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Foreign Films > Pan's Labyrinth

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message 1: by Ed (new)

Ed | 218 comments Mod
I've just finished watching this film and am halfway through listening to the excellent audio commentary by the director, writer, del toro. This film is one of the best movies I've seen in many years...the mix of fantasy and real horror of the Spanish Civil War seen through the eyes of young girl is absolutely moving. I highly recommend this movie...del toro has clearly created "magic". He believes that fantasy/the other world and the real world we see can all be possible if we just believe. Tremendous, tremendous movie!


message 2: by Arctic (new)

Arctic can't resist a good movie discussion group - great idea!

I thought Pan's Labyrinth was very good, but it was also a lot different than I expected. Had no idea what it was about going in and it ended up being much darker in tone than I anticipated. That scene with the guy with eyes in his palms completely freaked me out and it still scares me just thinking about it - I've never really been one for scary movies though. The fantastical elements were similar in many ways to Mirror Mask.

I did really like how they tied the war and the fantasy together though, and visually I thought the film was stunning.


message 3: by Ed (new)

Ed | 218 comments Mod
I'll have to see his earlier work, the Devil's Backbone. It takes place 5 years earlier during the Spanish Civil War as well. The writer/director described seeing the scene of the pale man with Stephen King and watching King squirm during that scene was one of the highlights of his professional life. So I guess it was horrific enough to scare even Stephen King. :)


message 4: by Emerson (new)

Emerson | 3 comments This movie was absolutely mind-blowing in its excellence. Since watching it, I have become obsessed with the idea that del Toro should do a movie adaptation of the book "Perdido Street Station" by China Mieville, which (similarly) is very dark, original fantasy.

I'll probably blow $7 on his new movie, "The Orphanage," which looks pretty eerie, if not on the same level as "Pan's Labyrinth."


message 5: by Ed (new)

Ed | 218 comments Mod
I think he's producing the Orphanage. I need to rewatch his chronos and mimic. I think he did those. He truly is mindboggling.


message 6: by Beth (new)

Beth I loved Pan's Labyrinth too! It was so imaginative. Del Toro did Hellboy as well, which was great. That movie had such a great look to it, from Hellboy himself to the evil robots, and Abe Sapien.


message 7: by Ed (new)

Ed | 218 comments Mod
I need to see Hellboy. I used to read the comics. I really liked Mignola's style and stories.


message 8: by Charissa (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) I watched this film until it got to the scenes where the child is witnessing horrific things... and then turned it off. I just am not willing to subject my psyche to more images of children being brutalized in such ways. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, the play was very good.


message 9: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra I really liked this movie as well, although it was a bit too brutal for my taste and it's certainly a bit disturbing, and certainly not cheery. Also wasn't what I expected. But I enjoyed the imagination of it, how it was different.


message 10: by ScottK (new)

ScottK Simply breathtaking cinematography in this film. I loved it. Yeah it was dark and kinda creepy in a weird sort of way but....that added to the attraction I feel.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

I loved this movie. I was a little creeped out at times, but was blown away by how wonderful the cinematography was.


message 12: by Debra (new)

Debra Blasi (debra_di_blasi) The Devil's Backbone is also good, though not as lush. As for the brutality? War breeds brutality. Guillermo del Toro is quite brilliant blending the horror of war with the horror genre. Think about it: The surreality of both, the incredulity one must feel as a participant. Each is a fine metaphor for the other. del Toro's films remind me a lot of the good Spanish films of the 1980s.


message 13: by Ed (new)

Ed | 218 comments Mod
The violence in Pan as the movie went on was more and more off screen. I urge everyone to listen to the director's commentary...one of the best I've ever heard.


message 14: by HELINA (new)

HELINA | 2 comments SO I saw this movie with my mom because I really wanted to see it she told me it was Rated R so we would watch it together. SO we did th etouture scene was awful by the guy would shot Olfia at the end was a great actor and th eactress who played Mercades was great too!!!!!!!!!!! SO I loved th eannimations of the Faun it was great I reomend this to lots of people over th eage of 13! if you are not over the age of 13 it may be a little disturbing so watch it with a parent !!!!!!!!!!!!


