very good movie. acting is great, story is great, visuals fantastic. | Pan's Labyrinth | Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil
New Line Home Video, 2007
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Blu-Ray Technical Specs
Feature film Blu-Ray technical specifications:
Video: 1080p, 1.85:1
Audio: Spanish dts-HD Master Audio 7.1
I'm hopeful that Amazon's technical specifications listings will become more useful.
The Violence Is Necessary
Fairy tales are violent.
s are always dangerous places. Many fairy tales have been toned down for kids, but in their original forms, Violent. Getting to the movie, the violence has to be there. Basically, I think it rips the viewer back and forth between the "I'm really a princess!" fantasy world the little girl dreams of and the harsh world the little girl lives in just as the little girl is throw back and forth between that fantasy world and the world in which the country is at war, her father beloved father is dead, her mother is sick, her baby brother is in jeopardy, she's being told to call some other man father, her stepfather is a murderous jerk, and her new best friend (as she has had to leave all of her old friends in the city to move to the country) is a spy who could be discovered and killed at any moment. While viewers feel sympathy for the little girl's situation given all of that, the violence on screen creates a situation for the viewer. More empathy. The viewer (at least those with weaker stomachs) wants to get away from it as much as the little girl and hopes she, at least, succeeds, becomes the princess, finds her "real" father (alive and well), her mother (alive and well), etc etc. Why the ending? As multiple characters in the film say, there is no magic. Fairy tales aren't real. Not for you, me, or anybody else. No other ending would work. For what appears to be it's purpose, the movie had to be dark and could have been darker without fault. In passing, would like to comment on the fact that Captain seems to believe in his own version of a fairy tale, the great man's death. In fact most characters seem to have some "fairy tale" in mind. Final note: those complaining because they thought this was a kid's movie, check the rating on the DVD, the movie posters, the internet, the theater marquee,.... That's not, and never was, a G. Don't blame anyone buy yourself for your choice not to take the time to read one letter prominently placed on the advertising materials before tossing your kids in front of the television and going off to do the laundry or whatever. There's no excuse for being surprised by the fact that this movie isn't for kids.
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very good movie. acting is great, story is great, visuals fantastic.
excellent job on this movie. dark and violent, but high quality storytelling and film making.
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Two Tales in One? Or a New Tale out of Two?
A movie like Pan's
- popular for its mythical creatures, weird fairies and so on - is enigmatically interesting because it's possible that the 'genre' (and thus message) of the movie changes according to the status assigned to said creatures.
If the creatures were real, then it's Fantasy and all that this implies for a war-oriented movie. If they were NOT real, then one could say that the movie is essentially about psychosis, escapism, people 'dealing with' the horror of war, traumatic realism, etc. in which case the director del Toro would have to be conveying a different message entirely.
Then again maybe del Toro left it to us to decide, thus creating the paradox scenario where we, the viewers, have a say in "what kind of movie" we're watching. Given a parallax move, we could even say we were watching two different movies entirely. Or, to push the envelope deeper, what if we were watching two movies enmeshed, hybridize and juxtaposed together thereby creating a "third" movie, NEITHER a war NOR fantasy movie but a movie where possibility is always in the making, where perspectives fluctuate and **where the undecidability of what is real is ITSELF a critical element of the reality we inhabit**??
In a word, Pan's Labyrinth is about the significance of knowing but not knowing. Ofelia experiences the creatures and the satyr but can never know if she is being really helped or simply cruelly misled. In a heart-thumping scene, Ofelia has to retrieve a key from a child-eating monster asleep at a table and, despite being told not to eat of anything, goes on and consumes two apples resulting in the monster waking up and almost catching her. Doesn't this scene suggest that Ofelia has trouble deciding on the nature of the knowledge imparted by the satyr and, yet again, didn't her ambivalence almost prove disastrous? Carmen, her mother, knows that being with the Captain is a necessary move but also 'knows' it's not (so what is it that she really knows?). The Captain, despite being an seasoned war commander, didn't know that Mercedes and the doctor was a spy, or at least not until it was too late and he was given a 'Glasgow Smile' (a wound inflicted by Mercedes whom he had tied up but who released herself behind his back but right under his nose). In the end, of course, Ofelia 'learns' that she is the incarnate (but amnesiac?) Princess Moanna. Her knowledge of this fact both redeems and ends her life and then the story. Yet this leaves all the other characters in the dark (of knowledge). So we have a girl who achieves (some kind of) immortality via true knowing, a knowing which generates a final un-knowing or, conversely, a finality of un-knowing.
The quasi-suspended nature of the ending only heightens the point that the movie was always about the irreducible double-seeing, un-seeing and perceptive indecision which fills our world. Del Toro has presented us with a striking red herring. He's made it seem like we have to decide if we're watching magical realism or simply a story of a girl with an over-stimulated imagination, when in fact *the act of choosing* is the very enigma we are expected to recognise, appreciate and, ultimately, live with.
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Hi! Are you a fairy?
Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican director, but El laberinto del fauno is set in fascist dictator Franco's Espana. But for all its fantasy and fairy tale elements, it might just as well be set in Neverland, where all stories begin with "Once upon a time..."
