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Pan’s Labyrinth: a much darker dream quest than Labyrinth or MirrorMask

Pan’s Labyrinth: a much darker dream quest than Labyrinth or MirrorMask published on 3 Comments on Pan’s Labyrinth: a much darker dream quest than Labyrinth or MirrorMask

While looking at upcoming movies on IMDB, I came upon El Laberinto del Fauno, or, as it will be hereinafter referred to because I know no Spanish, Pan’s Labyrinth.

Set in northern rural Spain in 1944 during the country’s civil war, the film focuses on the young heroine Ofelia. While her new, sadistic stepfather tries to eradicate the guerilla fighters from the villages nearby, Ofelia escapes from the ugliness of the real world. She discovers an overgrown stone labyrinth by her new house. Its master, the great god of the wilds Pan, tells Ofelia that she is a princess in the labyrinth’s magical realm; to return to her rightful home, she must perform three difficult tasks. Ofelia does so, but the eldritch horrors of the labyrinth land increase — including a freaky pupa-like Pale Man whose eyes are in the center of his palms — as the fantasy world provides a rich metaphorical counterpoint to the strife of civil war and other internal conflicts.

I’m curious and excited about this film. First of all, the basic plot — young girl in dreamland — forms the backbone of my favoritest movies. Unlike Labyrinth and MirrorMask, though, Pan’s Labyrinth addresses the world outside the protagonist’s head and family. It demonstrates how national conflicts can reverberate on a familial scale and a personal scale. I’m thinking Labyrinth gone political!

Second of all, guess who’s behind this film? Guillermo del Toro! Best known to American audiences for Hellboy and Blade II, del Toro, from what I’ve seen, combines a joyful comic book stylization with an almost sensual interest in the squishy sensitivity of human parts. If his earlier work is any indication, Pan’s Labyrinth should feature innocence running up against some fascinatingly dank ickiness with nightmarish edges. 

Third of all, early buzz on the film praises the acting and the special effects. After suffering Jennifer Connelly’s stupefyingly underwhelming performance in Labyrinth and the beer-bottle-brown effects of MirrorMask, I’m eager to see if one of my girl-in-dreamland films can achieve solid acting and solid effects. I can’t tell anything about the acting from the clips I’ve seen, but the film certainly looks interesting. Del Toro plays with color and shadow, bringing out rich hues in the countryside [as opposed to Labyrinth, which is a severely brown movie all around]. The CGI appears to be a supplement to the human performances, integrated rather well [as opposed to MirrorMask, where the people were just a distraction for the nifty images]. Of course, I can’t really tell anything about the movie at this point, except that I will definitely be seeing it.

I’ll leave you with a few links. Here’s the official English site. Here’s a site where you can find a trailer and some clips.

See below for Pan (Doug Jones) confronting Ofelia (Ivana Baquero).



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