Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

Pan’s Labyrinth – 2006

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We have come to associate accomplished Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro as the man who directed “Pacific Rim” and pulled out of directing “The Hobbit Trilogy”.
Let us not forget however, that this man created an incredible adventure tale that is symbolic beyond belief, intriguing and nothing like the trailers and advertising material alluded to.

“Pan’s Labyrinth” is a film that director Del Toro has stated to be a “Fairytale for grownups”. At it’s core, that is precisely what this picture is, and like many classic fairytales for children, the magical, mystical elements are one thing, but the symbolism behind it all is what makes it timeless and truly spectacular. Set shortly after the Spanish Civil War, “Pan’s Labyrinth” is both an adventure and a cautionary tale in some sorts about Ofelia, a young and curios girl who is caught up on both sides of conflict. After stumbling across a mysterious stone structure and seeing an unfamiliar creature, Ofelia begins to travel into a magical, dreamlike realm which will change her life forever. Although Ofelia’s adventures are the primal point of focus, the adventures down below tend to replicate and symbolise the horrible continuing conflict juxtaposed up above.

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This is a film that screams high school. It may sound strange, but “Pan’s Labyrinth” appears to be a film that students could study in depth and endlessly in an English class or even a film analysis subject. Nothing is as it seems, but at the same time, it is; the trick is to look closer at the parallels between worlds.
There are countless links between reality and the surreal, as well as including numerous religious and mythological references. This is an incredibly intelligent film, and it makes me wonder why Del Toro pursued something as transparent as “Pacific Rim”…

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The creatures are spectacular when it comes to makeup and cosmetics. Although the screen time of these beasts is nothing like one would anticipate from the trailers, they are haunting and disturbing nevertheless.
The primary antagonist known as Captain Vidal (Sergi López) is menacing and ruthless above all else. He offers up a dark representation of war-based dictatorship of sorts, and his merciless exercises simply prove it tenfold.

“Pan’s Labyrinth” is something that you would not expect to witness. It is indeed a fairytale-like adventure that is targeted for older audiences, but it stands to send many mature messages regarding war, religion, politics and human intuition.
This is brilliantly written picture and the performances are excellent.
Something to keep an eye out for is the interesting amount of ‘Harry Potter’ connections – there are a few more than you’d expect…

4/5

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