Pan’s Labyrinth
Posted: 18 November 2008 08:57 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Pan’s Labyrinth - A dark, dark fairy tale for adults, with some really deep tones.

Has anyone else seen this movie? I was really blown away. I know it’s been out for a little while on DVD. It’s one of those movies that I NEVER would have rented but my husband, the movie buff, rented and I ended up really affected by. (And it was scary! The beige monster with no eyes gave me nightmares.)

It takes place in 1944, post civil war Spain. A little girl is forced into a scary new life. Her new stepfather is a military captain hunting guerrilla soldiers in the forest and he is an evil, evil man. She seems to escape her scary world in fantasy, which is so very dark but amazing.

I was so moved by this film, I think it will haunt me for some time. The bravery of the little girl, the darkness and feeling in the movie, the moral lessons threaded throughout…

It won Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Makeup.

It’s in Spanish and we watched it with subtitles. (Interestingly, the director spent two months doing the subtitles himself, in a rare move. He was unhappy with subtitles on done on previous movies and felt they were unacceptable. The result? “It doesn’t feel like watching a sub-titled film.”)

I’d love to know if others in the forum have seen this film, and if they were similarly moved. Can’t believe I hadn’t rented it sooner.

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Posted: 18 November 2008 09:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I was blown away by the cinematography of this film. The story was stellar. Overall, it was one of the best films I have seen in some time. I watched a few other films that I thought might be as good as it, but they ultimately all failed to even grasp the concepts this movie offered. Fantastic work.

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” I am a mission-minded atheist because when I look around at the tragedy so rampant in our world, it saddens me to see that the majority of groups aiding those in need are religiously driven. These are people who believe that God tells them to help these people, to further his kingdom. I know that my heart tells me to help these people, simply to further humanity. This goes further than educating about atheism. It deals with educating about loving others.”

Terrence Jackson

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Posted: 18 November 2008 10:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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red face Scary movies give me nightmares! My mind takes the story line and runs with it. I can dream scarier movies than anyone can ever make, just give me a prompt! tongue laugh I’m afraid I’ll have to pass on that one!

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Posted: 19 November 2008 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Asanta, it was scary, but the scary parts aren’t so bad that you can’t be prepared and cover your eyes for them. There is one monster that really freaked me out (but other people may have just found it creepy - depends on your view) and there was a scene or two where the military captain beats or hurts people badly. I covered my eyes for those parts. But the movie was so amazing, and so moving, that it was well worth the scary parts.


Terrence, I completely agree. I’ve never watched a movie that came close to this in terms of the deep story, the amazing film work, and the way I was emotionally moved after watching it.

Have you seen any of the other movies by Guillermo del Toro? I may rent The Devil’s Backbone, which the director says is his “spiritual sequel to Pan’s Labyrinth” and is also set in post civil-war Spain. But it looks like it may have a bit more of a horror element to it, so I’m wary. Pan’s Labyrinth is about as scary as I can handle.

Guillermo del Toro directed:
1993 Cronos (Never saw, looks neat/weird)
1997 Mimic (Which I thought was kind of odd/so-so)
2001 The Devil’s Backbone (mentioned above)
2002 Blade 2 (I thought it silly, but the husband likes vampire movies. Go figure.)
2004 Hellboy (Fun, silly)
2006 Pan’s Labyrinth (best movie ever)
2008 Hellboy II: The Golden Army (will rent, husband big fan of the comics and first movie was fun)
2011 The Hobbit (sure to be amazing when it comes out!)

He produced, but did not direct, The Orphanage in 2007. I won’t see that one, because it is an actual HORROR film whereas Pan’s Labyrinth was a fantasy film with a few scary parts in it. And it involves children, so I’d likely be horrified and depressed for weeks after watching.

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Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.    - Lex Luthor

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Posted: 19 November 2008 12:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I loved Pan’s Labrynth. I didn’t perceive it as scary—it was a tragedy, brilliantly executed. I was enthralled by the interplay between the little girl’s fantasy world and the real world. That interplay—the weaving of threads that passed back and forth between the two worlds—was truly profound. And the conclusion that brought the two worlds together in overwhelming pathos—wow! American filmmakers aren’t good at tragedy because happy endings sell better. But a sunny ending for this movie would have utterly ruined it.

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Posted: 19 November 2008 12:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I saw Cronos many years ago, and I thought it was horribly stupid. Didn’t make any sense to me.

