Wednesday, June 13, 2012

990. El laberinto del fauno/Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

Running Time: 112 minutes
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro
Written By: Guillermo del Toro
Main Cast: Ivana Baquero, Sergi Lopez, Maribel Verdu, Doug Jones, Ariadna Gil
Click here to view the trailer


It's as if writer/director Guillermo del Toro wrote a script that would intentionally turn me off. Part war movie, part fantasy, "Pan's Labyrinth" is a part of two genres that I dislike when it comes to movies and one movie that I really didn't gel with. 

The film centers around 10-year-old Ofelia (Baquero), a little girl with an active imagination and a penchant for reading fairy tales. When the film opens, we hear of a story (presumably a story Ofelia has read) of a Princess who escaped the underworld to live on Earth. However, when she got to the surface of the Earth, she was blinded by the sun and eventually dies. We then cut to Spain, circa 1944, just after the Spanish Civil War and the residence of Captain Vidal (Lopez). Ofelia and her mother, Carmen (Gil), who has been recently married to Captain Vidal, are traveling to his base to make their new home. Captain Vidal is a vicious man, one who stabs a farmer multiple times in the face, just because he suspects him of being an anti-fascist rebel. Captain Vidal's sole purpose for marrying Carmen is so that he could have a child with her, a son that will bear his name and his father's before him. Captain Vidal has no interest in entertaining Ofelia and really wants nothing to do with her. The film really gets underway when a fairy visits Ofelia one evening and brings her to a labyrinth, just outside of Vidal's residence. At the labyrinth, Ofelia meets a faun (Jones), who tells her that she is the Princess who escaped the underworld and that she must complete three tasks before the next full moon, to ensure that her essence is intact and then she can return to her true home. Ofelia is excited to take on the mission, which involves slaying a giant frog and dealing with a child eating monster.


Honestly, this could probably use a re-watch, because it wasn't until the very end of the film that I realized something that seemed to be a running theme throughout the entire picture. I'm not sure if this is a widely known theory or not, but was the story of Ofelia supposed to be reminiscent to the Bible? I didn't really notice until the very end, when Ofelia dies, sacrificing her own pure blood, instead of that of her baby brother's. As she lie bleeding and drifting into her final sleep, we see a scene where Ofelia is welcomed back into her kingdom, her mother and father there and a kingly man, sitting upon a giant throne, who seems to represent God. I realize that the entire film (the fantasy part anyway) is just a figment of Ofelia's imagination, but could it be that when she died, she went to heaven and God played along with her imagination, allowing her to believe that everything had been real and that she really was a Princess? When I put it like that, it's actually a very beautiful ending. There are other similarities between "Pan's Labyrinth" and Jesus Christ/Bible stories. Ofelia is forced to battle evil in the form of "The Pale Man", when meeting him, she is tempted by fruit and succumbs to it's temptation. She is given the power to heal, when given the mandrake root, which she places under her mother's bed. There's probably a whole slew of similarities, but these are the ones that popped out. I really wasn't looking for them, so I may not have noticed all of them. Or maybe I'm just grasping at straws, who knows.

On the other hand, "Pan's Labyrinth" bored me to tears, in most parts. THE BOOK cites and I quote, "...the film remains somewhat unsatisfactory as the allegorical elements of the story fail to fully gel the reality and fantasy elements, with the result that "Pan's Labyrinth" remains two outstanding halves rather than one spectacular whole." I wholeheartedly agree and instead of dismissing this fact and STILL categorizing the film as a "must see", I'm going to point that out as a major fault and be done with it. Also, like I said, it's also trying to gel together two very different worlds. A very violent world, where Captain Vidal is the main character and Ofelia's world where she's the main character. It doesn't gel right and I'm left wondering who this film was aimed toward. I'm shocked that this film has gotten the acclaim that it has, because I just don't see the appeal and couldn't get lost in it. Call me a sucker, who has lost his ability to imagine (and I had an imaginary friend when I was little too!), but I just couldn't buy into all the fantasy crap.

RATING: 6/10  Not awful or anything, but WAAAY overrated! Oh well, you can't win 'em all, there's always next time and all that cliche stuff.


June 13, 2012  4:43pm

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