12 Jan 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

Without the recommendation of Ivan and Cheryl, I would have missed this masterpiece. For the first time in my life, I felt that I was watching an art flick instead of a Hollywood blockbuster. This movie is definitely not for everyone, but I don't think anyone would think too badly of it either.

In this dark, grim world that director Guillermo Del Toro had crafted, Ofelia stands out as a mature young girl that still believes in fairy tales. However, as the movie progresses and we are introduced to the monstrous creatures that filled her fantasy world, this dark and depressing tale seems to be shouting in the viewers' faces "NO HAPPY ENDING". Kudos to Guillermo (of Hellboy fame) for creating such memorable creatures such as Pan the faun and the child-eating Pale Man. Perhaps the most monstrous creature of all was Captain Vidal, Ofelia's stepfather, who, in the 2nd half of the movie, seemed more like a devil. The sadistic undertone of the entire movie led me to think that this man might kill his own baby son! That's how depressing this movie is.

The movie isn't a perfect masterpiece yet though. I believe the fantasy part of the story could have been better fleshed out. It felt too much like a WoW quest (kill the Giant Toad to get a Golden Key? Use the key to retrieve a cool-looking uber-powerful Knife of Portal Opening?).

Overall, the look and feel of the movie was really good. The bluish tinge used throughout the movie (except for one scene near the end) really brought across the feeling of sadness and hopelessness. The sound and musical score were perfect too, immersing the audience as the Pale Man chased after Ofelia, ready to eat her.

Rating: 5/5

Highly recommended, except for those looking for a Harry Potter clone. Not suitable for everyone though.

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