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Pan's Labyrinth Moderately Interesting

Published December 29, 2006 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Picturehouse.
Pan's Labyrinth Poster Pan's Labyrinth
I feel really left out on Pan's Labyrinth. Everybody's loving this movie and I just wasn't into it. I found it slow and boring, with only moderately interesting visuals when we even get to see anything.

Movie Review: Pan's Labyrinth

Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) is moving with her pregnant mother to live with her new husband, Captain Vidal (Sergi Lopez). The captain is a vicious military villain who just wants a son to carry on, but Ofelia can escape into the magical labyrinth in her backyard and go on fantastical missions to help her ailing mother survive.

Sounds great, right? It's totally the sort of thing I'd be into. Children empowered on adventures, experiencing violent, bloody hardships of life and blurring the line between fantasy and reality. That's all there, but it felt very much like The Chronicles of Narnia, which I hated.

She goes to fantasy land, then comes back. Then goes, then comes back. Then goes, then comes back. That’s actually more back and forth than in Wardrobe. I understand that this story wasn't about total immersion in the fantasy world, but whenever she came back I was so bored.

The creatures are all the same. There's a goat man, some fairies and a giant toad, all variations on familiar beasts if not direct elaborations of characters like Tumnus. The guy with eyes in his hands was kind of cool, but all his hanging, droopy skin just looked like Klem from Buffy. The little mandrake baby was cute.

I think it's good that the violence is so dark. The captain is more evil than the usual wicked stepmother, and sewing up his cheek wound was worse than a procedure on nip/tuck. But just delivering the blood doesn't really mean anything if the child's very quest is mediocre.

I get it. It's about fantasy and faith overcoming evil. It's a fine theme but there are only spurts of the fantasy and those are very typical. It's all lit with the same blue-green hue that Guillermo Del Toro uses. So Pan's Labyrinth is this year's Traffic, the movie everybody loves except for me.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Picturehouse.

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