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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale Grimm
If anyone wants to know where the dark, creepy fairy tales of old went, here's a hint: Guillermo del Toro is doing a pretty good job with the fairy tales for adults.

"Pan's Labyrinth" ("El Laberinto del Fauno") is a sequel of sorts to "The Devil's Backbone," a magical realism film about the Spanish Civil War. But this movie takes us deeper into a world that is...
Published on March 27 2007 by E. A Solinas

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing picture quality, amazing sound. Spanish Only.
While I must agree with everyone on the quality of this recording (the picture is clear and the sound is fantastic), I must say I am mad at Amazon for this false advertising. I bought it mainly because it said "Version française" (French version) and I could not find any other dubbed version anywhere. I was left in anger when I opened the package only to find out that...
Published 9 months ago by Damien Dube


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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale Grimm, March 27 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
If anyone wants to know where the dark, creepy fairy tales of old went, here's a hint: Guillermo del Toro is doing a pretty good job with the fairy tales for adults.

"Pan's Labyrinth" ("El Laberinto del Fauno") is a sequel of sorts to "The Devil's Backbone," a magical realism film about the Spanish Civil War. But this movie takes us deeper into a world that is half real, half ominous fairy tale, with a unique and imaginative story and some really excellent acting -- in short, a triumph.

Time and place: 1944, Spain. Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her very pregnant mother travel to meet her new stepfather, the brutal and murderous Captain Vidal (Sergi López). Ofelia loathes her new stepfather, but is transfixed by the eerie forests around them -- and one night she is visited by a fairy, and encounters a giant faun who tells her that she is Princess Moanna of the netherworld, and must return there.

To do so, he tells her that she must do three things, and gives her a strange book. Ofelia menages first task, but is frightened out of her wits by the second task, which involves a hideous monster with eyes in its hands. Even worse, her mother's pregnancy is getting more dangerous. As the guerillas and the fascists clash, Ofelia faces being trapped outside the netherworld forever...

Fairy tales have become cleaned-up and cutesy over time, so that children can read them without nightmares. But del Toro knows that the best fairy tales are the eerie, bizarre ones for adults, that are connected somehow to the real world. That is what makes "Pan's Labyrinth" so brilliantly dark and heartfelt.

Del Toro obviously crafted this with care, directing it in a dreamlike style and brilliant visuals. The eerie atmosphere of Ofelia's wanderings -- the delicate yet menacing faun, the chalk doors, the monuments, and the pasty nightmare with eyes in its palms -- is both a contrast and a parallel with the everyday world, which Ofelia hopes to escape.

At first, it seems like the post-Civil War and fairy tale stories don't mesh, until you see that the "real world" story is Ofelia's motivation to escape from all the fear, pain and sorrow. But Del Toro's biggest triumph is an ending that is beautifully bittersweet, and which turns out to hinge on Ofelia's newborn brother.

But del Toro's biggest triumph is in the instant connection we feel to Ofelia, with her love of the fantastical and her desire to go somewhere "safe." Baquero is absolutely wonderful in this, as a girl who isn't entirely of this world -- in her heart, she belongs somewhere beyond. And López is the ideal villain -- you spend the whole movie wanting to see him gruesomely killed.

Half "Mirrormask" and half gritty war story, "Pan's Labyrinth" is one of the best fantasy stories in years -- dark, passionate and beautifully made. Definitely a great movie.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning reminder of the harshness of childhood, June 25 2007
By 
Jenny J.J.I. "A New Yorker" (That Lives in Carolinas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This movie is not at all for children or those who dislike major violence. Of all the movies that Guillermo del Toro has made I'm guessing this is the personal one for him. I heard him saying on TV that when he was a kid he'd imagine the floor to his bedroom opening up and a creature coming out and having a conversation with him. That's pretty much what Ofelia goes through in this movie as she resorts to a fantasy world where strange creatures send her on a magical journey to regain her royal title. A very simple fairy tale told by one of our greatest filmmakers.
While the movie closely follows Ofelia's tasks, spoken to her by a magic book from Pan, it is mostly about the war, double agents (Maribel Verdú and Álex Angulo), and the Captain's near-obsession with his expected son. The battles are extremely brutal and made me queazy a couple of times. So brutal are these deaths, in fact, that you'll be relieved to see a simple shot to the head or back.

