|02-16-2008, 04:45 AM||#1|
Have a sip of my "special" cocktail.
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: On your Six.
Word In Stone-Review of Pan's Labyrinth
Guillermo Del Toro is one of those auteurs out nowadays that gets fantasy. I mean he REALLY gets fantasy, that it doesn't have to be visual cotton candy, tasty, entertaining, but forgettable. That you can have some real substance to chew on while you are being treated to imaginative vistas. Pan's Labyrinth is a clear case in point.
The film starts out in the Spanish Civil War which took place in the late 1930s. Ofelia is an imaginative little girl who is traveling with her mother, Carmen, to live with a Spanish military officer named Vidal. Vidal is a Captain and is leading an effort where he lives to stomp out anti-fascist guerillas. He is extremely ruthless in his methods and believes completely in the rightness of his cause and the ends justifying the means. He has a supremely pragmatic approach to almost everything he does.
Carmen is pregnant with Vidal's child and sees herself attempt to cope with the best of not very appealing options in a world going mad about her.
Ofelia sees the world considerably differently. On the way in, she encounters an insext that resembles a cross between a praying mantis and a walking stick, and becomes convinced that it is really a fairy in disguise. When they arrive at Vidal's estate and command post, she continues to see more fantastical characters, locations and concepts. Eventually, she meets the Faun (Doug Jones), who tells her she's actually fae royalty and he wishes to reconnect her with her rightful heritage. To do this, he begins to lead her through a series of tasks intended to bring this about. He also provides her aid to help out with her situation in the mortal world, especially her mother and her increasingly difficult pregnancy.
The film is described as allegorical. But besides telling a facinating fantasy tale juxtaposed with a brutal period in Spanish history, it seems to give you several concepts to mull over.
1. Hard nosed realism vs. fantasy.
2. Dogma vs an open belief system
3. Personal assertiveness vs surrendering your personhood to the will of others.
It doesn't offer easy answers, but it does ask you to think about these issues.