Pan’s Labyrinth Movie Review
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Rated: R for graphic violence and some language
Ok, the musical accompaniment is probably not necessary. But here I am. Tah-DAH.
See? Drums would be nice after such a long absence.
I have no excuse. One of my many mantras…make no excuse unless you have someone to lie for you. And since no one was willing to lie about me having my leg removed due to the bite of a rare, hairy, spotted, STD-inflicted flea…. I have no excuse. Not that me missing a leg would be a reasonable excuse for not reviewing… I mean, you don’t need all ten toes to type, only four, right? And it’s not like I haven’t been reading and watching since I posted last, I have.
I’m just kind of lazy. I apologize to those of you who missed me, and to those of you who didn't, well, kiss my flea-bitten leg...it's in the garbage over there.
Ok, there, with that out of the way, let’s talk about creepiness.
The kind of creepiness that bubbles throughout the Spanish fairy tale, Pan’s Labyrinth (original title: El Laberinto del Fauno). When I left the theater, I was thinking hard, about the movie, its gruesome beauty, its wonderful special effects, its great acting… and also I was thinking about what kind of a sick, twisted-up mind comes up with the kind of creature that chases the little heroine during one bite-your-nails scene…. The thing sticks eyeballs in its palms and then hold its sharp-nailed, freakishly long-fingered hands up in front of its eyeless face, spreading the digits out- ewwwww. Excuse me while I shudder.
Ofelia, said heroine, has several enormous problems. The eyeball monster is only one of them. There is also the fact that her mother is having a very difficult pregnancy. There’s the mother’s new husband, a stepfather to rival the evil of Cinderella’s stepmama. There’s the fact that she has discovered this crazy, underground, magical kingdom of which she is apparently the long lost princess, and she has tasks to complete before she can return home. Tasks include but are not limited to; being chased by Eyeballs In Hands Dude, retrieving a key from the belly of a rather large and disgusting toad, and deciding just how much she can trust the faun who has revealed her magical destiny to her.
The faun itself is pretty creepy, but by creepy, in this case, I mean it in the… gee, I never thought of a faun as being covered with dirt and moss and making creaking sounds when it moves… kind of way.
Ofelia and her mother, Carmen, are in war-torn
When I first saw the poster for this movie, I thought it was a kid’s movie. Note, doting parents of imaginative children like mine… this is Not a Kid’s Movie. (My thirteen year old enjoyed it, and didn’t complain once about reading subtitles, either! I wouldn’t have brought my ten year old on pain of death, on the other hand.) It is not rated R for the fun of it. I had to actually look away from the screen more than once, and swallow so as not to upchuck the popcorn I was merrily munching until the good old captain took a bottle to some poor peasant’s face. Yes, it’s violence, and of the graphic type. But it’s graphically wonderful too. Every actor in this film gives a spectacular performance. If the idea behind acting is to make us feel the character, his or her motives, ambitions, love and hate and, in some fun cases, seething worm-eaten madness... well then, this cast succeeds. The creatures populating the underground kingdom are wonderful and believable, if you have that kind of heart that beats twice as fast in anticipation of good old fashioned Brother’s Grimm-type fairytales. Not the one where the wolf and Red Riding Hood saunter off arm-in-arm to share scones with Gramma. No, this is the one where the wolf gobbles up grams and the little red-caped wonder, and then gets his belly chopped open by an enthusiastic woodsman.
I’m not talking about happily ever after. I’m talking about move you, grip you, and make you think about it as you’re falling asleep that night.
I give it 5 &’s…
&… the computer animation/graphics/whatever were wonderful
&…. The fairytale was spellbinding
&…. The WWII plot was skillfully woven right into it
&… the acting of everyone was pretty damn wonderful
&… that Eyeball Guy... he was like something out of Stephen King’s personal nightmare closet.