Truly one of my favorite movies of all time. It is both, stunning an frightening.
Guillermo Del Toro tells the story of fascist Spain in the 1940's throuhg the eyes of a little girl consumed by a fantasy of going to a kingdom filled with magical creatures for she was once the princess of that kingdom in a time long ago. She (Ofeila) is determined to reach this kingdom and escape from reality. But there are many variables to this quest, she must complete the tasks from the Fauno, a messenger from the king giving Ofeila tasks to complete. While she must complete the tasks, her mother, Carmen, is dying of sickness while she is pregnant. And Ofeila's new father, Vidal, the captain of a Spanish unit is trying to keep a Spanish rebellion out of his HQ. During the movie he is susp*cious of his so called "soldiers" and "servants" for they may be spies of the rebellion. Ofeila hates her new dad, he is a mean and sadistic officer and she finds him scary. She hates her new home and almost everyone in it, the only things that keep her their is her mother, soon to be brother. She basically hates her life. All she wants to do is escape to her kingdom. The story is very unique for they is more too it than you think. The variables in Ofeila's life causes her to be impatientcy and rebellious. She evolves through the film and becomes a new girl. Her desperation to reach her kingdom takes the best of her and people think of her to be some-what crazy and obsessed with fantasy.
Ivana Baquero (the girl that plays Ofeila) did a better job than I thought. She was only 12 when she starred in this film and well, usually children actors/actresses aren't too good. She is the star and one of the best children actresses I have ever seen. All those Diseny movie actors like Zac Efron are sh*t when compared to Ivana, a real actor. Sergi Lopez plays Vidal, and does a award winning job. He shows no emotion and shows how much of a strict person he is. When you break the rules, he kills you. He doesn't really scary Captain that expects high of everyone under his command and a very susp*cious and smart person. Maribel Verdu plays Mercedes, a servant working for the soldiers, Ofeila, and Carmen. She does a good job. She cares deepily for Ofeila and Carmen and hates all the soldiers. Doug Jones plays Fauno and the Pale man. When he plays the Fauno, (which is a magical creature) he plays a tremendous job, he shows emotion and praises Ofeila for she in the kingdom is his boss. But since there in the human world, she must obey the orders from him for they are from the king or her past father. When he plays The Pale Man he does a good job although the Pale Man doesn't talk. It is a magical man-eating creature with eyes on it's hands. In it's only scene, it chases Ofeila trying to consume her. The Film also stars Ariadna Gil who plays Carmen, Ofeila's mother and wife to Vidal. She tries to convince Ofeila throughout the film that faries and other fantasy creatures aren't real. She puts her heart in the role and at times I was really convinced that she was her actual mother trying to get the message to Ofeila.
Guillermo del Toro did the directing. . .what can I say about him other than he's one of the great fantasy movie makers ever. He brought us "Hellboy," "Hellboy II," and "Blade II." All, very fantisized movies. He did a great job in the movie showing Ofeila's transformation throughout the movie without making it seem obvious. He also wrote the movie. All by himself. All of the story, characters, and script. Amazing.
The visuals were amazing. It didn't even seem like there were any CGI at all. No green screen, screen blood, nothing. It all looked pretty real. The costume designer, Lala Huete, has won 6 awards in costume design, 3 of which were for this film. David Marti and Montse Ribe did the make-up for this film and they won an Academy Award for it. They also helped in the special effects (they use those in this movie?!) and won an award for it. This movie has definetley had some success in the past 2 years and they were all earned.
The movie has definitely earned it's rights to be in the IMDB's top 250 movies of all time list. It has the story, acting, directing, and visuals. All, elements that when perfectly made, the result is an all-time favorite. "Pan's Labyrinth" has touched my feelings with it's great acting and shocking ending. And shall it your's if you see it. And if you have seen it, then you know what I'm talking about.