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PAN'S LABYRINTH is seen again and again it is loved up on!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Yet another glowing review for the movie. I don't think we've gotten any negatives yet, but I guess since I just wrote that I'm inviting a few. I've met a few people that have seen this film and all across the board they love it, in some cases even more than I do. This really is a winner, guys. Here's the newest word!

Hello, I contributed with an unfortunate account of the disappointing Alatriste a month or so ago, and am compelled to write again, in a much happier disposition. I know this site has been swamped with reviews for this movie from festivals and such, but I saw Pan’s Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno) twice in cinemas yesterday, and for what it's worth, I am here to tell you about it. But how could that be? It doesn’t come out until December! Nope, in Spain (Barcelona, more precisely) it came out on October 11th, so lucky us. I’ve been introduced to Guillermo del Toro’s films from last to first, one could say (with Cronos being the exception, I haven’t seen it yet). I first saw Mimic, then Blade 2, then Hellboy, then the Devil’s Backbone, and now finally Pan’s Labyrinth. I’ve been lucky in a way, because in that order, I think they only get better. I’m afraid I don’t have any surprises or shocking views on the film. Pretty much everyone so far has said it is a masterpiece, and I’m not going to argue. Although my first viewing almost ruined the experience. At one point in the movie (the stuttering scene for those who have seen it, I’m not spoiling anything here, don’t worry) the top twenty inches or so of the image started playing at the bottom of the frame, so I ran out and asked them to fix it. They did, but not all the way. I had to see the rest of the film with sometimes some air missing at the top of frame, sometimes as much as including the eyes of certain characters. It was highly annoying, especially because I asked them to fix it again and they waved me off saying it was probably some special effect that made the image go like that. I didn’t want to jump to conclusions (and miss more of the film) but when I saw the movie again at a different cinema chain, I was correct, I had been watching the film with a foot or so missing at the top. So thanks Yelmo Cineplex, you’re no longer the number 1 international cinema chain. Why do I mention this detail? Because watching the film, what struck me the most (besides the expertly told story, the fantastic actors who some other reviewer will probably analyse with more expertise, and the beautiful art direction, make-up, effects, and cinematography) was how everything seemed so controlled, so planned, so… I hesitate to use the word perfect. But every shot is exquisitely framed, and nothing, absolutely nothing in this film goes to waste. Every moment has meaning (although I wouldn’t go looking for it while you watch it) and every scene is utterly important for the film as a whole. In a way, that surprises me because it becomes quite paradoxical. Despite oozing with class, confidence and control, with strong and decisive editing, the movie is quite instinctive. It never seems pre determined (despite the beginning of the film trying to make us think differently). It seems wholly organic, and I think a better word to use would emotional. Pan’s Labyrinth is such a labour of love, melodrama at its finest, that it seeps through in every moment. Del Toro has certainly shown us that he’s capable of humanizing monsters and monsterizing (not that it’s a word) humans, but with the nuance that it’s done with in this film, I’ve hardly ever seen. He has definitely taken some of the greatest quiet moments of Hellboy (some of the imagery even reminds me a little of it), and the style of Devil’s Backbone and crafted a film even stronger than the two put together. I would suggest all of you preparing to see this whenever you may see it, to not go in with expectations of what the story may be or how much fairy tale there is or action or violence or whatever. Don’t go in asking Del Toro to tell you a story you want to hear. Ask him to tell you the story HE wants to tell, and let it wash over you. A word of advice: this is not a children’s film, like many have said before. In Spain it’s recommended from 18 years, just so you know. You may have noticed that I have not tried to define the film or give you a synopsis. That’s because this movie defies definition. It’s not simply a fantasy or melodrama, or a metaphorical film, or a war film or an historical movie. Modifying Louis Armstrong’s famous quote slightly, I will say that there are good movies and bad movies. This is a good movie. And beyond that, it is a movie about love, about mortality and innocence, good and evil. It is a story about the beauty and horror of life, of family, duty, and of destiny. But most of all, it is simply a story about a girl. A girl who, like all girls, was a princess. Enjoy this cinematic gift. And treasure it well. - H
Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 12, 2006, 6:15 p.m. CST

    Here's a headline for the 1st negative review:

    by Vim Fuego

    "Panned Labyrinth". Ho Ho.

