Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Review: Pan's Labyrinth

Starring: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Language: Spanish
Rating: R
Running Time: 119 minutes

Since the release of this movie, several people have told me many times to watch it and I know a lot of critics praised this film as well. Just like Maria Full of Grace, I watched this for my Spanish class and I had high expectations coming into it.

In 1944 Fascist Spain, a young girl named Ofelia is fascinated with the world of fairy tales and fantasy stories. She travels to her new home with her pregnant mother to her step father's home. Her step father is heartless captain of the Spanish army. Ofelia isn't very fond of him, but she tries her best to accept him for her mother's sake and her potential baby brother. While becoming close to one of the help Mercedes, she finds a labyrinth and learns that she is a princess from an old faun, but in order for her to meet her real father, she must complete three tasks before the moon is full.

Upon watching this movie, I was a little concerned about my attention span waning throughout the movie. Not because of the storyline, but due to the length of the movie and having to read subtitles for so long. I had flashbacks of a certain lengthy Japanese movie that had my attention drift every now and then, but I stuck through with little complaints on the time. Actually, the content was so intriguing, I forgot it was nearly two hours long.

The story is fantastic, but you may be a little confused in places. As long as you stick to it, you will be truly engrossed in it. This is one of those movies you need to re-watch, read up on, and/or discuss with friends to gain a clearer understanding and perhaps new perspective. Along with it being well written, it is well executed. You truly connect to these characters whether positive or negative. The characters also step away from some stereotypes which made me pleasantly surprised. Everything felt believable even though this is a fantasy.

Lastly, the setting, costumes, and effects were well thought out. It set the tone and time clearly to keep you engaged. They also didn't overdo it with the costumes or effects. I was a little worried about that. They separate and merge both worlds clearly and cohesively too.

In the end, I really enjoyed this dramatic fantasy. I loved it so much that I want to add it to my collection and re-watch it with my mom. Pan's Labyrinth is gorgeous inside and out and deserved every bit of praise it received. I highly recommend anyone who hasn't watched it to do so soon.

Rating: 4.5/5

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