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Meira

Pan's Labyrinth

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Sad and wonderful. Probably the best fantasy film ever made.

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Saw it yesterday, and, man, I was just so, so disappointed!

 

It was full of physiological details, some of them rather disgusting, which made me kind of glad I wasn't seeing it on the big screen, but that's not the main point.

 

I am used to seeing a movie with no "good" characters, but this one was besides the point - not only every single character was evil in some way, they were dumb and evil. Like, really, really dumb. I can't stand the combination.

 

And the saddest thing, because so many characters were dumb, so many actions didn't make any sense. Things were illogical in the "real" part of the movie, inconsistent in the "fantasy" part. The plot fell apart completely, and stiff and unconvincing actors didn't help, either.

 

I guess the reader was supposed to cry some time near the ending, but I wasn't moved at all.

 

(SPOILER)

 

 

 

 

 

 

To me, "... and then they all died" was the only interpretation, and that vision of a fairy country was just a hallucination the girl had before she smiled, sighed, and died. End of story.

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For me it pictured, in rather overwhelmingly graphic way, the horror and madness of war in a believable manner. The escapism that Ofelia's imagination offered from it, (in my mind) let us see into what might have inspired Tolkien and Lewis to write their novels.

 

Sort of Grimr brothers meet the dark side of Narnia.

 

 

 

*SPOILERS*

 

 

 

It didn't bother me that the fantasy world wasn't 'real' or that the Capitán Vidal was evil to the point of being quite mad. But if you look back at the (European) history it's quite clear that there has been such people or half of the shit would have never happened. And despite being just imagination the fantasy world comforted Ofelia to the point of not being afraid to die.

 

I cried from about midway to the end. :p

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It didn't bother me that the fantasy world wasn't 'real' or that the Capitán Vidal was evil to the point of being quite mad. But if you look back at the (European) history it's quite clear that there has been such people or half of the shit would have never happened. And despite being just imagination the fantasy world comforted Ofelia to the point of not being afraid to die.

 

Yes, I agree with that. I was bored with the dialogues, though, and there were too many logical gaps for me: the captain shooting the doctor just *before* his wife was about to give birth; terrorists, armed with grenades and stuff, using the key, Pedro leaving his sister in the captain's house, fully knowing the captain will know that she's guilty; the captain who suspected the doctor on the base of one fabric-made ampula; and other crazy stuff, such as the girl's cruelty: fairies died because of her, or the girl not allowing the faune to take one single drop of her brother's blood(what, would that make her Lawful Evil immediately?).

 

Usually, when the book is good, these are but insignificant details. But the movie felt too artificial for me, and by the end I was yawning and wishing it to end, though I was interested to know how it'd end. A year before I read an unpublished book about similar stuff, comparable to Tolkien, I'd say, so when I was watching the movie, I saw how much better it could be. Thus, I was disappointed.

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or the girl not allowing the faune to take one single drop of her brother's blood(what, would that make her Lawful Evil immediately?).

 

I, on the other hand believe that the 'drop of blood' would have been much more than that; she would have sacrificed the an innocent child to save her own skin. Killing the fairies on her account was a clever move (plot wise) as it made her guilty and not 'qualified' for 'innocent blood'. (Until she gave it willingly to save her brother, that is.)

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Pan’s Labyrinth (What a stupid translation for El Laberinto del Fauno, I can’t understand why they use that English title also in Finland) is undoubtedly an interesting movie. I wouldn’t say it’s the best fantasy film ever made, but it’s definitely worth watching. It’s very similar to Víctor Erice’s (if you know anything about Spanish films, you’ve heard about him) El espíritu de la colmena (’The Spirit of the Beehive’) from the early 1970’s - in fact the similarities are so obvious that I was surprised how few critics mention them in their articles. Erice’s film was released while El Caudillo Franco was still in power, so the social criticism is skilfully veiled, but it’s there. I think Erice did a more realistic job than Guillermo del Toro at portraying the mysterious world of a ’special’ young child, but that’s just my opinion. In any case, I heartily recommend the film. :p

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