*Hidden Gem* Pan’s Labyrinth

Pan

 

Unfortunately I could not make it to a theater this weekend to check out the new releases. I’m so sad! Fortunately that allows me to give you another ‘hidden gem’ film.

Guillermo del Toro, heard of him? He’s the brilliant director behind ‘Hellboy’ and one of the awesome ‘Blade’ films. The 2nd if I’m not mistaken. This man gives us ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ one of the most fantastic films ever made! I’m so serious right now.

This film has been hailed as a dark version of Alice in Wonderland. But don’t believe what you hear. It’s far from it. This story takes place during the Spanish Civil War where our young heroin Ofelia played by Ivana Baquero (Fragile, The New Daughter, Another Me) and her pregnant mother move in with her cruel stepfather Captain Vidal; Sergi Lopez (Dirty Pretty Things, The Monk, El Nino). He lives on a military camp but insists his pregnant wife, Carmen, played by Ariadna Gil (Room 304, Living is Easy with Eyes Closed, A Star and Two Coffees) be with him. He wants to be there when his son is born. The magic starts just as they get to the camp when Ofelia sees a large bug which she claims is a fairy. The bug visits her at night transoms itself into a lovely fairy and then asks Ofelia to follow her into the dark woods.

She is taken into a mysterious labyrinth not far from the camp and there meets Faun a creepy goat/man demon that informs Ofelia that she is the long lost Princess Moanna of the Underworld Realm and he has come to take her home. However because she has lived as a human for so long she must first complete three tasks that will prove that she is still worthy of returning to her magical home to claim her throne as Princess.

From here on we are taken on a fantastic but scary journey that faces Ofelia with a giant monster toad, a child eating demon that sees through its hands, and of course the final task that proves if she’s still pure of heart. All the while questioning her trust in the mysterious Faun, facing the fact that her frail mother might not live through the pregnancy and trying to stay clear of her evil tyrant stepfather. Not to mention the continuing battle rages as the rebels close in against Captain Vidal and his men. The trick with this movie is the ever going question: Is this just the workings of a little girl’s imagination running wild to escape the threats of the real world? From beginning to end we question this about the movie and you well never receive a clear definite answer. That’s the power behind this film; it leaves you to decide for yourself.

Rotten Tomatoes has this Pan’s Labyrinth at a 96% fresh. You can’t argue with those numbers.

When I say dark please note that I mean it. Rated R for graphic violence and some language.

Pan’s Labyrinth came out in 2006 and, of course, is hard to come by. But eventually I hope you find this gem because it is truly a remarkable movie. The language is in Spanish dialogue so you may have to follow along with subtitles. Please don’t let that discourage you. Dark, magical, haunting, suspenseful and somehow beautiful. Pan’s Labyrinth is a must see movie; the ever loved fairytale of a young girl pit between the increasing forces of good and evil. You’ll love it. I promise.