The acting is top-notch, and I like to say that young Ivana Baquero has a huge and brilliant future ahead of her. One of the great aspects to the movie is how much scarier the people in the real world are than any strange creature from another fantasy world and none do it better than Sergi Lopez who plays the evil Capitan. He does a great job of playing in a suave sophisticated way that rivals that great job that Ralph Fiennes did with his character in "Schindler's List". He's pure evil packaged in clean cut way and doesn't have the slightest hesitation to killing anyone. It's really interesting that in a movie filled with strange creatures like a giant toad and a pale man with no eyes, the most frightening person would be a regular man with no conscious. The animation is phenomenal, but not nearly as breathtaking as the costumes or scenery. The labyrinth itself just takes all the breath out of you when you see it at night for the first time. The "pale man" (also played by Doug Jones), is by far the most terrifying creature in the movie, most-likely to give even the most mature and grown-up adults shivers. Faun (Doug Jones) who is the creature that gives Ofelia all her assignments is also great with his goat looking self. I really wish there were more scenes with him in the movie but I guess the budget wouldn't allow for that.

Yes, this movie does have sub-titles, but it's hardly noticeable at first, so much so that you forget about them by the tragic end of the movie. "Pan's Labyrinth" is frightening and sad to the extreme, but it also gives you a sense of hope that magic does, in fact, exist. This is one of the most astonishing adult fairy tales I've seen in a long time.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars further thoughts, April 17 2007
By 
M. Lee (Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Even if you have seen this movie in the theatres, I strongly recommend purchasing this DVD as this is a film that should be viewed more than once. The first viewing wraps your attention into the plot- is the Faun good or evil? What will happen to Ophelia and how the fairly tale ends. However, after seeing the film 3 times more, I was surprised at how much more depth can be seen in the characters of the Captain and the Faun that werent evident the first time through. I began to see the Captain as far more vulnerable and human than I originally thought and the Faun more beautiful and haunting. I agree that this is a fantastic movie.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Into the labyrinth, Oct. 12 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
If anyone wants to know where the dark, creepy fairy tales of old went, here's a hint: Guillermo del Toro is doing a pretty good job with the fairy tales for adults.

"Pan's Labyrinth" ("El Laberinto del Fauno") is a sequel of sorts to "The Devil's Backbone," a magical realism film about the Spanish Civil War. But this movie takes us deeper into a world that is half real, half ominous fairy tale, with a unique and imaginative story and some really excellent acting -- in short, a triumph.

Time and place: 1944, Spain. Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her very pregnant mother travel to meet her new stepfather, the brutal and murderous Captain Vidal (Sergi López). Ofelia loathes her new stepfather, but is transfixed by the eerie forests around them -- and one night she is visited by a fairy, and encounters a giant faun who tells her that she is Princess Moanna of the netherworld, and must return there.

To do so, he tells her that she must do three things, and gives her a strange book. Ofelia menages first task, but is frightened out of her wits by the second task, which involves a hideous monster with eyes in its hands. Even worse, her mother's pregnancy is getting more dangerous. As the guerillas and the fascists clash, Ofelia faces being trapped outside the netherworld forever... and being offered a terrible choice if she wants to get in.

Fairy tales have become cleaned-up and cutesy over time, so that children can read them without nightmares. But del Toro knows that the best fairy tales are the eerie, bizarre ones for adults, that are connected somehow to the real world. That is what makes "Pan's Labyrinth" so brilliantly dark and heartfelt.

Del Toro obviously crafted this with care, directing it in a dreamlike style and brilliant visuals. The eerie atmosphere of Ofelia's wanderings -- the delicate yet menacing faun, the chalk doors, the monuments, and the pasty nightmare with eyes in its palms -- is both a contrast and a parallel with the everyday world, which Ofelia hopes to escape.

At first, it seems like the post-Civil War and fairy tale stories don't mesh, until you see that the "real world" story is Ofelia's motivation to escape from all the fear, pain and sorrow. But Del Toro's biggest triumph is an ending that is beautifully bittersweet, and which turns out to hinge on Ofelia's newborn brother.

