Pan’s Labyrinth (El laberinto del fauno) is an imaginative, thrilling, and poignant tale of a gloomy and dreamy girl, Ofelia, who was forced to stay with her mom’s new husband – a military officer tasked to exterminate guerillas hiding in the deep forests of Spain in 1940. Out of Ofelia’s loneliness coupled with her queer inventiveness, she created a world where she is Princess Moanna of the Underworld. With the guidance of a Faun, a quirky fairy, and a book (only she could decipher), she sets out to do three great tasks to get back to her kingdom.
I first thought it was a book made into a movie, but it was all from Guillermo del Toro’s notes, fermenting after 20 years. I applaud the perfect casting for the movie. I couldn’t imagine any other celebrities to play the roles of Captain Vadil, Mercedes, and Ofelia. (Well, truth is, I hardly knew any other Spanish actors).
I find Ofelia’s “escape world” odd and irrational – the places she has to go and the tasks she needs to carry out are unexpected, ergo eerily exciting. I’m really impressed by the lack of girlish screams all throughout the film. Ofelia seems stoic all in all but she has a heart, which can be observed closely whenever she talks to her mom and her brother inside her womb.
I should probably warn you that it eats about two hours – it’s a war movie and a fairy tale in a single film. Now when do you get such a treat? If you dislike seeing blood, this is not the movie for you. Yet if you can’t resist the charm of innocence on Ofelia’s face, then bear the gore and violence, as they were grandly mixed in this movie.