Pan’s Labyrinth

With crazy characters, teasing trailers, amazing posters and from various magazines more stars than the night sky I was really looking forward to this film. Sadly for me it didn’t live up to the expectation. Overly long but with hardly any character development it looks pretty but is actually quite boring. Set in Spain at a time of upheaval the film flips between the real world and that of a fantasy realm created by Ofelia, who along with her pregnant mother go to live in a rural area will the evil Captain Vidal, not her father but the father to her unborn brother. From the outset we quickly establish that Vidal is a nasty piece of work who only cares about the baby and victory over his enemies at any cost. Ofelia trapped between the captain, the fighting and her ill mother retreats into a made up world where she will be a princess if she completes three tasks given to her by the faun Pan. What follows is a story of the civil unrest in Spain, violence and all, with occasional dips in to Ofelia’s vivid imagination as escape. The trouble is that when in Ofelia’s mind we are treated to some of the most beautiful CGI committed to screen but its too few and far between to call this a modern day Alice in wonderland. Pan the faun is probably in the two hour film no more than ten minutes if you add together his screen time and the eye hand guy that dominates a lot of the posters and screen shots is only in it for a couple of minutes if that. Sadly billing this as a fantasy film is slightly misleading there is more set in the real world as Vidal and his soldiers try and flush the rebels out of the surrounding woods. All the elements are in place, a passionate visionary director, a story with some truth to it, top notch CGI, great actors, amazing score etc but it always feels that something is missing. I’m sure that the film is packed full of metaphors that when in Ofelia’s mind relate to the real world but after sometime I stopped looking for them and started looking for what made all the critics salivate, I haven’t seen so much praise heaped on a film for ages but unfortunately for me I couldn’t quite see why it deserved so much. Pan’s isn’t a bad film just, unlike myself, go in without any preconceptions and you will probably enjoy it a hell of a lot more.  

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