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El laberinto del fauno
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Reviews & Ratings for
Pan's Labyrinth More at IMDbPro »El laberinto del fauno (original title)

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful pictures and state of art scenes, depressed and poor performance, irrationally illogical plot

Author: Victor Cherkassky
27 January 2013

I was very intrigued with plot, camera work and visual effects at the movie beginning, however all plot lines were spoiled one by one until nothing even mediocre remained from the movie at the end. I feel very upset, because visual effects and camera work remained astonishing throughout the movie. Fantastic and magical ideas and scenes appeared from time to time, but incredibly illogical plot turns have broken each scene experience. Overall plot looks crafted and quite unnatural. I found several scenes displaying extraordinary violence unneeded and over-the-top, they made the movie look more like a trash one. Actors' performance was very mediocre: only the Captain was good, the girl didn't look very scared when she should absolutely have to.

Anyways, I would recommend this movie, because so many people enjoyed it, but don't expect too much.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:


Author: begob from The Undertow
31 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I think this is two fairy tales - one tells the story of the heroine's three tasks in Pan's labyrinth, and the other the fight between good communists and bad fascists. In the end the final task corresponds with the defeat of the fascists.

The production and acting are very good, the fantasy scenes are imaginative, and overall it's good to watch. The only violence I had problems with was the amputation scene - had to turn away. I had a problem with a couple of plot points- the heroine breaks the rules, which seems out of character for her + as a consequence Pan says the game's up, but then returns to give her another chance. The second bit does get resolved, but it bugged me.

The story's not really satisfying because it's a total fairy tale - no true insight for the audience. Plus it seems to me the heroine's completion of her fantasy tasks produces the kind of hierarchical system that the goodies have been fighting against in the other fairy tale. So that makes it politically naive.

I hadn't watched this before because it's subtitled + had a reputation for being weird. I wish it had been genuinely weird.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A film for anyone who hasn't slaughtered the child within

Author: abeburnett from United States
28 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tremendously, poignantly sad, Pan's Labyrinth is a masterpiece of cinema.

Pan's Labyrinth is equivalent to our daily experience--in which we wake up every morning bathed in the reality that life is not all perfect, fluffy Disney movies. In fact, life often seems unbalanced in favor of the pain and anguish department. Moments of joy, happiness, love, security, satisfaction--every experience of positive emotion--are fleeting, more mirage than solid reality.

Pan's Labyrinth speaks to the child wearing an adults shell. It speaks to our sense of horror at the world and life we're surrounded with. Agreeably, few of us endure the horrors, pain, fear, and despair of Ofelia's life, but by painting Ofelia's demons and nightmares as vividly as she experienced them, our daily struggles are immortalized, honored. We, vicariously through Ofelia, feel that perhaps there's a reason we endure the turmoil of life. Perhaps we too are princes and princesses, destined for greater things. Pan's Labyrinth is a movie for thinking people; a movie for those who feel like there must be more; a movie for anyone who's ever struggled onward, day to day, winning small battles but feeling they're loosing the larger war.

Pan's Labyrinth is not for the faint of heart, nor for those who've slaughtered the child within on the alter of harsh reality. Pan's Labyrinth is for everyone else.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Marvelous movie in which a bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into a creepy but captivating fantasy world and finds a strange Pan

Author: ma-cortes from Santander Spain
8 July 2013

Set in the not so tranquil Spanish woodlands of aftermath Spanish Civil War , where a small band of anti-fascism rebels are hiding out. Ofelia's love of fairy tales is obvious from the beginning of The Pan's labyrinth . When a widow marries an authoritarian Francoist captain Vidal (Sergi Lopez), her daughter goes to a countryside mansion . This is where Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her pregnant mother (Ariadna Gil) have come to live, in the company of the violent , brutal Capitán , Ofelia's new stepfather and soon to be father of her half-brother. The captain and his troops must fight Republican guerrillas of the hills and woods, that Ofelia finds her release and distraction of the new world order and its warring factions and delves into the older, mysterious and enchanting world of fairies , faun's and giant frogs . Ofelia becomes friend of the servant Mercedes (magnificent Maribel Verdu), who is the sister of one of the rebels and actually is giving support to the bunch . Ofelia takes refuge in a labyrinth , she finds in the grounds of his home, and in reveries involving Pan (Doug Jones, it took five hours to get into The Pale Man costume , once he was in it, he had to look out the nose holes to see where he was going) , who set three tasks she must overcome to take place as princess of a magical kingdom and in order to obtain immortality according to the legend . Meantime , resistance fighters plot their strategies in the nearest forest battling fascist troops .