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Posted: 19 November 2008 01:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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George - 19 November 2008 12:48 PM

I saw Cronos many years ago, and I thought it was horribly stupid. Didn’t make any sense to me.

When I read the plot for Cronos, it reminded me a bit of a ‘twighlight zone’ episode. It looked kind of weird/neat but more something I’d watch if I came across it on TV, rather than purposefully rent. Given your ‘review’ I’m guessing Cronos was probably just as lame as Mimic (which was a neat idea for a scary movie, but a bit corny and so-so.)

Thankfully, it looks like the director has matured/improved dramatically over the past 15 years since those movies.  LOL

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Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.    - Lex Luthor

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Posted: 19 November 2008 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Chris Crawford - 19 November 2008 12:45 PM

I loved Pan’s Labrynth. I didn’t perceive it as scary—it was a tragedy, brilliantly executed. I was enthralled by the interplay between the little girl’s fantasy world and the real world. That interplay—the weaving of threads that passed back and forth between the two worlds—was truly profound. And the conclusion that brought the two worlds together in overwhelming pathos—wow! American filmmakers aren’t good at tragedy because happy endings sell better. But a sunny ending for this movie would have utterly ruined it.

At least at the very end, in the little girl’s fantasy world, it was a sunny ending. Even though in ‘real life’ it was tragic. I was sobbing by the end of the movie! I tried to convince myself she was in her happy imaginary world just so I could stop the tears.

You’re right, it was not truly a ‘scary movie’ but a fantasy movie with a few scary parts. I’m just a big baby - so it was scary to me! The purpose of those scenes was not to scare the moviegoers with ‘gratuitous horror’ like some movies, but to deeply imbed the messages of the film. In that way, they were extremely successful scenes and necessary to the story.

I was also amazed at the puppetry in the movie – it really is an underappreciated art form. I loved the giant toad, for example! Some of the effects were computer generated, like the fairies. And Pale Man’s actor wore a green suit under the costume. Parts of his legs and arms that showed were edited out, since Pale Man’s limbs were grotesquely thin and boney there was no way to cover the entire actor.

On the web link in my first post, there is a behind the scenes link where you can see some of the puppetry and suits, and the actors getting into costume, as well as original drawings and specs for the suits. Great stuff.

The faun was amazing, and pulled entire sections of the movie together. The actor in the suit, on stilts, gave him such creepy realism. The movements were outstanding, and I loved the dramatic and theatrical use of his long arms and hands.

Throughout the movie, I suspected the faun was evil and trying to trick the girl out of her throne. My husband disagreed and said, “That faun is neither good nor evil – that faun is the girl’s conscience. He’s testing her, not sabotaging her.” In the end fantasy sequence, when the faun joined everyone, my husband said “See, he’s not evil.” At the end, I agreed with him. But for some reason during the movie, I really suspected the faun was out to get her. Any thoughts on the faun?

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Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.    - Lex Luthor

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Posted: 19 November 2008 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I really suspected the faun was out to get her. Any thoughts on the faun?

Yes, I had many of the same suspicions during the movie, especially when he demanded an innocent’s blood. However, I think that was part of the profundity of the movie: that it’s so easy to doubt the trustworthiness of one’s own instincts. And sometimes our nature seems to push us in differing directions. The faun really was her connection to her true nature, but she could not be sure of who she was. And finding out our true selves in the midst of a chaotic and ugly world is the central challenge we all face.

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Posted: 19 November 2008 05:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I also thought Pan’s Labyrinth was fantastic! Visually amazing and with real characters and a moving story. Outstanding movie!

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Posted: 19 November 2008 06:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I’ll have to get it, it sounds good…...but if I have nightmares LOL ! (I’m such a wimp!)

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Posted: 21 November 2008 11:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Thanks for the reminder!

I agree Pan’s Labyrinth was one of the best major release films of the past few years. Politics, sex and religion were intertwined in a very wild, unruly - and somewhat ambiguous - combination.  Someone mentioned the Faun - to me this figure connected the world of imagination, the pre-catholic pagan past, nature and a whole bunch of other stuff that doesn’t fit easily into categories, good or ill…

But the issue of womens’ oppression/resistance was central to the whole plot, action and characters in a way that was incredibly compelling.

Hard not to cheer when the bad guys get their come uppance…

Reading the posts makes me want to go out and rent it again!

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