But del Toro's biggest triumph is in the instant connection we feel to Ofelia, with her love of the fantastical and her desire to go somewhere "safe." Baquero is absolutely wonderful in this, as a girl who isn't entirely of this world -- in her heart, she belongs somewhere beyond. And López is the ideal villain -- you spend the whole movie wanting to see him gruesomely killed.

Half "Mirrormask" and half gritty war story, "Pan's Labyrinth" is one of the best fantasy stories in years -- dark, passionate and beautifully made. Definitely a great movie.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlivens the Adult Imagination, Aug. 30 2007
Pan's Labyrinth is an amazing film directed by Guillermo Del Toro. It manages to capture the essence of being a child appropriately enough to serve as nostalgia for its adult audience. In other words, you really don't have to be a fantasy geek to appreciate this. It is smaller than many of the larger epic fantasies we have grown accustomed to seeing on the big screen over the last few years (i.e. Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter movies) but in many ways it is more lucid, and it is certainly less diluted by oceans of CGI. There are great effects though; puppets, CGI, makeup, set design and costumes. However, I would say that more effort than money was put into these elements and creating a pure vision was certainly the priority, as opposed to creating a large box-office draw. Del Toro also has the advantage of placing the fantasy into the eyes of a child, while the rest of story is told in the miserable reality of 1944 post civil war Spain. That dichotomy alone makes the film both remarkably authentic and the fantasy elements that much more rewarding. What child wouldn't want to escape that existence?

As the film opens we are introduced to a fairy tale about Princess Moanna from the underworld. The Princess decides to see the world above her and when she does she forgets about her royal existence and eventually becomes mortal and dies. Her father, the king, believes her spirit will return. After this we go to 1944 Spain after the Francoists have taken power. We are introduced to Ofelia (Ivan Baquero), a young girl whose pregnant mother has brought Ofelia to meet her new stepfather (Sergi López), a fascist captain assigned to control and destroy the Spanish Maquis in that region. He is also the father to Ofelia's unborn brother. Ofelia meets an insect who she feels represents a fairy. The insect leads Ofelia to the labyrinth. This spirals into Ofelia's eventual interaction with a faun who declares that Ofelia is Princess Moanna and in order to ensure that her essence as princess of the underworld is intact, she must accomplish three specific tasks. The story goes from there with astounding visuals and sequences that range from shocking and suspenseful, to beautiful and beaming with hope.

In a year of mediocre cinema, Pan's Labyrinth was one of the few stand-out productions for me. Obviously it was heavily acclaimed and rewarded for its visuals, but the writing and direction deserve accolades as well. This is one of best original screenplays to come along in the last few years.

The acting was also great. Ivana Baquero is a wonderful new find and Maribel Verdú (Y tu mamá también) was also fantastic as one of the captain's maids and a rebel mole. I also believe that Captain Vidal was probably the best villain of the year. Part of it was Sergi López's performance but it was also the way his actions shocked us. Without his violent outbursts and constant cutthroat disposition I think this would've been a lesser movie, but it also may have received a more profitable PG-13 rating. In other words, it took some courage and sacrifice in making this villain as brutal as he was and I salute Del Toro for not even giving that perspective consideration. Again, it's artistic substance as the priority.

Overall, Pan's Labyrinth is the kind of effort that reminds me of why I love cinema, and I have no doubt that Del Toro and his crew feel that a story like this is the very reason they make movies in the first place. Obviously, I highly recommend this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing picture quality, amazing sound. Spanish Only., Oct. 21 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
While I must agree with everyone on the quality of this recording (the picture is clear and the sound is fantastic), I must say I am mad at Amazon for this false advertising. I bought it mainly because it said "Version française" (French version) and I could not find any other dubbed version anywhere. I was left in anger when I opened the package only to find out that this was the same bluray version sold everywhere, with original Spanish audio and only English subtitles (I'm fine with these, it's just not what I've paid for). If you are like me a french canadian and are about to add this item to your cart because you think there will be French (or even just English) dubbing on this bluray, forget about it. I'll keep it in my collection now that it is unwrapped, but definitely not the movie experience I was hoping for.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Into the labyrinth, May 10 2008
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Pan's Labyrinth (DVD)
If anyone wants to know where the dark, creepy fairy tales of old went, here's a hint: Guillermo del Toro is doing a pretty good job with the fairy tales for adults.

