Posted on 7/26/13 06:42 PM
Most critics say Pan's Labyrinth is a wondrous fairy tale, a beautifully crafted film with a awe inspiring story and amazing fantasy elements that will surely be some of the best ever seen. Other critics say it was amazing, a movie like no other with a surefire way to win your emotions and love for this film. Some critics say it is the best film of the decade, others of all time. I think I saw the wrong Pan's Labyrinth. Guillermo del Toro's "classic" film is not what I thought it would be. In my opinion, it is not a fairy tale, but a drama film with fairy tale elements. We barely get much fantasy in this movie anyway, as we are stuck in the world of mortals most of the films, and we don't experience much fantasy feel within the film. But when there is fantasy, fairy tale like moments in the film, it is done right. It is done amazingly. The entire movie, you see a little more fantasy, and what you do see you beg for more of it. The puppetry in this movie is fantastic, and so is the CGI. The faun in this movie looks so good I just wanted to see more of him. We also see bugs that turn into fairies, and a hand-eyes monster that creeps down your spine. It's a strange film, but one that will amaze you with it's puppetry and CGI. But we just don't get enough of that amazement. Sure, it gives us a decent story to put that fairy tale back drop on, but that story is in no way as compelling as the characters themselves. We just need more of the "fairy" aspect of this fairy tale, not more of the mortal, human world story. Strangely, Guillermo del Toro pulls the same kind of trick in Pacific Rim. We get plenty of human characters and their lives, but we wanted more of the robot vs. monster fighting. But that's for another review. It just makes me wonder whether del Toro teases us by giving us only small amounts of fantastical film, such as the monsters and creatures in Pan's Labrynth, so we stay in our seats to watch more and more and wait out the film to see if we do get more of that fantastical feel. But its del Toro's way of directing a film, and if he likes to tease an audience, so be it. We just need some of that teasing to actually turn into full on flirting.
Pan's Labyrinth, by the way, is a 2006 fantasy drama Spanish film starring Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi Lopez, and Doug Jones. Ivana Baquero plays Ofelia, a girl who's mother (Ariadna Gil) has married a an army captain (Sergi Lopez) and moves into the mountains with her daughter to give birth to her son while her husband works there. At the same time, guerrilla armies are camping up in these mountains, ready to kill any Spanish soldiers they can. A labyrinth lies near the cottage Ofelia and her mother are staying in, and Ofelia goes inside to discover a world she would've never thought to find. The guerrilla warfare really annoyed me in this movie. I thought the whole plot, to be honest, was cliche and generic. I'm not sure whether del Toro was going for the familiar "fairy tale" feel, but all I felt was the this-feels-like-its-already-been-done one. The guerrilla fighters were unnecessary to the plot, and it was just added in to create danger. We didn't know why they were fighting, all we knew was that their side lost the war and that they are the last of these soldiers. There was a nostalgic vibe coming from this film, taking you back to the days when you were listening to these kinds of stories in your bed before you fell asleep. Sadly, though, the rest of the film just felt very generic. The acting was solid in this movie, nothing really special coming from any of them. But the one exception was Doug Jones, the man who played the faun and the pale man (you will understand who he is when you watch the film). He totally takes this movie, engrossing himself into these characters and fully acting out. The faun was creepy when you first saw him, but he slowly turned out to be a wondrous sight, something I looked forward to watching, something I trusted and adored. The pale man was also very creepy and the way Doug Jones portrayed him was excellent and horrifying to see. Doug Jones is a great creature actor, high up there with ranks of those such as Andy Serkis and Jim Carrey.
All in all, I did like Pan's Labyrinth. Sure, it wasn't the fantastical extravaganza I expected, but I liked that; it was something I didn't expect. Guillermo del Toro directs an excellent fairy tale for adults, one with horrors and violence, language gore, but still keeps that nostalgic, full "bedtime story" kind of feel to it. Pan's Labyrinth has grown on me since I've been writing this film, but I still wished it had more fantastical scenes rather than building on human development type scenes. Pan's Labyrinth is a one of kind film, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have that generic feel to it. In the end, I enjoyed Pan's Labyrinth, but wished I could've enjoyed it more, wish it could've changed a bit. But in all truth and honesty, which fairy tales really do change? If they did, there would be no point in them. 7/10.