Laberinto del Fauno (aka Pan's Labyrinth)

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Films and Television' started by malkieD2, Dec 17, 2006.

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  1. Twinky_Stryder Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Nov 16, 2003
    star 4
    I saw this film a while back and loved it.

    Yes the violence is eccessive, but not without reason. Ofelia lives in a brutal time and is surrounded by brutal people and this is shown in some of the films events.

    And then of course there are the beautifully designed fantasy moments. Pan looks amazing and Doug Jones gets extreme Kudos for acting in that suit and for learning and delivering his Spanish lines so well.

    And I'm personally in the camp of people that believe that everything that happens to Ofelia is really happening. OK, some people think that it's just in her head and the fantasy elements are Ofelia's way to escape her life. I think that when she dies at the end she really does go back home to her kingdom.

    Oh and this may have been me, but when Ofelia goes to her kingdom at the end is her mother/queen holding a baby? I was just wondering because I thought she was and I was like "That means she got to keep her promise to her brother that she would make him a prince"



    In short the film is beautiful, horrific, enchanting and disturbing. In no way is it for kids but is something that shoudl be seen.

    I gotta see it again.
  2. malkieD2 Ex-Manager and RSA

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    star 7
    ok, so I've finally seen this movie.....um, but don't ask how.

    I missed it in the cinema as it was released in the UK last November, but I don't really think there was anything that would have really benefitted from seeing it on the big screen.

    The movie sets were modest, but completely believable and engrossing. The current trend seems to be in green-screen movies (a la Lucas), but this movie goes back to basics, and in my opinion gives much more convincing backdrops for each scene.
    Similarly the central character is just a man in a suit and make-up but he's perfectly spot-on and completely believable. The only CGI was with the sprites, and it fitted in perfectly.

    Outstanding performances from Ivana Baquero (Ofelia; who at times reminded me of Portman in Leon), and from Doug Jones (Pan; especially for learning the Spanish). Extremely well put together and enjoyable from start to finish.

    However, I do question who the target audience were......obviously not a Narnia kiddie flick, probably not a movie for hardcore fantasy fans, and certainly not a movie to take a date to see.

    Like many "foreign language" movies the plot and themes are simple (they don't tend to complicate things with mini-subplots, or unnecessary characters). For me the central theme is about selflessness, and the act of risking your own life to protect or help someone you don't know. This works on several levels in the movie - the obvious backdrop of war, where the few sacrifice themselves for the many; Mercedes and Dr. Ferreiro helping the guerillas; and finally Ofelia spilling her own blood rather than that of her unknowning brother.

    The movie gets the point across well, that even a child is very capable of understanding sacrifice and selflessness. However for me, the fantasy element was entirely in her head, and formed no part of reality. For me the movie works better if the fantasy isn't real, and what we have is a child engrossed in her own make-believe world.

    Overall an excellent movie, and it's just a pity that more movies like this aren't made.

    edit

    just to clarify a point - at the end of the movie she visits the palace and is reunited with parents, but that's all in her head. The final shot of her sees her actually die, but with with a smile on her face. Had the director wanted you to believe the fantasy element was real he would have shown her die then have the shot of her in the palace.

  3. OBI-BEN-KENOBI Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2004
    star 6
    I was so disappointed by this film. I expected a lot more out of it than there was. 97% leaves me with a certain expectation that this movie did not approach.
  4. darth_paul Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 5
    I'll post more thoughts on the film later, but for the time being I want to chime in that I think it's pretty clear that the ending is supposed to be completely ambiguous.

    The final shot of the movie is the bud opening on the tree, which suggests that the old, dead tree has been healed, and that Ofelia really did save it. This scene cannot be taking place in Ofelia's head, for she is already dead by the time it occurs. It has to be either taking place at the level of reality, or at the level of some external fairy tale context that supercedes the portrayal of reality.

    What with placing the shot of her death after the scene of her reunion with her father, it's pretty impossible to draw a definitive conclusion. Which is exactly how the movie is designed. We can all give our interpretations, but I think any attempt to say that the movie comes to one conclusion or the other are misguided; we're not supposed to be able to say conclusively.


    -Paul
  5. malkieD2 Ex-Manager and RSA

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    star 7
    I think the movie has been out long enough now to save us from having to black-out the spoilers.

    I totally agree with you that the movie leaves the viewer to draw their own conclusion, but many sci-fi/fantasy movies do (Total Recall anyone?).

    If the director had forced his conclusion on us there would be no room for debate/discussion and probably left us disappointed.

    You can argue of course that the budding on the fig tree was a complete coincidence, as the movie has other examples of things which might be due to the fantasy element, or could simply be coincidence. (eg the mother feels better when the root is under her bed, then gets sick and ultimately dies when the root is removed - could be 'real', or could be coincidence).
  6. Boba_Fett_2001 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2000
    star 8
    Overall an excellent movie, and it's just a pity that more movies like this aren't made.

    There actually was a movie, released this year, that was somewhat similar to it: Lady In The Water. I have a feeling that Pan's Labyrinth was the kind of movie Shyamalan was trying make but for whatever reason he just didn't get it right.
  7. Moleman1138 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2004
    star 6
    my theater gets it friday. With a returning: The Queen, Babel and The Last king of Scotland.
  8. darth_paul Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 5
    Malkie - I'd think it might be courteous to continue with HTR spoilers, because, I believe, it's still in the process of coming out in the U.S. I'm in the Boston area, and I think it's been out for less than a week here -- and we get art/foreign films relatively past, after New York and L.A. Given the size of the U.S. user base on the boards, HTR spoilers might be appreciated (though of course that can be up for grabs, since we often don't show the same courtesy to our friends overseas).