"Pan's Labyrinth" ("El Laberinto del Fauno") is a sequel of sorts to "The Devil's Backbone," a magical realism film about the Spanish Civil War. But this movie takes us deeper into a world that is half real, half ominous fairy tale, with a unique and imaginative story and some really excellent acting -- in short, a triumph.

Time and place: 1944, Spain. Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her very pregnant mother travel to meet her new stepfather, the brutal and murderous Captain Vidal (Sergi López). Ofelia loathes her new stepfather, but is transfixed by the eerie forests around them -- and one night she is visited by a fairy, and encounters a giant faun who tells her that she is Princess Moanna of the netherworld, and must return there.

To do so, he tells her that she must do three things, and gives her a strange book. Ofelia menages first task, but is frightened out of her wits by the second task, which involves a hideous monster with eyes in its hands. Even worse, her mother's pregnancy is getting more dangerous. As the guerillas and the fascists clash, Ofelia faces being trapped outside the netherworld forever... and being offered a terrible choice if she wants to get in.

Fairy tales have become cleaned-up and cutesy over time, so that children can read them without nightmares. But del Toro knows that the best fairy tales are the eerie, bizarre ones for adults, that are connected somehow to the real world. That is what makes "Pan's Labyrinth" so brilliantly dark and heartfelt.

Del Toro obviously crafted this with care, directing it in a dreamlike style and brilliant visuals. The eerie atmosphere of Ofelia's wanderings -- the delicate yet menacing faun, the chalk doors, the monuments, and the pasty nightmare with eyes in its palms -- is both a contrast and a parallel with the everyday world, which Ofelia hopes to escape.

At first, it seems like the post-Civil War and fairy tale stories don't mesh, until you see that the "real world" story is Ofelia's motivation to escape from all the fear, pain and sorrow. But Del Toro's biggest triumph is an ending that is beautifully bittersweet, and which turns out to hinge on Ofelia's newborn brother.

But del Toro's biggest triumph is in the instant connection we feel to Ofelia, with her love of the fantastical and her desire to go somewhere "safe." Baquero is absolutely wonderful in this, as a girl who isn't entirely of this world -- in her heart, she belongs somewhere beyond. And López is the ideal villain -- you spend the whole movie wanting to see him gruesomely killed.

Half "Mirrormask" and half gritty war story, "Pan's Labyrinth" is one of the best fantasy stories in years -- dark, passionate and beautifully made. Definitely a great movie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important film for our time, Oct. 31 2007
By 
Arshad Khan "shola" (Montreal ,Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Pan's Labyrinth is a sad film about facism and dictatorship. It is a film about the monster of war and what it makes out of human beings. It is a beautiful poetic tale of a little girl living a real and fictitious nightmare. So true of our time, so true of history, such a sad tale of what must be transpiring in war-torn lands across the universe today.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale Grimm, Dec 30 2006
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: NEW Pan's Labyrinth (DVD) (DVD)
If anyone wants to know where the dark, creepy fairy tales of old went, here's a hint: Guillermo del Toro is doing a pretty good job with the fairy tales for adults.

"Pan's Labyrinth" ("El Laberinto del Fauno") is a sequel of sorts to "The Devil's Backbone," a magical realism film about the Spanish Civil War. But this movie takes us deeper into a world that is half real, half ominous fairy tale, with a unique and imaginative story and some really excellent acting -- in short, a triumph.

Time and place: 1944, Spain. Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her very pregnant mother travel to meet her new stepfather, the brutal and murderous Captain Vidal (Sergi López). Ofelia loathes her new stepfather, but is transfixed by the eerie forests around them -- and one night she is visited by a fairy, and encounters a giant faun who tells her that she is Princess Moanna of the netherworld, and must return there.

To do so, he tells her that she must do three things, and gives her a strange book. Ofelia menages first task, but is frightened out of her wits by the second task, which involves a hideous monster with eyes in its hands. Even worse, her mother's pregnancy is getting more dangerous. As the guerillas and the fascists clash, Ofelia faces being trapped outside the netherworld forever...

Fairy tales have become cleaned-up and cutesy over time, so that children can read them without nightmares. But del Toro knows that the best fairy tales are the eerie, bizarre ones for adults, that are connected somehow to the real world. That is what makes "Pan's Labyrinth" so brilliantly dark and heartfelt.

