Sunday, November 04, 2007

Stardate 61842.12 - El Laberinto del Fauno

Cheryl and I watched El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan's Labyrinth) Saturday night after Loren went to bed. According to IMDB, "In the fascist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world". We both give it a thumbs up, but with some caveats.

First, the fantasy story is quite good, and reminiscent of the types of stories Cheryl in particular used to read as a child. The juxtaposition of the "real" world and the fantasy world was at times, pretty jarring however. It was a "weird mix of fantasy and a political statement and someone watching for either one of those might find the inclusion of the other part a bit odd," is how Cheryl described it.

Second, the level of violence is quite, quite graphic and even I got squeamish during one particular early scene. This is absolutely NOT one for the kids. I felt the movie could have been just as good without the extremely high level of violence, or that it could have been toned down without lessening the impact of the brutality of the period and highlighting the difference between "fantasy" and "reality".

Third, if you are into all of the technical aspects of movie making, you might want to read Jess' review of the movie, which while praising the story had some serious criticisms of the technical aspects of the end result.

Fourth, if you are expecting a Dungeons & Dragon's style fantasy, you will be disappointed. This is an "adult fantasy" as it has been called, and while the basic story could have been a PG or a PG-13, it has been presented as an R with R-level themes and violence.

So in summary, two-thumbs up but this is one for the "art-house crowd" and not a traditional fantasy story. Of course, your mileage may vary.


1 comment:

JamesF said...

This one's at the top of my Netflix queue, but new releases that come out have kept it from actually making it to my house. Maybe next week. I had heard nothing but good things about it and it seems that's the same consensus from you, so I'll probably end up enjoying it.