Director – Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim, Blade II)
Starring – Ivana Baquero (Black Friday, High Seas), Ariadna Gil (Gods of Medicine, Here on Earth), and Sergi Lopez (Black Bread, Happy End)
Release Date – 2006
Rating – 4/5
Blu Release – 4.5/5
The year after I graduated high school I bought a stack of DVDs from my local video store. Dewey’s Video was recently sold a year or so prior and the new owners were big on rentals and sells. Living in the middle of no where, this was the best place to snag movies without turning to eBay, Amazon, and other online retailers. It was here that I first caught a glimpse of Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. I was big in the Upcoming Horror Movies’ message boards and was pretty knowledgeable of new films but this one had got by me some how.
I snagged a copy on DVD with a few other films and that weekend I watched it for the first time. I’ve watched it several times since then and I love it just as much with each viewing as I did when I first saw it. A few weeks ago Umbrella Entertainment announced the release of the film as part of their Beyond Genres line. I reached out to them and they were kind enough to send a copy of their release my way for review. I want to thank Umbrella Entertainment for sending this one over and allowing myself and Horror Society the opportunity to review this fantastic film. Thank you.
**Spoiler Alert** The film takes place in the early 40s in Spain with young Ofelia (Baquero) as she is being escorted with her mother who is expecting to her new step-father’s home. He is a ruthless general in the army who is fighting a war against a group of resistant fighters in the country side. She’s a fanatic of fairy tales and finds herself pulled from the horrors of her real life in to the fantasy realm of a faun who convinces her that she is the princess that he has been waiting for. She has to complete three tasks in order to prove her royalty while her step-father wages war on the locals and he pregnant yet ailing mother prepares to give birth. **Spoiler Alert**
Pan’s Labyrinth is one of the most interesting and intriguing fantasy films to exist. It’s an adult oriented tale that brings blood, a compelling story, and wonderful written characters that cinema rarely sees anymore. I have yet to meet someone that has seen this movie that didn’t like it but the number of people that haven’t seen it is staggering. Del Toro is one of the greatest filmmakers of our time and this is one of his best films and what I would consider to be a timeless classic.
The acting in this one is phenomenal. The Spanish speaking cast delivers some of the best performances I’ve witnessed and the fact that you are still appreciating their performances while reading the subtitles really shows how wonderful the cast is. Baquero is great as the film’s star. She shows some serious skill in front of the camera for such a young age. She has went on to star in several other films including a horror comedy opposite Bruce Campbell. We have another fantastic performance from Doug Jones who brings the faun Fauno to life. His career is overflowing with fantastic creatures and beings with him donning heaving make-up and this is among one of his most memorable. The rest of the cast is just as brilliant but the characters don’t hold the screen like these two.
The story for this one pulls so many different themes and angles together into something truly enjoyable without over doing it. The film is a fairy tale centered story at it’s heart. We then have a war torn Spain on top of it with a rebellion taking place. We then have a mother trying to find a father figure for her daughter since the death of her husband while an evil military general is looking for any woman who will sire him a boy even if it kills her. At the center of it all is a young girl who spends more time in her books than the real world. It’s beautifully written and the pacing is great. The film is around two hours long yet it doesn’t feel it. We have great pacing, great character development, and a story that will pull you in.
Finally, the film has some great practical effects, amazing costumes, sets that will leave you mesmerized, and noticeable visual effects. We have some blood and a few graphic moments but the visual effects take away from the fun. However, the costumes and sets are fucking brilliant. I can’t praise them enough. Overall, Pan’s Labyrinth is one of the few films that truly deserves the Beyond Genres label and fits perfectly in Umbrella Entertainment’s series. It’s got elements of horror, fantasy, adventure, war, and drama. It’s a brilliant film that I truly believe you should see it regardless of what type of films you enjoy. It’s a masterpiece.
2007 Audio Commentary with Guillermo Del Toro
Video Prologue by Guillermo Del Toro
The Power of Myth
DVD Comic Sketches
El Fauno Y Las Hadas
The Colour and the Shape
Storyboards and Thumbnail Compares
Prologue by Guillermo Del Toro
Ofelia Enters the Labyrinth
Ofelia, the Fig Tree & Giant Toad
Death of the Doctor
VFX Plate Compare Guillermo Del Toro and the Green Fairy
Prologue by Guillermo Del Toro
Lost Character, El Hombre De Madrea
Torturing of the Maquis, Prosthetic Makeup
Phases of the Moon
Iconology, Echo…. Echo….
The Underground Kingdom, Miniature Construction
The Mill, Set Design
The Melody Echos the Fairytale
The Giant Toad
The Pale Man