message 15: by Cody (new)

Cody Wilshire (codywilshire) | 7 comments Del Toro is amazing, and the entire film is poetic and haunting, especially the musical score. I just recently saw The Orphanage, his new movie, and gah, I am in love with that as well.


message 16: by Den.n38 (new)

Den.n38 | 4 comments this movie is one of my favourites cause of the mix of fiction and horror. Also this movie fits for all age so why don't u all watch it again and again if you have time.This movie makes my brain relaxed.


message 17: by Paul (new)

Paul Duncan (jpaulduncan) | 68 comments Utterly depressing.


message 18: by Nereyda (new)

Nereyda | 4 comments Definetely one of the best movies i saw last year, i strongly recommend it. I watched it with my 9 year old son and he enjoyed it a lot. It was also very interesting to see how for him (a little boy) this movie had a happy ending and was all about hope and fairness.

I wish there were more movies like these nowadays.





message 19: by Ed (new)

Ed | 218 comments Mod
It would really be great if there were more movies that blended in fantasy with reality...if you believe..... maybe both worlds are all one and the same. :)


message 20: by lilias (new)

lilias Very good movie. I was impressed by how many of the right choices were made in the making of this movie:

They did a good job of allowing Ofelia's fantasies to reflect the confusion and brutality of the world she was living in. Some of those horrific images were typical of a girl faced with such extremes at such a young age. Her growth as an individual was beautifully displayed in the progression of these fantasies. As time goes on she tries desperately to save those that she loves rather than herself.
And even though the movie was very dark, the gore was subtley hidden when it could be- the torture was explained through the slow and tense display of the tools and the Captain's smashing of the hunter's face was done in the dark. Some blood needed to be shown to show just how terrifying Spain, as well as much of Europe, was at this time.
And, finally, I was impressed with the Captain's character. I think that many Hollywood movies would have made him into a coward, and although he was many bad things he was most certainly not a coward.
Overall, I was impressed with how well the desperation and tension of living in this place and time came through in this movie.
So I liked it & yeah I was impressed.
It's too bad so many people thought that it was a kids movie when they went to see it.

I recently saw The Orphanage, which Del Toro produced. I recommend it to anyone that liked Pan's Labyrinth thought it was not quite as good.


message 21: by Cliff (new)

Cliff | 46 comments I too enjoyed Pan's Labyrinth. Del Toro pays very close attention to detail. I thought it was a great moive.


message 22: by Cliff (new)

Cliff | 46 comments The Devil's Backbone I thought was very good. However it has a bit of a ghost story slant to it than Pan.


message 23: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (dwell_ondreams) I thought it was fascinating. It was the first foreign film I've ever willingly seen & I was very impressed.


message 24: by Kate (new)

Kate (kay8jay) | 23 comments Agreed with most everything said here -- especially the fact that the film was a lot darker than I had anticipated. To be honest, I think the fact that the word, "Labyrinth" was in the title swayed me towards the point of view that maybe it was more in the tradition of the movie the '80's with Jennifer Connelly!

What I liked the most about the movie and movies like this is that - at least to my mind - one can speculate about whether or not the fantasy world was "real." The fact that the young girl either summoned or imagined a kind of horror fantasy world into which she could "escape" was very telling to me about the reality of her day-to-day life.


message 25: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa I think I would have been more blown away by "Pan's Labyrinth" if I had not seen "The Devil's Backbone" first. I just loved "The Devil's Backbone" and so looked forward to "Pan", but found myself less engrossed in the story of the girl, less concerned for her peril. It was just that the boys in the orphanage were so very alone, with not even a sick mother to protect them from the thing that lurked in the halls and basement, or the man who brutalized them. It just felt so very real, whereas the strong fantasy element in "Pan" added a layer of distance between me and the main character's plight. There were some outstanding, authentic performances from those boys too. I don't mean to sound like I'm putting "Pan's Labyrinth" down, but for me "The Devil's Backbone" was a superior film viewing experience.


message 26: by Serena (new)

Serena | 44 comments We thought this movie was wonderful! Love it when they show children as equals if not superiors to the adults around them (from what I've seen that's often the way it really is).

