Pan's Labyrinth (DVD)
|Contributor||Guillermo del Toro, Roger Casamajor, Ivan Massague, Alex Angulo, Álvaro Augustín, Ariadna Gil, Doug Jones, Cesare Vea, Maribel Verdú, Alfonso Cuarón, Sergi López, Manolo Solo, Ivana Baquero See more|
|Runtime||1 hour and 52 minutes|
Fairy tales and folk stories have their roots in very old, very deep human fears, fears that director Guillermo del Toro teases out brilliantly in his ambitious, glorious film Pan's Labyrinth. Set against the backdrop of fascist Spain in 1944, Pan's Labyrinth is a breathtaking mix of fact and fantasy, poetry and politics, pain and pleasure to form what is possibly the best film of 2007. A modern masterpiece made entirely on his own terms, with layers of imagery and storytelling folding back on themselves to create a completely formed world, this is remarkable, unique filmmaking. A richly moving story of the end of innocence. Pan's Labyrinth is at once baroque, eerie, smart, passionate, graceful and truly dazzling.
- Language : Spanish
- Product dimensions : 135 x 13 x 190 cm; 85 Grams
- Item Model Number : 36586SDO
- Director : Guillermo del Toro
- Media Format : DVD, PAL
- Run time : 1 hour and 52 minutes
- Release date : 1 February 2012
- Actors : Ariadna Gil, Ivana Baquero, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú, Doug Jones
- Subtitles: : English
- Studio : eOne
- Producers : Alfonso Cuarón, Álvaro Augustín
- ASIN : B01FR38ZOM
- Writers : Guillermo del Toro
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: 16,697 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- 12,782 in Movies (Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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This brings us to one of Del Toro's most brilliant works, the luminously gritty "Pan's Labyrinth" ("El Laberinto del Fauno"). This enchanted little film is a sequel of sorts to "The Devil's Backbone," a magical realism film about the Spanish Civil War -- but this movie takes us deeper into a world that is half real, half ominous fairy tale, with a unique and imaginative story and some really excellent acting. In short, Del Toro weaves a web of frightening magic all around the audience.
Time and place: 1944, Spain, during the Spanish Civil War. A little girl named Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her very pregnant mother travel to meet her new stepfather, the brutal and murderous Captain Vidal (Sergi López). Unsurprisingly Ofelia loathes her new stepfather, but is transfixed by the eerie forests around them -- and one night she is visited by a fairy, and encounters a giant faun who tells her that she is Princess Moanna of the netherworld, and must return there.
But to do so, he tells her that she must do three things. Ofelia manages first task, but is frightened out of her wits by the second task, which involves a hideous monster with eyes in its hands. And in the ordinary world, her mother's pregnancy is getting more dangerous, threatening the one tie she has to her family. As the guerillas and the fascists clash, Ofelia faces being trapped outside the netherworld forever... and being offered a terrible choice if she wants to get in.
Fairy tales have become cleaned-up and cutesy over time, so that children can read them without nightmares (and adults can feel that they're actually doing something for the kids). But del Toro knows that the best fairy tales are the eerie, bizarre ones full of mystery and danger, especially the ones that are connected somehow to the real world. That is what makes "Pan's Labyrinth" so brilliantly dark and heartfelt: that blur between magic and danger, reality and fantasy.
And Del Toro obviously crafted this with care, directing it in a dreamlike style that wraps you up in his visions, but never to the point of making his audience feel too comfortable with his magical world. The eerie atmosphere of Ofelia's wanderings -- the delicate yet menacing faun, the chalk doors, the monuments, the fairies, and the pasty nightmare with eyes in its palms -- is both a contrast and a parallel with the everyday world, which Ofelia hopes to escape. At first, it seems like the post-Civil War and fairy tale stories don't mesh, until you see that the "real world" story is Ofelia's motivation to escape from all the fear, pain and sorrow, and the bittersweetness of her story makes it more painfully real.
But del Toro's biggest triumph is in the instant connection we feel to Ofelia, with her love of the fantastical and her desire to go somewhere "safe." Baquero is absolutely wonderful in this, as a girl who isn't entirely of this world -- in her heart, she belongs somewhere beyond, and is desperate to escape the terrible situation of her "real life" by going there. And López is the ideal villain -- you spend the whole movie wanting to see him gruesomely killed.
Half "Mirrormask" and half gritty war story, "Pan's Labyrinth" is one of the best fantasy stories in years -- dark, passionate and beautifully made. Definitely a great movie.
Top reviews from other countries
This film is an outstanding work, with a multi-layered plot that fuses the grim everyday life of a young girl with a mystical place she can escape to. Very very good stuff.