    -Paul
  9. malkieD2 Ex-Manager and RSA

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    star 7

    exactly ;)

    however, it's always been policy to cater to the american audience as the vast majority of users are american, and the boards and owned and hosted in the US.

    I'm easy on the HTR - if anyone has any genuine issue then PM me and I'll go back and black them out :)
  10. Moleman1138 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2004
    star 6
    I'm gonna see it tomorrow I think.
  11. adoyidej Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2004
    star 3
    That's exactly what my gf and I debated after teh movie yesterday.
  12. Moleman1138 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2004
    star 6
    Okay I saw it and it's so overrated. I wanted more fantasy and more of the fantasy world. Pan is probably the best aspect of the movie.
  13. BAR_BAR_DRINKS Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2003
    star 1
    saw it saturday night. it was...GREAT! wasn't expecting...i didnt know what to expect. it's grim and sad, yet beautiful and sad.
    highly recomended if you like non-traditional hollywood films.
  14. malkieD2 Ex-Manager and RSA

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    star 7
    I predicted a response like that in an earlier post - ie that fans looking for real 'fantasy' were going to be disappointed.

    I think it's important for potential viewers to go to the see the movie not expecting to see a traditional fantasy epic, but rather a film where the fantasy element is rather subtle.
  15. TheLighterSide Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2005
    star 4
    Although a bit of a downer, I thought it was excellent. The backdrop was unique (you don't get a lot of movies about the Spanish Civil War), the fantasy was very well done, but it was grounded with reality. It really is a fairy tale for adults, and I think that is why it is so successful as a film.
  16. Moleman1138 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2004
    star 6
    I've decided to give it a second chance. I'll see it within the next week or so. Too much to absorb the first time around.
  17. Sn4tcH Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2004
    star 4
    I agree though, I just saw it a few hours ago. I wanted more of the fantasy world, but I think that's to be expected. All the fantasy elements were fantastic. But I think the way the reality was put into it, I doubt anyone could have made this movie any better. I went in not sure whether I would like it or not. I wasn't blown away like I was with Children of Men last week, but I was pleasantly surprised, and would recommend it.
  18. JediTrilobite Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    Saw it earlier today - Brilliant movie, completely blown away. More later.
  19. Darth-Lando Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 6
    I finally saw this the other night and it was amazing. When I first heard that the fantasy elements were not as prevelant as the many of the trailers made them out to be I was dissappointed. But, when I got to see the film as a whole I felt that there was just enough. The whole film was so unique and beautiful. The only downside to the whole experience was that some of the people I was with didn't enjoy it and felt it necessary to whisper comments during the whole movie. :rolleyes:
  20. JediTrilobite Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    I've finally able to sit down and actually put some thoughts down beyond: Brilliant.

    The first thing that really struck me was the fact that it's a fantasy movie with surprisingly limited fantasy content - while it surprised me, it really worked very well. Instead of trying to pack in the fantastic elements, we've got something where it really stands out when it is on the screen, and this adds to the realism of the movie to an incredible degree.
    The characters were also all very well written out and complicated. I think Ofelia was the simplist there, as the Captain, while brutal, seemed to be a very troubled man to begin with, very insecure, Mercedes, who's brother and father (?) were with the resistance, and the mother just wanting some stability in her life. Ofelia is also quite facinating, as she's stuck between worlds, very literally at times.
    Filmwise, there's some absolutely beautiful scenes here, throughout the movie, and some incredibly well done action - I'd love to see Del Torro do a war film at some point, because he could probably do an masterpiece with it. The fantasy scenes were also incredibly well done, even the very simple ones, like in the portal.

    Best movie that came out of last year, IMO.


    There's a facinating interview with GdT here, on NPR.
  21. Twinky_Stryder Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Nov 16, 2003
    star 4
    I totally agree with you. There is no defined end to this story. If you want to believe that Ofelia truely is the fantasy princess, then you do.
    And if you want to believe that it's just Ofelia's way of dealing with reality, then you do.

    Although some people argue that when she's talking to Pan and the Captain comes in and he doesn't see Pan then that definately means that Pan is in Ofelia's mind. But you have to remember that it's always been a case that only the truely innocent, like Ofelia, can see fairies and magical creatures. Because the Captain is a cruel and violent man, he was unable to see the faun. So every bit in the film can make you come to either conclusion based on how you yourself look at things.

    Also I think we should continue highlightnig spoilers or possible spoilers. There are lots of people who haven't seen it yet in America and even though I saw this last year (I love living in England) I think it's not fair for people to come across spoilers or information they don't want to know accidently.
  22. Moleman1138 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2004
    star 6
    Question of curiousity. Was Pan CGI or was that a damn good makeup job?
  23. Twinky_Stryder Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Nov 16, 2003
    star 4
    Damn good make-up job.

    And with the legs the actor wore some kind of puppet legs attached to his own and then his legs were removed in post produciton.

    Also the mechanics that controlled the facial expressions were so loud that Doug Jones had to memorize both his lines and Ofelia's lines so that he knew when to speak.
    This is impressive considering he doesn't speak spanish.
  24. JediTrilobite Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    Yeah, yay for lack of CGI- It's a breathe of fresh air nowadays.
  25. Moleman1138 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2004
    star 6
    Thanks for the response. He's definitely my favorite out of the whole film.
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