'Words cannot describe' or 'Can't possibly imagine' are the type of quotes you would hear from people who have felt the full whack of a war. So what better way to portray the Spanish Civil War than del Toro letting his dark phantasies escape from his notepad onto screen. Ofelia's torment throughout the film would be unimaginable, so instead you're viewing del Toro's representation of it though his imagination. This films influences from other films (Narnia, Labyrinth), writers (Borges, Machen, other magic realist writers) and painters (Goya) inject a strong mystical dose into the story to leave the viewer bewildered and astonished by Ofelia's dark experiences of war. What better way to portray scenarios that existed in the Spanish Civil War, than mystical realism, after all these experiences will always be dark and mysterious to us. The characters and quests that are included in the film make it gripping and full of suspense, but for an older audience these subjects can be related to real life scenarios that can be just as ugly and feared. The characters are so intricate that fascination is guaranteed throughout the film.
One main theory, that stands true in life is the idea that what we do in our short time on earth may or may not make us immortal in an afterlife, but will make us immortal to those who know where to look when we're gone.