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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Movie Review-Pan’s Labyrinth

Ivana Baquero plays Ofelia, who meets a faun, right, played by Doug Jones, in the whimsical fairy tale Pan’s Labyrinth, which has been nominated for best foreign picture for the Academy Awards.  Photo courtesy Warner Brothers
Ivana Baquero plays Ofelia, who meets a faun, right, played by Doug Jones, in the whimsical fairy tale Pan’s Labyrinth, which has been nominated for best foreign picture for the Academy Awards. Photo courtesy Warner Brothers

By Sara Pintilie/reporter

Ivana Baquero plays Ofelia, who meets a faun, right, played by Doug Jones, in the whimsical fairy tale Pan’s Labyrinth, which has been nominated for best foreign picture for the Academy Awards.  Photo courtesy Warner Brothers
Ivana Baquero plays Ofelia, who meets a faun, right, played by Doug Jones, in the whimsical fairy tale Pan’s Labyrinth, which has been nominated for best foreign picture for the Academy Awards. Photo courtesy Warner Brothers

Writer/Director Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno in its original Spanish) intertwines a whimsical fairy tale with the brutality of war and horror with much finesse and dark beauty.

It makes the audience believe for the 112-minute screen time the true power of fairy tales.

Though many movie patrons will be turned off because of the subtitles, it is a shame because this film is a great portrait of passionate filmmaking.

There is not one moment in the entire movie where the audience doesn’t believe del Toro put his whole heart and soul into Ofelia’s tale.

But fair warning, this fable isn’t for children; MPAA rated Pan’s Labyrinth R for graphic violence and some language.

The tale begins in war-torn Spain in 1944.

A young girl, Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), her mother and her unborn baby brother travel to the country where Ofelia’s new stepfather, Captain Vidal of the nationalists, resides.

Her life goes down hill as her mother catches something from her baby and barely can walk.

And Vidal makes it clear the only person he cares about is his unborn heir. 

To escape from her mother’s sickness and Vidal’s sadistic ways, Ofelia explores the property and learns a few of the servants such as Mercedes (Maribel Verdú) and the house doctor are aiding the republicans who live in the surrounding woods.

Late one night, Ofelia is awakened by a magical fairy and taken to a stone labyrinth that has been on the property since anyone can remember.

There, Ofelia meets an intoxicatingly creepy faun (a satyr), portrayed by Doug Jones (Hellboy), and learns she is a long-lost princess of the underworld from an ancient legend.

She is told she needs to complete three tasks to regain her place in the magical realm.

On her quest to complete the tasks, Ofelia finds herself getting in more trouble than it’s worth but powers on because she believes in this better place, a golden palace where her real dad reigns.

On her travels, she meets a terrifying pale man (also played by Jones), a large toad in a dead fig tree and the horrible reality of her fascist stepfather.

Del Toro does an exquisite job painting this grim tale on the movie screen.

Pan’s Labyrinth is a breath of originality in the slew of screen adaptations, remakes and sequels.

The movie keeps the audience engaged to its surprising, gripping end.

The endings of movies rarely surprise me anymore, but this film’s last moments truly shocked me and the audience.

Baquero is absolutely wonderful as the young imaginative Ofelia. I would love to see this young actress in more films.

Verdú is exceptional as the strong-willed Mercedes, and Jones morphs into his characters flawlessly.

Though the movie is in Spanish with English subtitles and only in limited release, it is well worth the price of the ticket.

This film deserves five out of five stars and the Oscar for best foreign film.

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