Monday, January 22, 2007

Not your mother's Fairytale.

This past weekend I had the experience of seeing Pan's Labyrinth, from Latin director Guillermo del Toro. If you enjoy fantasy/fairy tale genre films such as (regular) Labyrinth, MirrorMask and the Dark Crystal, than this is absolutely NOT the movie for you. And I cannot stress that enough.

Set in 1944 during the period of the Spanish Civil War, Pan's Labyrinth centers around Ofelia, daughter of a widow who recently remarried a Captain of the Spanish army. The film opens as Ofelia and her mother are traveling to the fortress(?) where the Captain is stationed; her mother expecting his child. This essentially being a fairy tale, and the Captain essentially being a step-parent, he is naturally a sadistic monster.

Going into this film, I wasn't so naive as not to understand that this was supposed to be an adult movie. I had even heard that was on the gory side. What I wasn't expecting, was to watch the majority of this film through my fingers, cowering helplessly in my seat. While the basic premise of the film is about Ofelia and the fantasy world she discovers, (creates?) most of it actually revolves around the underlying plot of the war and conflict between the fascist Captain's men and the rebel army. What I wasn't expecting from this movie was the level of horrific, graphic violence and sadistic brutality I've only heard about associated with Mel Gibson's work. (Or, "work," if you will.)

We're talking guys getting their faces eviscerated with broken bottles, and crude amputations, and people stitching up their own faces after getting their cheek slashed open with a knife. In instances where someone was killed with a simple bullet to the head, I breathed a sigh of relief. Not to "spoiler" anything, but I really believe that any casual filmgoer or overall fan of the genre should really understand what they're getting themselves into with the price of admission.

Aside from all that, Pan's Labyrinth is a beautifully orchestrated film, filled with breathtaking imagery. Without the snuff aspect I likely would have given it a standing ovation.

Oddly enough, the most horrifying moment of the evening came before the film, when they showed a trailer for Jennifer Lopez and Marc "Scrawny McRatface" Anthony's new movie, El Cantante. I believe that's Spanish for Pure Shit. Not positive, I kinda skipped out on that class in high school. Oh, Jenny from the Block. Has Gigli taught you nothing? Of course, part of the reason why Gigli was such a colossally embarrassing failure, was because people actually gave a shit in the first place. So, at least El Cantante has that much going for it.

10 comments:

Linz said...

What the hell is that thing in the picture? I would cry.

litelysalted said...

This is one (out of like, 4 total) of the fantasy-realm creatures. Which, don't get me wrong, was creepy as hell... But at that point in the movie I was pretty much desensitized by all the human-inflicted atrocities to appreciate the completefuckingeeriness of it.

a said...

thanks for posting this... peter's bro and sis have been talking about goign to see it, and now i know not to tag along if they ask me if i want to go. i would've never guessed, with a name like: pan's labyrinth!

anney said...

that was anney, by the way

couscouscaboose said...

"Oddly enough, the most horrifying moment of the evening came before the film, when they showed a trailer for Jennifer Lopez and Marc "Scrawny McRatface" Anthony's new movie, El Cantante."

HA!

I love you in the face said...

I'm supposed to go and see this movie on Weds or I guess I was supposed to go and see this movie Weds. As you know I'm a fan fantasy/fairy tale everything but I am most def not a fan of evisceration(s) or amputation(s) or icky(s) like that at all. Drat!

sme said...

I am so glad you wrote this review. My boyfriend is a big weenie and won't see any scary movies. I figured this would be a safe bet - I guess I thought wrong.

litelysalted said...

love you in the face: I wrote this review especially with you in mind. Had I not written it, I would have sent a personal warning to you.

And anney? You... would... have.... died.

I love you in the face said...

I saw it!

Here's the thing: It was a decent movie movie but in terms of the fantasy genre it was a bit of a lightweight. It had elements of the dark crystal: eyes in weird places, fairy tale allegory: franco's nickname was frog in Spanish so the girl's little trip to save the fig tree was a metaphor for Franco opressing the Spanish people, and Alice in Wonderland (the book, the movie, the concept): the swirl icon everywhere, the white apron, going down the rabbit hole blah blah. What I found most interesting was the gore of real life and the various ways people hurt each other. That was the gripping (and disgusting) part. Oddly enough my favorite fantasy element was the baby mandrake root but again it seemed derivative. I'm kinda suprised everyone is freaking out over it.

Maybe I should see it again....

Meech! said...

I pre-bought 5 tickets. We're going in 2 hours. I just ate marshmallow crackers. I have a feeling I'll be seeing those crackers again.

But seriously, I can take the gore, as long as the plot and story justify it. But I would have expected more of a trippy romp through unicorn forest... thanks for the heads-up. :)