This is a gorgeous , charming , graphic and deadly fairy tale . An exceptional picture for its inventive visuals , imagination and fantasy ; inspired partly by Goya's ¨Black Paintings¨ , including fantastic sequences parallel the reality . Sensational acting by Sergi Lopez as a cruel , unforgiving and totalitarian idealist Capitán Vidal . Versatile Sergi steals the spectacle as the monstrously sadistic officer bringing real menace to what might have been an absurd caricature . Wonderful and imaginative visual effects by DDT and magnificent special effects by Reyes Abades . The faun's legs were not computer-generated , Guillermo del Toro created a special system in which the actor's legs puppeteer the faun's fake ones , the actor's legs were later digitally removed . Impressive production design by Eugenio Caballero and rousing set design by Pilar Revuelta . The ruined town seen during the opening sequence of the film is the old town of Belchite Zaragoza, in Aragón, which was also used by Terry Gilliam for ¨Adventures barón Munchausen¨, the town was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War and never rebuilt. Sensitive as well as imaginative musical score by Javier Navarrete . Colorful and evocative cinematography by Guillermo Navarro , Del Toro's usual .

The motion picture was splendidly directed by Guillermo del Toro who even gave up his entire salary , including back-end points, to see this film become realized . In 2007, this film became one of the few fantasy films ever nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars . The film was hailed by critics and audiences alike, and del Toro decided to give Hollywood another try . Its fantastic assurance confirms Del Toro as one of contemporary cinema's most rewarding purveyors of fantasy such as demonstrated in his first big break ¨Cronos¨, and followed by ¨Hellboy¨, ¨Blade II¨ , ¨Mimic¨ ,¨The devil's backbone¨ and many others .

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

no fantasy movie at all - and a meager plot as well

Author: cpppfeffer-1 from United States
4 December 2007

I can;t believe this movie received that ratings it did. This movie has nothing to do with a fantasy story but all with a horrific and rather shallow story reminiscent of a horror movie. Besides the shock "value" there is absolutely no need to be that graphic in order to get the story across - in fact, less would have been a lot more! But maybe here lies the genius of the movie maker - to shock the dull and pampered audience out of their seats - minds - so that their attention is caught and they kind of feel alive.

But in all this grossness - there could have been true art - but I am afraid - no. It is flat and at best the some of the acting deserves mentioning. In my book this movie is a flop!

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

a Spanish-speaking fantasy movie that will thrill the World

Author: my_dimo from United Kingdom
27 January 2007

I was eagerly awaiting the release of the movie since I first heard of the project, and even more after seeing the trailers. I was not disappointed.

Arriving at the cinema, the cashier told me this movie is subtitled because in Spanish, and asked me if I was put off. I answered that I was expecting it, and this was very important to my eyes. Indeed, Guillermo del Toro did amazingly well to resist any pressure or any temptation to shoot the movie in English, but I really think there was not even a doubt as to what language to use. This adds to the magic and the beauty of the movie.

I am running out of superlatives to describe the movie, and my advice would be to go and see it for yourselves. It's a compelling tale of sadness, hope, innocence, passion, love, hate, power and drama. We are torn between two worlds: on one side the magical world of Ofelia, with its fairies, and on the other the cruel reality that is war. Both are extremely well mixed together and we are continuously drawn from one to the other with virtuoso handling from del Toro.

The actors were all superb. Having seen Sergi Lopez from its french movies I was really blown away by the performance he gives as the Captain. Ivana Baquero is just perfect as Ofelia, and Maribel Verdu gives also a great performance. The supporting roles (particularly the doctor) are also very strong.

I really hope Guillermo del Toro gets the recognition he greatly deserves, and wish this movie to stay on as one of the best of its kind for many decades to come. I can only conclude by advising you to see it and to be prepared for a lifetime experience

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Not for children

Author: gaeanprayer from United States
10 September 2007

Pan's Labrynth deserves a spot as one of the greatest movies of all time, in and outside of its genre.

Many hearing of the movie's plot, its involvement with mythical creatures and a magical world through a child's eyes, might confuse this for a family fairy tale; I think, at times, I might have preferred that.

In actuality, Pan's Labrynth borders on horror. Ivana Baquero plays a young girl named Ophelia who struggles through a life rapidly spiraling out of control, one she as a child cannot influence. A sickly mother, a brutal step-father, and amidst a war in literally her own backyard, one can't help but sympathize with Ophelia's desire to escape. She finds just that opportunity within an entity, the Faun, straight out of the fairytale books she carries about with her. The Faun himself seems frightening, almost demonic, with a snake-like tongue that leaves you unsure of whether his requests of the girl are truly in her best interest.

Ophelia, desperate to escape into a world so like the fairy tales she's read, sets off through dangerous territories as the Faun's request. Yet, as dangerous as her quests are, her return home becomes a gradual descent into the brutal darkness of her own human people, leaving one to question just who is the real monster in the movie.