I see what you are saying about the similarity with Mirror Mask, but thought this was a far superior film. The interweaving of history, fiction and fantasy worked so well.

Also, I think it is such a treat to see a film that's not completely riddled with cgi.


message 27: by Ceci (last edited Jun 10, 2008 05:36AM) (new)

Ceci (cecialbiceleste) | 529 comments I love, love, love this movie. It's beautiful, scary, horrible, clever, exciting and spellbinding. Really love it. I also truly enjoyed The Orphanage which del Toro produced (mentioned earlier on in this thread). Wonderfully dark, imaginative, amazing movies. I saw both the movies at the cinema and the big screen really makes them come alive...


message 28: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5233 comments I didn't like PAN'S LABYRINTH at all, except when the magnificent Maribel Verdu and Sergi Lopez were onscreen. That little girl annoyed the hell out of me. A real shame. Such an unimaginative little movie.


message 29: by Ceci (new)

Ceci (cecialbiceleste) | 529 comments Really? Unimaginative? How so?


message 30: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5233 comments I felt like it had all been done before, all the crap about the little girl's fantasy life and the fawn and the little tests she has to keep passing, I was bored senseless by her little travails. That creature with his eyes in the palms of his hands, I mean really. And the tired little message about the little girl's sufferings in this life leading to bliss in the next seemed very orthodox religious to me.

And there were too many holes in the plot. For Maribel Verdu to have not been more careful in finishing off Sergi Lopez is just an unforgivable lapse in logic. She'd have made DAMN SURE he was dead before she ran off.




message 31: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) Tom, what hasn't been done before in a movie? I must've missed all the movies about little girls, tests, and fawns. Where have I been?

Sorry you were offended by something that seemed orthodox religious. There's far more in this world that offends me than some hope of paradise after death.




message 32: by Sherry (new)

Sherry Well said Tressa,I was thinking the same thing myself!I personally thought the movie was very good and freely admit to crying at the end.


message 33: by Bill (last edited Jun 14, 2008 04:54AM) (new)

Bill | 6 comments Tom's pulling our legs, people. Surely. He can't mean what he wrote.

Pan's Labyrinth totally captivated me. From start to finish. I've been watching movies for well over 40 years. I have some 500 DVDs in my collection. And I've recently started to "tear apart" movies to see how they're constructed so that I can write some of my own.

In all that time, I have never seen a movie like Pan's Labyrinth. Not once. It's not even vaguely like another movie I've seen. In fact, it has more in common with a children's *book* than it does another movie.

No critic who had reviewed Pan's Labryinth felt it had been done before, either. Its rating -- a whopping 96% fresh -- on Rotten Tomatoes is remarkable, easily one of the highest ratings I've ever seen. And deservedly so.

The movie is extraordinary. *Highly* imaginative, and virtually plot-hole free.

Usually, when I encounter someone with such a dramatically negative opinion of a movie it has more to do with the person's *internal dialog* than anything observable on the screen. I saw nothing that even hinted at orthodox religion in the movie. Just the opposite, in fact. So for someone to conclude it was religiously allegorical means he needed to read into it what didn't, to me, appear to be there.

Bitterness makes for a terrible screen on which to view a movie. It can turn colorless even the most beautiful palette, reducing everything to an uncompromising black and white.




message 34: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5233 comments No, I'm not pulling anyone's leg. I thought it was a really useless film. An easy piece of easy enlightenment, complete with totally bogus happy ending. Glad everybody liked it, it isn't the first time I've been in the minority on something.

There was another film about a little girl's escape into fantasy that was released earlier in the same year as PAN'S LABYRINTH. Entitled TIDELAND, it couldn't hope to attract the audience that PL did, as it doesn't offer the easy happy ending and total bogus enlightenment that PL does.

Does not liking PAN'S LABYRINTH make me a bitter person? I didn't like the movie. So what. I didn't make any personal attacks on those who did. I could say that Easy Optimism is an equally terrible screen on which to view a movie, adding depth where none really exists, excusing holes in the narrative that really shouldn't be excused.

