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Spanish fantasy story directed by Guillermo del Torro ('Cronos') with stunning sets, shocking scenes and effects - set in the mind's eye of a lonely young girl. Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) is a young girl in a remote mountain village in Spain in 1944 after Franco's ascension to power. To escape the upheaval and hardship her family faces (her father died in the war and her mother (Ariadna Gil) has been forced to re-marry to a despotic Captain in Franco's fascist army), Ofelia creates a world in her mind. It's a beautiful place though not without its dark side but she's guided by a ghastly yet kindly fawn creature. The Captain, it soon transpires, is more interested in the son Ofelia's mother is carrying, than he is in either Ofelia or her mother. Mercedes (Maribel Verd), the Captain's considerate servant, and Dr. Ferreiro the Captain's physician, are, it transpires, in league with the revolutionaries in the woods surrounding the army encampment. These resistance fighters are intent on liberating the rationed food and medicines they need. As the increasingly manic and paranoid captain assassinates anyone who looks at him the wrong way with alarming regularity, Ofelia's secret quests set by the fawn creature to unlock the portal to another world become more and more urgent. With its deft mixing of CGI and actual character scenes, political and social statement, Pan's Labyrinth has been referred to already as 'The Citizen Kane of fantasy films'.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Language : Spanish
- Product dimensions : 13.5 x 1.5 x 17.2 cm; 81.65 Grams
- Item Model Number : B004EMRZW6
- Media Format : Special Edition
- Dubbed: : English
- Subtitles: : English
- Studio : Studiocanal
- ASIN : B004EMRZW6
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: 22,632 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- 17,393 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.
I just don't find anything bad to say about it so i guess i must rate it 5/5 ? sure maybe its a little cheesy sometimes, and there are some scenes where the actions of the characters annoyed me a lot, its an emotional rollercoaster but i think that is what artistic films are about?