In the end, it all seems very bitter; it starts to seem that no one really cared about Ophelia to begin with. I found myself so wrapped into the movie that I felt my own heart-breaking despair. I kept hoping it would suddenly get better, that someone would rescue Ophelia and protect her from the darkness encroaching from every corner.

It's hard to say whether Pan's Labrynth truly had a happy ending. Losing the people who meant most to her, one was left behind, one last person who cared, and it seems no one in this story leaves without their wounds. The entire movie, from beginning to end, tugs at the darkest despair and deepest sadness you could only hope to avoid, with every happy moment tinged with poignancy.

I think, all in all, this is a very adult movie that a family can enjoy with some serious parental guidance; the horrors within are as fascinating as the wonders to come. The top-notch acting will draw you in and hold you despite any language barrier (cleverly overcome with subtitles) and when it's finally over, it's hard not to feel the shame, anger, and triumph, as if the trials were yours alone.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Pan's Labyrinth: The Fairy Tale of the Decade

Author: Marty McFly from United States
4 February 2007

Yes, this movie is a fairy tale. Yes, it deals with fairies, fauns, and ogres, with magic spell books and princesses. No, this movie is not at all for children nor those who dislike major violence.

Labyrinth takes place in Spain in 1944s, during a time of Spanish civil war. A ruthless Captain (Sergi López), has set up camp in a distant forest, and requests that his pregnant step-wife (Ariadna Gil) and her fantasy-obsessed daughter, Ofelia (brilliantly played by Ivana Baquero) join him there. As she tries to adjust to the country life smack dab in the middle of the battlefield, Ofelia runs into a magical fairy who leads her to a mystical labyrinth, where she meets a mysterious and suspicious faun, Pan (wonderfully played by Doug Jones), who tells her that she is the long-lost princess of an underground kingdom, and that she must complete three dangerous tasks to return to her throne.

While the movie closely follows Ofelia's tasks, spoken to her by a magic book from Pan, it is mostly about the war, double agents (Maribel Verdú and Álex Angulo), and the Captain's near-obsession with his expected son. The battles are extremely brutal (starting early with a couple of rabbit hunters) and made me queazy a couple of times. So brutal are these deaths, in fact, that you'll be relieved to see a simple shot to the head or back.

The acting is top-notch, and young Ivana Baquero has a huge and brilliant future ahead of her (picture Dakota Fanning, only a better actress and less annoying). The animation is phenomenal, but not nearly as breathtaking as the costumes or scenery. The labyrinth itself just sucks all the breath out of you when you see it at night for the first time. The "pale man" (also played by Doug Jones), is by far the most terrifying creature in the movie, most-likely to give even the most mature and grown-up adults shivers.

Yes, this movie does have sub-titles (it's in Spanish), but it's hardly noticeable at first, so much so that you forget about them by the tragic end of the movie.

This movie is frightening and sad to the extreme, but it also gives you a sense of hope that magic does, in fact, exist. One of the best movies I've seen in a long time and truly the fairy tale of the decade!

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Extremely Violent and Depressing

Author: Brent Trafton from Long Beach, CA
12 January 2007

There is no debating that "Pan's Labrynth" is a well made movie, but it is so relentlessly violent, sadistic, and depressing; that I could not enjoy it.

Judging by the popularity of this film on this website and the professional reviews, apparently the amount of sadistic violence does not bother most people. I have certainly been able to sit though my share, but this film was so repulsive that I cannot say I had a good time watching it.

I go to the movies to be entertained, not repulsed. "Pan's Labrynth" certainly has many attributes, but don't say I didn't warn you. If you like films like "Saw" and "Hostel," the violence will not bother you. If you are squeamish, you should stay away.

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7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A masterpiece

Author: carb-5 from Spain
8 April 2007

This movie is a Mexican-Spanish co-production and in my opinion a Guillermo Del Toro 's masterpiece. If we defined a masterpiece as a content or form who finds an adequate expression in an art form then this movie is one . There are so many things to talk about but let's start with the photography that have an outstanding quality , it's almost like paintings . The screenplay unite 2 separate worlds , the world of fantasy and the post war era in Spain in a very wise way. Being Spanish myself I recognize many of the things the screenplay talks about . The actors and actresses do a once in a lifetime performances , for me this movie is a casting miracle . Ivana Baquero, Maribel Verdú ( in a performance full of dignity and courage), Sergi Lopez ( his fascist is a terrible character but he gives him humanity ).The music score by Javier Navarrete is full of subtle details and good orchestration .And the movie never takes the easy way , it's full of logic and good storytelling . A truly great movie that one cannot miss, be in cinemas or DVD.

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