DVD: “Pan’s Labyrinth”
4 ½ stars
The Bottom Line
In the grand tradition of the world’s darkest fairy tales, Pan’s Labyrinth is a disturbing and beautiful look at the life and mind of a child ripped apart by war and death.
- Seamless storytelling
- Beautiful special effects
- Impeccable acting from the entire cast
- Regardless of the term ‘fairy tale’ it’s way too harsh for younger audiences
- DVD Extras: Gobs.
- Directed by Guillermo Del Toro
- Starring: Ivana Barquero, Maribel Verdu, Sergi Lopez
- Original Release Date: December 29th, 2006
- DVD Release Date: May 15th, 2007
- Rated R
- Distributor: New Line Home Video
Guest Guide Review – DVD “Pan’s Labyrinth”
Del Toro’s compelling new film Pan’s Labyrinth is at once sumptuous and disquieting. Aptly capturing the climate of a fascist Spain in the 40s, the film boldly explores a time when children were forced to experience the darkest parts of human nature while retaining their own innocence.
A poetic portrait of love and loss, Ivana Barquero’s sweetly bitter portrayal of Ofelia carries the film and she makes a perfect foe for Sergi Lopez’s Capitan Vidal, a sadistic military man bent on sadism. His scenes of torture are shocking but well shot and never gratuitous. However, this film is much too dark for younger audiences who might otherwise be swept away with the characters that inhabit the Labyrinth.
The story itself is picture perfect, and it moves effortlessly between realism and fantasy without ever overwhelming the audience with either. Del Toro crafts a unique and moving tale that might look like fantastical storytelling on the outside, but the core of the film and Ofelia’s obsession with escaping a cruel world are as timeless as ever. A must for fans of fantasy and horror.
This review originally appeared on About.com.