s a spectacular, enthralling film that reminded me why I like films. If you haven’t seen it, shame on you.