The challenges of the mythical world are far less disturbing - or violent - than the real one, and it's all too easy to see why she wants to escape into the darkness of the labyrinth where at least the hope of something better exists. But then she's not the only one escaping into the imagination, as her mother sustains herself with a romanticised view of her meeting the captain that he has no interest in whatsoever. To him stories - even a part of his family history that has passed into local legend - exist only to be denied. Lopez's greatest sin isn't the pride that he admits to, or even that he is so pitiless, it's that he chooses to obey without question: the girl's small triumph is that she does not. And the triumphs in the film are generally small, quiet ones, where courage and fear go hand in hand, making the few acts of decency all the more important when they occur. There is one "saved by the cavalry" moment that at first doesn't convince but does prove to be there for a definite purpose that makes the ending all the more powerful.
But while there's a lot going on underneath the surface of the film, it doesn't crush it with the weight of its ideas. It's directed with a visual assurance and, at times, playfulness that sweeps you along, sometimes with delight, sometimes with apprehension, but never simply for the sake of a nice shot or a neat special effect (most of which are incredibly well integrated for such a low budget feature). The performances are superb, with Lopez somehow managing to avoid turning his irredeemable character into a caricature: this is an evil without conscience that is all too recognisable. Javier Navarette's beautiful score is also adept at walking the fine line between magic and emotion without crossing the line into schmaltz.
It's a remarkable film, the only new one that I saw last year that I'd genuinely say is one of the greatest of all time. It's been years since I was so affected by a movie that I had to see the very next show. Practically perfect and definitely one for the collection,especially in the two-disc edition which boasts surprisingly good extras that aren't just the usual self-congratlatory promo pieces.
It follows the story of a young girl, Ofelia, who along with her heavily pregnant mother, are moving in with her mother's new partner, a captain of the military. The story is set during the Spanish Civil war and as such the story unfolds in and around the military outpost where the captain, Ofelia and her mother are stationed.
Ofelia is an inquisitive youngster and she soon starts to see things around the camp that are not what you could call normal! Eventually she meets the Faun, Pan, who gives her three tasks and this forms the real backbone of the story. As Ofelia works through her tasks her situation becomes more desperate as her mother becomes ill during pregnancy and the camp comes under threat from rebels...
The film is very dark and fantastical but with a more adult tone; it's a fantasy of awesome imagination but not for the smallest children. Which leads me on to my next point - the Captain is one of the best villains I've seen in ages. He's thoroughly ruthless and you see pretty early in the movie what he's capable of and from that point on you want him to get his!
A mention should be made of the picture quality of this disc which is outstanding. I recently bought a full HD TV and have been enjoying watching my DVD collection upscaled through my PS3. I noticed as soon as this disc started to play that the picture was utterly superb - the best DVD I've yet seen in terms of picture. Having been getting used to bluray recently most DVD's are almost immediately recognisable as a DVD but Pan's Labyrinth looks awesome. It's a shame they didn't manage to get a DTS soundtrack on there too!
Anyway, I don't want to reveal too much of the story which is very well told. It's nothing particularly new but is told so well it works wonderfully. If you like fanatsy you'll love this. There's a good twist at the end too.
Mixing magic and reality as per the genre you have in one story a fairy tale being told of a young girl who escapes into a private world away from the dreadful daily horrors of the real world at war. Her fantasy world contains all the creatures of mystery and the best that cgi and animatronics can offer. In the other real world the film tells the absolutely brutal story of a unit of the fascistic, utterly cruel Nationalist Army fighting the last stragglers of the defeated republican government `army' in the rain-drenched hills of Northern Spain.
What has the film got? The cinematography is superlative and the palette of the film, the cold greys, greens, browns and blues of the `reality' and the warm golden oranges of the fantasy world, is entirely convincing. The acting from the mesmerizing performance of the child actress playing one of the leads - what a find she is! - (effectively the film has several 'leads') to that by the minor role players could serve as a template of how to act full-stop. The action itself is beautifully directed whether the scenes are of quiet pathos or stomach-churning violence, by the excellent and sure-footed Guillermo del Toro. (By the way, the `15' certificate is a bit of a surprise for me - I've seen less violent `18' films.)
Both stories of the film work very well. Do they work together once the director has put them together in one place side by side? Well... almost. I enjoyed, if that's the right word, the reality scenes more than the fantasy ones but I've never been a fan of fantasy and its paraphernalia so that's probably why. Hence the four stars above instead of five.
N.B. It is not a film to see if you're feeling low. It's unremittingly sombre and sad with no comic details whatsoever. The relief for a viewer comes rather in the form of the fantasy world visited by the young heroine (for us just as it does for her). There could be no happiness and laughter in this film and this makes it tough-going. It's never boring but it's certainly tough-going and this is something to bear in mind before you sit down cheerfully to watch it.
All that said the film stands head, shoulders, torso what have you above most of the films released in 2006 and deserves the plaudits it has received.