Opinions will differ.





message 35: by Kelsey (new)

Kelsey (kelseyb) Pan's Labyrinth was an amazing movie! I never thought I would like it but I loved it! The Orphanage was really good as well.


message 36: by Kelsey (new)

Kelsey (kelseyb) Pan's Labyrinth was an amazing movie! I never thought I would like it but I loved it! The Orphanage was really good as well.


message 37: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5233 comments I don't think I insinuated that PAN'S LABYRINTH was a mass audience magnet. It did do very well for a foreign film, though, picking up a bunch of singularly undeserved awards, and it was wildly praised by almost every critic alive.

Cool. You didn't like TIDELAND. I did. I much preferred it to PAN'S LABYRINTH, which felt like a knockoff of Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam, but without any of the things that makes those directors' work special.

Opinions. They differ from person to person.




message 38: by JHHK (new)

JHHK JHHK | 16 comments I'm looking forward to seeing what Del Toro's going to do with the Hobbit. I just read the book again to see how I would write the screenplay If I had the job. I wondr if he's going to cut out all the kiddie elements to make it work with the LOTR movies...


message 39: by David (new)

David (sfdavide) | 33 comments I liked Pans Labrynth until the ending. I really do not like happy endings tacked on. This had to be done for the American audience. That is one of the reasons I do not watch most Hollywood films of today but mostly classics and froeign fims. Foreign films do not end happily which makes them more "real" for me. Life does always end happily


message 40: by Ceci (new)

Ceci (cecialbiceleste) | 529 comments I loved Pan's Labyrinth... and really, I'm not all that sure that the happy ending actually happened. I need to see it again. After all, it may be just the little girl escaping into her imaginary world one last time. I truly enjoyed this film but I must see it again, soon. And the monster with the eyes in his hands was the most terrifying thing I have ever seen... and I've seen plenty of horror. It haunted me to my nightmares even. I have never seen anything as scary on the screen, not ever. And I can't forget him eating the faerie either...

I think Pan's Labyrinth is a very wonderful, exceptional, highly imaginative and complex film. Again, I must see it again.


message 41: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) I don't think happy endings are tacked on for American audiences. It wasn't even an American movie. How ridiculous. Maybe that was the original ending for ALL audiences and it is what it is.

And just how happy is the ending? I thought there was speculation that she didn't wind up a princess back in her parents' arms, but just imagined that as she was dying and soon to be worm food. Would that make all the nihilists out there happy?



message 42: by Sherry (new)

Sherry I thought the same thing in regards to the ending.It wasn't my perception that she lived but had that last momentary escape into her fantasy world.


message 43: by David (last edited Jun 17, 2008 10:18AM) (new)

David (sfdavide) | 33 comments First of all lets not get personal, it is only a film. Second of all it is not ridiculous because producers know that a film really does not make much money if it does not hit big in the US. Very few movies without a happy ending make much money here. This is the first time that I have seen someone call someon's idaes ridicilous because thet disagreed. Also Nihilism is defined in the dictionary as;
An extreme form of skepticism that denies all existence.
A doctrine holding that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated.
Rejection of all distinctions in moral or religious value and a willingness to repudiate all previous theories of morality or religious belief.
The belief that destruction of existing political or social institutions is necessary for future improvement.
also Nihilism A diffuse, revolutionary movement of mid 19th-century Russia that scorned authority and tradition and believed in reason, materialism, and radical change in society and government through terrorism and assassination.
Psychiatry A delusion, experienced in some mental disorders, that the world or one's mind, body, or self does not exist. -FROM DICTIONARY.COM

I do not think we believe that all values are baseless or that we have a delusion just because we believe this about happy endings



message 44: by Sherry (new)

Sherry I have to disagree with the assertion that for a movie to do well in America it has to have a happy ending "tacked " on.Sitting here I could think of several movies that not only did very well but were also nominated (and won)academy awards.No Country For Old Men,Away From Her(a canadian film)The Departed,Letters from Iwo Jima, there's been Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan and really the list could go on of movies that did well without a happy ending.
It was my recollection that this movie in fact did not in reality have a happy ending which made it all the more poignant for me as she slipped into that final fantasy.I must say that all this debate has made me want to watch it again.