Del Toro obviously crafted this with care, directing it in a dreamlike style and brilliant visuals. The eerie atmosphere of Ofelia's wanderings -- the delicate yet menacing faun, the chalk doors, the monuments, and the pasty nightmare with eyes in its palms -- is both a contrast and a parallel with the everyday world, which Ofelia hopes to escape.

At first, it seems like the post-Civil War and fairy tale stories don't mesh, until you see that the "real world" story is Ofelia's motivation to escape from all the fear, pain and sorrow. But Del Toro's biggest triumph is an ending that is beautifully bittersweet, and which turns out to hinge on Ofelia's newborn brother.

But del Toro's biggest triumph is in the instant connection we feel to Ofelia, with her love of the fantastical and her desire to go somewhere "safe." Baquero is absolutely wonderful in this, as a girl who isn't entirely of this world -- in her heart, she belongs somewhere beyond. And López is the ideal villain -- you spend the whole movie wanting to see him gruesomely killed.

Half "Mirrormask" and half gritty war story, "Pan's Labyrinth" is one of the best fantasy stories in years -- dark, passionate and beautifully made. Definitely a great movie.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A uniquely brilliant, visionary motion picture, Aug. 19 2007
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
For me, this film sort of came out of nowhere. It's not often that a Spanish film (with subtitles, at that) becomes all the rage in America, but I just kept seeing references to this thing all over the place. Having watched it, I can see why -- it really is a wondrous, compelling, emotional cinematic experience. Many have dubbed Pan's Labyrinth a fairy tale for adults, and I think that designation is pretty apt. A lot of people aren't aware of the fact that many fairy tales were, in their infancy, pretty dark little stories. As often as not, fairy tale characters did not live happily ever after at all -- in some cases, they didn't even live through the stories. This particular film features pain and anguish alongside some fairly jarring and brutal moments. Certainly, it's not a film for the vast majority of children out there, but I see no reason in the world for it receiving an R rather than a PG-13 rating.

The central character of the story is a twelve-year-old girl named Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), an imaginative child accompanying her very pregnant mother to the military post run by her step-father. The year is 1944, and Capitan Vidal (Sergi Lopez) is there to take out the remaining anti-Franco rebels hiding out in the woodlands. He is an exceedingly cruel and ruthless man, as the audience learns fairly early on. With her mother bedridden, Ofelia wanders outside to follow a fairy through the ancient stone structure called Pan's Labyrinth, eventually entering a circular underground structure. It is there that she meets an otherworldly faun (Doug Jones) and learns that she is actually a fairy princess who lost all of her old memories when she ran off to the world of humans years ago. Before she can return to her fairy kingdom, however, she must complete three tasks to prove that she is the rightful princess. The tasks are not easy -- but, on the other hand, Ofelia's human life is not easy either. Her step-father cares only about the impending birth of his child (which he assumes will be a son), her mother (Ariadna Gil) is basically unavailable because her pregnancy has turned into a dangerous one, and she has no one else apart from a servant named Mercedes (Maribel Verdu) who cares one iota about her. It is not hard to see why she becomes increasingly enchanted with the idea of exchanging the miseries of human life for the joys of the fairy realm.

Running alongside Ofelia's story is that of the anti-government rebels trying to survive out in the woods, despite Capitan Vidal's attempts to horde all available sources of food and medicine. What Vidal does not know is that rebel sympathizers are hidden amongst his own personal staff ' two individuals who will emerge as the two unquestioned heroes of this entire story. Both of these worlds eventually smash together by the end of the film, setting the stage for a bittersweet ending that leaves much to the viewer's imagination.

There's an amazing pathos to this film that might take you unawares, particularly if you are used to a steady diet of Hollywood throw-away scripts. Pan's Labyrinth galvanizes your emotions and compels you to look beneath the surface of the mundane. It may even rekindle that sense of wonder that you seemingly lost all those years ago. It is truly a most glorious film.
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Pan's Labyrinth: Steelbook Edition [Blu-ray]
Pan's Labyrinth: Steelbook Edition [Blu-ray] by Guillermo del Toro (Blu-ray - 2010)
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