Pan’s Labyrinth (Spanish: El laberinto del fauno, “The Labyrinth of the faun”) was a 2006 Spanish release with a fantasy, but adult oriented theme which opened to critical acclaim and won several awards, including three Academy Awards (Best Achievement in Art Direction, Best Direction in Cinematography, and Best Achievement in make up) and was also nominated for the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language film.
Let me begin to advise everyone to watch this film by informing the reader that the movie is an adult film. There are some grave, scary elements to the movie, and it can even get quite disturbing. So do not expect it to be a feel-good film with heavy usage of CGI and Animatronics. There are enough special effects in the film to make it real and interesting to watch, but this film will leave you exhausted albeit satisfied. The story revolves around a young, dreamy girl, Ofelia, and her involvement and interest in fairy tales folklore. It is set in the early times of Fascist Spain, and war is an important part of the movie. Ofelia finds solace in the labyrinth that will take her to her kingdom and as a friendly, but curious faun helps her to achieve this goal, we can see her adoptive father’s hold on the Spanish guerillas loosen and Ofelia’s mother get increasingly sick.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the movie captures the war and its ominousness whilst keeping the creativity it takes to write a fantasy film intact. The soundtrack is one of the well-compiled soundtracks I have had the benefit of listening to and there are several parts in the movie that will evoke very strong, passionate emotions in anyone watching the film, and a lot of that has to do with the eloquently calm music. The movie, in many ways, is close to being ideal; it offers what it promises to offer. It is a brilliant fairytale, a sad war-movie and a glimpse into a child’s life. But what I loved most about the film was how each of the characters, even the ones with very little screen time, were tied up so wholly, that I couldn’t help but feel that all writers have something to learn from this tact and talent. In spite of being only 118 minutes long, it brings all the characters to a complete close and leaves you thoroughly fulfilled about how each character’s fate is decided. As someone who didn’t know it was not a children’s movie, I only wished for a better ending.
One thing is for sure, there is not the least bit of surprise that during the Cannes film festival premiere release, the film received a 22 min long standing ovation.