I myself had no intention of being insulting and apologize if I've caused offense.But I think that if one is going to write a rather unkind post about a much loved movie there should be a little thick skin on their part.


message 45: by Manuel (last edited Jun 17, 2008 12:40PM) (new)

Manuel | 469 comments I went to see this movie with my parents. They walked out of the theatre hating this movie. They expected a happy ending.

I, on the other hand was really impressed with the imagery and the brutal portrayal of Franco's Spain. It made the girl's escape fantasies so much more appealing and enriching. I loved how the director showed both sides of the coin in respect to Ofelia's enviroment.

I realize this movie is not for everyone. I wouldnt have taken my parents if I knew how dark the theme was going to be, but it was a very special and unique movie in most respects. I especially admire the way it DIDNT have a happy ending.

I was trying to imagine what the reaction to this movie would have been if viewed by a 1940's audience from the same era as the movie.

Im sure it would have been banned not just in Spain but most of the world. Too much realism in the fighting and not enough sugar in the fantasies.







message 46: by Sherry (new)

Sherry What an interesting question and observation Manuel.


message 47: by David (last edited Jun 17, 2008 11:57PM) (new)

David (sfdavide) | 33 comments This is the last comment I am going to make on the subject. You were talking about me and I am talking about a MOVIE. I have a thick skin if you talk about a favorite movie of mine but not when you insult or anyone else on here personally. I never insulted you just said that I did not like the film's ending and the sad part is I liked it. I give it 3 1/2 stars out of 4 but just did not like the ending and as for the list of films without a happy ending that have done well while there are some it is a very small minority of films on the top moneymakers list.


message 48: by Ceci (last edited Jun 18, 2008 04:22AM) (new)

Ceci (cecialbiceleste) | 529 comments sfdavide, what's this collective "you"? I loved the film but I don't think I got in any way personal with you, or insulted you. I was at no point talking about you. Maybe someone was, but then you should call (address) him / her by his / her name. Honestly! No reason to talk this way, sfdavide.

I don't think that a movie needs to have a happy ending to do well in the U.S. ... but I am not American after all. However -- just how happy were the endings in POTC 2 and 3? and they did really well, both of them!!

Anyhow, I think Pan's Labyrinth is a very complex, wonderful movie... and I don't think the ending was happy at all.


message 49: by Sandi (new)

Sandi | 15 comments I have not yet seen the movie, however, just because of the discussion of this thread, it will be on my 'must see' list this weekend.
Folks..let me tell all of you..I so enjoy ALL of your bright, insightful comments on movies seen and/or sugestions of films to see..Let us remember that movies, like any other art is subjective and is greatly influenced by what the viewer brings to the film We all have the right to agree or disagree with one another.
I hope that those who have taken offense about things said and the others who are defending particular points of view..take a big deep breath..step back and please, please go back to your wonderful discussions of seen/not seen/must see!
This is a group of highly intelligent people with great insights who really just need to remember...we're all friends/strangers..and each one of you bring somethng special to this group.
I can't wait to read what's 'inside' when you pop up in my inbox. Keep up the great work! I now have more movies to see than I ever thought I would!
Thank you!




message 50: by George (last edited Jun 18, 2008 09:13AM) (new)

George | 951 comments Well, I suppose it depends on what the definition of happy is. Not to mention how one chooses to interpret the fantasy side of the movie. Are those actions to be considered real? I suppose if they are, one might consider the girl's death and subsequent final absorbtion into her fantasy world as happy, but for me, that's more than a stretch, it's incomprehensible.

For me, the girl was forced to retreat into her fantasy world because she could not accept the reality of her actual existence, with all its attendant horror and brutality. The monsters of her real world were far more horrific and dangerous than those of her imaginary world, where she at least had some ability to hold her own and even triumph. In her real circumstances, she had no ability to escape from the real monsters against whom she was totally defenseless, except to retreat into fantasy within herself. She was completely at the mercy of the real world, resented and unwanted and valueless except as an extension of the officer's ego, but in her fantasy world, she was its center. In the end, of course, she didn't escape, she was destroyed by the all too real monsters in a senseless and indefensible act of horror, an innocent consumed. To regard that tragedy as somehow a happy ending is to retreat with Ophelia into her fantasy world in rejection of reality.


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