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Pan's Labyrinth Reviews

David Germain
Associated Press
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Guillermo del Toro has crafted a masterpiece, a terrifying, visually wondrous fairy tale for adults that blends fantasy and gloomy drama into one of the most magical films to come along in years.

Full Review Source: Associated Press

November 26, 2012
Mary Corliss
TIME Magazine
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This is a fantasy realm so fully and elegantly realized, it might be the adaptation of a classic novel. Yet the source is Del Toro's own capacious imagination.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

November 26, 2012
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Pan's Labyrinth suggests that fairy-tale violence helps the vulnerable process and overcome real-life conflicts and that real-life violence permanently smashes the soul and the heart.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 4/4

August 4, 2007
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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So breathtaking in its artistic ambition, so technically accomplished, so morally expansive, so fully realized that it defies the usual critical blather. See it, and celebrate that rare occasion when a director has the audacity to commit cinema.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

February 3, 2007
David Fear
Time Out New York
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Del Toro specializes in taking horror and superhero films to bold, baroque places, yet Pan's Labyrinth is a step above his usual forays into the fantastic.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York

February 3, 2007
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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A violent fantasy set during the Spanish Civil War, this magical film from Guillermo del Toro manages that intellectual high-mindedness, even as it resonates on a primal, mythic level.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 5/5

January 19, 2007
Tom Long
Detroit News
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It explores the connection between fantasy and reality, with eyes wide open to the dangers of giving either too much credence. That it works on both levels is impressive; that it makes them so clearly one is the stuff of art.

Full Review Source: Detroit News

January 19, 2007
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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It is an adult fairy tale that will lead grown-ups to eagerly await the day that their own children will be old enough to understand.

Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press

January 19, 2007
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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This backdrop of intrigue creates violent scenes that may have you turning away from the screen. Beautifully designed and full of its own strange poetry, Pan's Labyrinth is nonetheless not a children's movie. Take its 'R' rating seriously.

| Original Score: A

January 19, 2007
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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Ofelia, you break our hearts. But you also restore our confidence in human decency.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 4/4

January 19, 2007
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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Pan's Labyrinth resembles a cross between Alice in Wonderland and H.P. Lovecraft, with some Bu˝uel thrown in for good measure. It's a tribute to -- as well as a prime example of -- the disturbing power of imagination.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: A

January 18, 2007
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
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In coming up with one of the finest modern fantasies to date, del Toro seamlessly blends two stories, one set in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War and the other in a parallel realm of fairies and fauns.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 4.5/5

January 18, 2007
Bob Longino
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Pan's Labyrinth is del Toro's home run. He's delivered a film full of power, beauty, horror and, ultimately, sadness.

Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Original Score: A-

January 18, 2007
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Pan's Labyrinth is beautifully shot and designed, but it's the acting that makes it a remarkable emotional journey.

| Original Score: 4/4

January 18, 2007
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
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The movie is that original, and that attuned to the power of myth. I don't see why it shouldn't sit on the same altar of High Fantasy as the Lord of the Rings trilogy -- it's that worthy.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: A

January 17, 2007
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
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Del Toro's gratifying surreal and fantastical instincts now have an unstinting moral eye on the world. Saying a filmmaker has matured suggests that he's forgone what made him so entertaining in the first place.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 4/4

January 12, 2007
Mario Tarradell
Dallas Morning News
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Pan's Labyrinth works on several levels. It boldly captures the horror of war, the bloody violence as well as the emotional stifling of the soul, and juxtaposes it with the enchantment of a nether land bathed in hope and eternity.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: B+

January 12, 2007
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
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Pan's Labyrinth plays with dark magic, a hideous enchantment spun with grief and torment. It is emotionally devastating and sensuously rich: Details are as sharp as the ching of a straight-edge razor, as strange as the squeal of a magic root.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Original Score: 3.5/4

January 12, 2007
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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It's pitch-perfect, impeccably conceived and replete with subtext and meaning. It is, in other words, a masterpiece.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 4/4

January 12, 2007
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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The dark violence of the film (parents, note: Pan's Labyrinth is not for children) is leavened by its invention -- by the way it pushes the limits of reality and fantasy, each world overlapping with the other.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 4/4

January 12, 2007
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
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The creator of such pulp prodigies as Hellboy and Blade II, del Toro mingles myth and history in Pan's Labyrinth, and produces a masterpiece of magical realism.

Full Review Source: San Jose Mercury News | Original Score: 4/4

January 11, 2007
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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Del Toro's made a lot imaginative films. I think this is his masterpiece to date.

January 8, 2007
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
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His palette here is deep-toned, with bottomless blacks and supersaturated oranges and blues -- as if the Walt Disney of Pinocchio had collaborated with Goya.

Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture

January 6, 2007
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
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I've seen this film three times and cannot claim to know whether its fantasy characters and events are meant to exist solely in the imagination of the 12-year-old girl at the center of the story, or if she is the only human aware of them.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 4/4

January 6, 2007
Noel Murray
AV Club
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[Pan's Labyrinth] isn't really a movie about one person or one historical moment; it's about the larger question of how history judges what we do.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: A-

January 6, 2007
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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Pan's Labyrinth artfully fuses a war film with a family melodrama and a fairy tale. The result is visually stunning and emotionally shattering. Though graphically violent in parts, it still manages to be enchanting.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 3.5/4

January 4, 2007
Gene Seymour
Newsday
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The horrors of both the realistic and surrealistic worlds are woven into the beautifully aligned narrative structure of del Toro's story. This is fabulous filmmaking in every sense of the word.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 4/4

January 4, 2007
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
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[Th film is] distinguished by another in a long line of recent child performances that are nothing short of astonishing in their accomplished matter-of-factness.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

January 3, 2007
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
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It is, I suspect, a film to return to, like a country waiting to be explored: a maze of dead ends and new life.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

January 2, 2007
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
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As each turn of events proves more menacing than the last to the young heroine of Pan's Labyrinth, her mother admonishes her: "Life isn't like your fairy tales." But it is. That's the secret at the center of Guillermo del Toro's magnificent film.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

December 29, 2006
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
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It's not every day that you see a movie that not only references both Victor Erice's creepy modernist classic Spirit of the Beehive and Ray Harryhausen's Seventh Voyage of Sinbad with equal reverence.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 29, 2006
Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
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Although Pan's Labyrinth relies heavily on special effects, including the computer-generated kind, you're never aware of them. Del Toro, who wrote the story, has created a special universe. The spell it casts lingers long after the final reel.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 4/4

December 29, 2006
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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Pan's Labyrinth, horrific and heartfelt in the way it sees the trauma of war through the eyes of a little girl, is some kind of great movie.

Full Review Source: Rolling Stone | Original Score: 4/4

December 29, 2006
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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Childlike but never childish, fabulist but never fantastical, it's a triumph.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 4/4

December 29, 2006
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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Pan's Labyrinth represents a quantum leap in del Toro's storytelling, drawing on Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio and many other inspirations to create something quite new and wonderful.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 4/4

December 29, 2006
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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Because the violence is used not for titillation but to create a world we can be fearful about, because the film lives up to its tagline that "Innocence has a power evil cannot resist," we see it all without wishing we were somewhere else.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times

December 29, 2006
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
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Unlike most horror movies, this chiller gives equal prominence to reality and fantasy, though the reality is far more frightening.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Original Score: 4/4

December 29, 2006
A.O. Scott
New York Times
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Pan's Labyrinth is a political fable in the guise of a fairy tale. Or maybe it's the other way around.

Full Review Source: New York Times

December 29, 2006
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
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Like his terrific 2001 The Devil's Backbone, Mexican horrormeister Guillermo del Toro's new movie offers us both real-life and fantastical monsters, and if you know his work, you won't waste time figuring out which to root for.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

December 28, 2006
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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An achievement. Many films with 'split personalities' invest all their creative energy into one aspect of the story, causing the other one to founder and feel obligatory.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 28, 2006
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
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Literally and figuratively marvelous, a rich, daring mix of fantasy and politics.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

December 28, 2006
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
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Pan succeeds both as a spectacular special-effects fantasy and as a psychological drama, with superb actors.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 4/4

December 28, 2006
David Ansen
Newsweek
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Pan's Labyrinth unfolds with the confidence of a classical fable, one that paradoxically feels both timeless and startlingly new.

Full Review Source: Newsweek

December 11, 2006
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
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It's not only one of the great fantasy pictures but one of the great end-of-childhood elegies.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

October 13, 2006
Jennie Punter
Globe and Mail
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Del Toro's latest is a darkly enchanting adult fairy tale, flecked with gore and terrifying creatures, both human and fantastical.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 3.5/4

September 23, 2006
Ben Walters
Time Out
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A disjunction remains between the story's childlike form and its gruesome execution, but few directors are so adept at conveying both the uncanny in the real and the recognisable in the fantastic.

Full Review Source: Time Out

August 24, 2006
Ray Bennett
Hollywood Reporter
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Engrossing mix of horror, fantasy and stark drama.

May 30, 2006
Justin Chang
Variety
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A richly imagined and exquisitely violent fantasy from writer-director Guillermo del Toro.

Full Review Source: Variety

May 30, 2006
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