Movie Stats & Links
||Ivana Baquero, Maribel Verdu,
Sergi Lopez, Ariadna Gil
||Teens can probably
handle, and like it.
||It is sort of sad.
Let her cry on your arm.
||Some scenes might
make you squirmy.
||Not really many
||When the Captain
is self-, well, I'm not going to give it away.
||Nothing stood out.
||Guillermo del Toro
Alfonso Cuaron, Frida Torresblanco, Alvaro Augustin
A Movie Review
I will warn you right now, since the people sitting
behind me in the theater didnít seem to know, but if you
choose to see "Panís Labyrinth," the movie is in Spanish
with English subtitles. Me, Iím not usually a fan of
subtitled movies, hell, Iíve even knocked off some rating
points for having to read during a film, but not for "Panís
Labyrinth" because even though I had to read the story, I
loved it. Even so, I will also warn you that itís sort of a
weird film. Iíll do my best to give the storyÖ
Itís 1944 and weíre in Spain. Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and
her pregnant mother, Carmen (Ariadna Gil) are traveling to
an outpost where Captain Vidal (Sergi Lopez), who is
Ofeliaís step-dad and the father of whatever is in Carmenís
belly, is trying to hold his fascist outpost against the
guerillas hanging out in the woods. We are also introduced
to the fairy tale story of a girl whose soul is waiting to
be reunited with her father, a King in a magical kingdom.
Anyway, on the way to the Captainís pad, Ofelia seems to
release this crazy mantis-looking bug that follows her to
the outpost, where there is also this wacky labyrinth.
Afraid of her new life in the country, Ofeliaís mantis bug
turns into a fairy, and leads her, at night, to the
labyrinth, where she learns that she is the Princess waiting
to be reunited with her King father, but only if she can
accomplish three mystical tasks. So, while Ofelia is in her
adventure world of a giant toad, Faun (Doug Jones), and this
weird creature with eyeballs in his palms, there is the rest
of the world going on around her.
Yup, mom is pregnant but not doing too well with the
child. The good Captain, meanwhile, enlists the doctor (Alex
Angulo) to make sure the pregnancy goes to term, even if it
means choosing the captain's new son over the life of his
wife. Also going on is the Captain and his war, where one of
his servants, Mercedes (Maribel Verdu), is aiding and
getting supplies to his enemies.
So Ofeliaís fantasy world is somehow interacting (sort
of) with her mother and stepdadís real world, and somehow
all of this works.
Now doesnít this also sound like it might be a nice story
for the kids as well? Well, leave them at home because this
is an adult movie (although the teens would probably be okay
with the violence), where we are in a time of war and people
get shot and tortured, Mercedes is good with a knife, and I
got real squirmy in my seat when the captain, well, I wonít
Sure, the fairytale part of the movie might want to stop
you dudes from seeing it, but there is some good fighting,
and the Captain is an asshole. The movie does a fantastic
job of mixing remembering when you were a kid and could live
in your own world while the real world around you was going
to shit, with the reality of the real world, which is going
to shit. The film is also visually stunning, from the wacky
creatures to the gritty shots of the war going on. And
lastly, the movie is brilliantly acted by a bunch of people
who I have no idea who they are. You can easily get wrapped
up in the world of Ofelia, Sergi Lopez plays a complete
asshole well, and Maribel Verdu as Mercedes is fantastic,
taking in Ofelia as her own, yet being the rebel helping
those in the woods.
Look, "Panís Labyrinth" is sort of artsy, but if you like
anything dealing with fantasy, and some war thrown in, you
will probably like the movie. Hell, it might even help you
learn some Spanish. I was wrapped up in the film, from
beginning to end, and it didnít even have the prospect of
gratuitous sex. Itís 4 Ĺ stars out of 5 from me for "Panís
Labyrinth." One of the best mixes of brutal reality and
wondrous fantasy I have seen in a movie in a long time.
Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!!