Monday, February 19, 2007

Movie Review - Pan's Labyrinth

Hey look! Another fantasy movie about a young girl with a sick mother who must go into a fantasy world to make things right in the real world! Where have I seen that before? Oh, yeah, Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean’s Mirrormask. At the time I thought it was just a “pretty good” movie, but after watching Pan’s Labirnyth I have come to the conclusion that it was a very good movie indeed.

It’s not that Pan’s Labyrinth was a bad movie, not by any means. It just lacks the delicate intricacies that makes Mirrormask so wonderful.

For one thing, much of the tension in the viewer is built by two “cheap” ways. One, we are shown characters doing gruesome things to others or to their selves. Director Guillermo Del Toro really did his best to make his audience wince. Repeatedly!

Secondly, our heroes make deeply stupid, pointless mistakes. This really annoyed me when I was watching the movie. How could I feel bad for our hero when she did something that she was specifically warned not to do, and, while she was doing it, there was a horrible monster in the room that was clearly going to wake up by her action?

The movie is saved by the truly touching end, but even then I feel the audience was cheated. Although this point is debatable, I believe that the very last few scenes really made it obvious to the audience that there was no fantasy world. In a movie of this type, ambiguity is a better choice.

Anna's rating: C+ (Wait for the DVD, or rent Mirrormask instead)

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At 9:38 AM CST, Anonymous Aaron said...

I'll have to agree, the scene where she couldn't resist the juicy grapes, AFTER she had been warned, AFTER she had picked up a couple of eyeballs on a plate, AFTER she had witnessed with her own eyes the truly disturbing visage of Spooky McCorpse; that was ridiculous.

I was tricked by the previews into thinking this movie would be a kind of fun fantasy thing, not expecting the horrifying gorefest that ensued. Despite what I was expecting, and despite the deeply stupid pointless mistake, I still enjoyed the movie. Del Toro did a good job of making a dark fantasy with really hateable villain. I thought the justice at the end was a lot more satisfying than I had seen in other movies.

As for mirrormask...I might have to check that out. You think they might have it around here?

At 12:21 PM CST, Blogger Anna said...

I bet you could find Mirrormask in St. Louis.

At 10:30 PM CST, Blogger D. G. D. Davidson said...

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. Yeah, the mistake with the grapes was pretty dumb...but the movie is a meditation on the concept of fairy tale, and aren't fairy tale heroes always doing dumb things like that?

I'll also debate your interpretation of the ending. Though I grant you may be right, it seemed to me there was a fantasy world; besides, how did she get through locked doors if not with her magic chalk?

This redeemed Del Toro in my eyes after what he did to Hellboy.

At 12:02 AM CST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should remember she wasn't allowed to eat dinner that night... she was very hungry


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