¡Vamanos! Our story begins as 11-year-old Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her mother Carmen (Ariadna Gil) travel to meet her new husband, El Capitán Vidal (Sergi López). El Capitán is stationed in a lonely outpost in the wild country, quelling a rebellion. Carmen is with his child, and is in no condition for such an arduous journey. Nevertheless, he insists that his son should be born where his father is. Ofelia is skeptical of her new step father. Her real father was a tailor.
Carmen: The captain has been so good to us... Please, Ofelia, call him father. It's just a word, Ofelia, just a word.
Vidal is a heartless fascist, and Ofelia senses that immediately. She seeks to escape the harsh regime of El Capitán through stories and fantasies. The lines of demarcation between what seems real and what seems fantastic start to blur. She discovers an ancient stone
, and her journey has begun.
Ofelia: My name is Ofelia. Who are you?
Pan: Me? I've had so many names. Old names that only the wind and the trees can pronounce. I am the mountain, the forest and the earth. I am... I am a faun. Your most humble servant, Your Highness.
There is a tradition in South American Literature known as Magical Realism, or lo real maravilloso. Though the term was first coined by German art critic Franz Roh in 1925, it was Alejo Carpentier who gave the term its current definition. The Venezuelan essayist and fiction writer Arturo Uslar Pietri was also eager to promote this literary mixture as an exceptional feature of Latin American literature. Magic realist authors include Jorge Luis Borges, Alejo Carpentier, Isabel Allende, and Gabriel García Márquez. "My most important problem was destroying the lines of demarcation that separates what seems real from what seems fantastic" said Gabriel García Márquez.
Mercedes: My mother told me to be wary of Fauns.
Guillermo del Toro has written a story that falls within the realm of Magical Realism. On a side note, he quotes Søren Kierkegaard when explaining the ending, but I can't reveal the quote without spoiling the ending.
This story was very close to Guillermo's corazón, and legend has it that he turned down an offer to direct The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to do this film instead. He gave up his entire salary, including back-end points, to see this film realized. He was offered double the budget by Hollywood producers provided the film was made in English, but he turned them all down, unwilling to compromise. He even wrote all the English subtitles himself, to ensure that they were true to his original vision.
For years he kept a sketch book where he would draw pictures and scribble notes about his ideas for the film, until one day he left it in a taxi. He was going to give up on the project, but the cab driver, realizing the importance of the notes, tracked him down and returned them. He took this as a sign that he should continue his quixotic quest.
Capitán Vidal: I choose to be here because I want my son to be born in a new, clean Spain.
The bottom line is that Guillermo del Toro's film is a masterpiece like Jean Cocteau's La belle et la bête or Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands. It's a film that creates a fable, which is much harder to do than it looks. Guillermo speaks the language not only of films, but also of dreams, of myths, and of fairy tales. His notes and sketches for this film remind me of the recently discovered Red Book by Carl Jung, where Jung also attempted to capture the ephemeral dreams and notions of his subconscious and divine their meaning.
Carmen: You're getting older, and you'll see that life isn't like your fairy tales. The world is a cruel place. And you'll learn that, even if it hurts.
[throws the mandrake onto the fire]
Ofelia: No! No!
Carmen: Ofelia! Magic does not exist. Not for you, me or anyone else.
Though the film does have elements of the fairy tale it is not for young children, because the world's more full of weeping than they can understand. There are some quite disturbing moments of violence that are only too real. One character, the Pale Man, played by Doug Jones (who also portrayed El Fauno), was so unsettling that he even made Stephen King squirm. Del Toro was seated next to King at a screening and he compared seeing the horror king's reaction to winning three Oscars. Besides the three Oscars and three other Oscar nominations, his film also received a 22 minute standing ovation at Cannes.
Ofelia: Mercedes, do you believe in fairies?
Mercedes: No. But when I was a little girl, I did. I believed in a lot of things I don't believe anymore.
Ofelia: Last night a fairy visited me.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Widescreen) (2008) Doug Jones was Abe Sapien; Directed by Guillermo del Toro
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Remix) (2005) Doug Jones was Cesare
Hellboy (2004) Doug Jones was Abe Sapien; Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Adaptation (Superbit Collection) (2002) Doug Jones was Augustus Margary
Y Tu Mama Tambien (R-rated Edition) (2001) Maribel Verdú was Luisa Cortés
The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000) Doug Jones was FBI Agent - Carrot
Three Kings (Keepcase) (1999) Doug Jones was Dead Iraqi Soldier
Mystery Men (1999) Doug Jones was Pencilhead
Tank Girl (1995) Doug Jones was Additional Ripper
Batman Returns (1992) Doug Jones was Thin Clown
Ofelia: Hi! Are you a fairy?
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Following a bloody civil war, young Ofelia enters a world of unimaginable cruelty when she moves in with her new stepfather, a tyrannical military officer. Armed with only her imagination, Ofelia discovers a mysterious
and meets a faun who sets her on a path to saving herself and her ailing mother. But soon, the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur, and before Ofelia can turn back, she finds herself at the center of a ferocious battle between good and evil.
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