Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López
Really the only word that adequately describes Pan’s Labyrinth is “fantastic,” in every sense of the word. It’s a brilliant combination of old-world fantasy and bone-chilling war drama, and the amazing special effects are just a delicious frosting on the cake. Fantastic.
A little girl and her mom move to live with the mother’s new husband, a captain in the fascist Spanish army post WWII. The girl meets a faun in a nearby labyrinth, who asks her to do several tasks so she may take her rightful place as a cosmic princess. Meanwhile, the captain keeps getting in her way as part of his attempts to defeat the rebellion forces that are pestering his area.
The fantasy aspects of this movie are great, and that’s not really surprising, given that it’s Guillermo del Toro and he’s really good at bringing crazy worlds to stark life. What’s amazing is how the dramatic, realistic war movie side of this film shine through, perfectly intertwining with the fantastic elements. It’s a lot like del Toro’s earlier film, The Devil’s Backbone, only a little better polished, and with a much higher budget. Also, the villain in Pan’s Labyrinth is one of my personal favorites in any movie I’ve seen, because he’s just SO EVIL and he manages to outshine these other creepy, weird monster things even though he’s just a guy. A guy who is pure evil. Anyway, I heartily recommend this movie, and if you don’t have the ability to watch a movie with subtitles, I’m sure there’s a dubbed version out there somewhere. So long as you don’t mind missing out on, you know, acting.