Pans Labyrinth Review
Written by: alex1176
Guillermo Del Toro's dark fairy tale is a magical and glorious cinematic achievement. It is the director's best film yet. "Pan's Labyrinth" is like "Alice in Wonderland" by the way of David Lynch. It is extremely imaginative, dark and enthralling. Set against the war-torn backdrop of 1940's facist Spain, the film tells the story of a little girl named Carmen who has just moved into the countryside with her mother Ophelia to live with Captain Vidal of the Spanish Army. The brutal Vidal plans on taking out militia armies in the area. This ugly reality of war brings Carmen to lean on her imagination to escape the current situation and that is when other-worldly creatures begin to miraculously appear to her and only her.
The movie masterfully moves back and forth from reality to the surreal. It is a triumph in terms of Del Toro's distinct visual storytelling. The setpieces are memorable and the imaginative creatures which include Pan and the Pale Man are instantly iconic. Human emotions run tender throughout this movie. And there are some brief spurts of brutal violence, but it is done to serve the story and is not gratuitous in the least. While the movie is rated "R", I think it is suitable for viewers of all ages.
"Pan's Labyrinth" can also be seen as a companion piece to Del Toro's ghost story "The Devil's Backbone". They both take place in 40's Spain and are both told through the eyes of a child. "Labyrinth" was co-produced by Alfonso Cuaron, director of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban". It is the third great subtitled 2006 movie I had seen in a row ("Apocalypto" and "Letters from Iwo Jima" were the other two). However, "Pan's Labyrinth" is the best of the three. I could understand why a movie critic would name it the best movie of '06. It is a great picture.