  • Oct. 12, 2006, 6:22 p.m. CST

    This movie had better hit me right in the 12-inch rebel

    by Sir HickoryBeans McCrackin

    commando, or I blame YOU, aicn.

  • Oct. 12, 2006, 6:29 p.m. CST

    no kiddin.

    by Neo Con Snake Plissken

    Since every movie out there is complete shite, this better be good. Usually Harry's spanish twin does a good job. Between this 300 & Grindhouse - it's looking pretty bleak out there for movies.

  • Oct. 12, 2006, 6:34 p.m. CST

    Pan's Labrynth is Love

    by DOGSOUP

    Along with The Fountain and NEXTWAVE!

  • Oct. 12, 2006, 6:47 p.m. CST

    First and Last Sentences...

    by jimmy_009

    "I contributed with an unfortunate account of the disappointing Alatriste a month or so ago, and am compelled to write again, in a much happier disposition." "But most of all, it is simply a story about a girl. A girl who, like all girls, was a princess. Enjoy this cinematic gift. And treasure it well." Please don't review anymore until you learn to write in a way that doesn't make me gag.

  • Oct. 12, 2006, 6:54 p.m. CST

    hey mr bassman

    by slappy jones

    catch the fucking night bus home ahahahaha

  • Oct. 12, 2006, 8:07 p.m. CST

    Its a lovely film but, American fanboys will hate it.

    by Mr Pumblechook

    I had the good fortune to see it at the Cannes film festival. As mentioned in the above review, the film is unique in that it cant be defined with any one specific genre. Part fable, part war story, part family drama, part dark fantasy, all great. A lovely storyl My suggestion is just go in, and watch! However it is an language that is not English, and has different pacing from the usual fare. So if you are from the USA expecting the usual fluffy, Hollywood shit, with cute kids, and infilm advertising of Nike & Pepsi, then fuck right off because this film wont be for you, and I doubt you will get. You will criticise it for having too much talking and too little action. To everybody else from the civilised world- enjoy!

  • Oct. 12, 2006, 8:49 p.m. CST

    Does this movies love

    by Phategod2

    Here on AICN remind you of Superman. "I'm not saying, Im just saying"

  • Oct. 12, 2006, 9:10 p.m. CST

    Real Fanboys will Love it

    by Larry of Arabia

    I have to take exception to the previous "American Fanboys will hate it." Not the "American" part. Let's face it, the vast majority of Americans won't watch a subtitled movie unless it features aireal kung-fu. "Fanboys" on the whole, however, are smart. They don't take shit lying down and they actively seek out good movies. Sure, some fanboys are idiots - loud, obnoxious, judgemental, and easily mocked by Kevin Smith. They post on here in a race to say "first" and turn on Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorese and Steven Spielburg when they don't do exactly what they decree. They are not true fanboys, they are the worst of us. Real fanboys love movies, love film, and love their chosen genre. Harry is a fanboy. Ebert is a sci-fi fanboy. Vern a badass fanboy. Those lining up for Tideland because they love and appreciate attempts at greatness by visionay directors even if they miss the mark, who don't come online and cut the director a new one because it's "challenging" and "disturbing" are Fanboys. They are upset when someone uses film in a cynical attempt to get money like Lucas, yet understand that maybe he really isn't satisfied with the looks of the first trilogy and still love him enough to squeel with glee when he shows up on The Colbert Report for a lightsaber fight. They get nervous when a beloved icon of fanboy culture, like the Transformers, are given to a lesser director but are willing to offer the benefit of the doubt and show up in theaters on opening weekend. If it's bad they will complain, then cut it out of cannon and move on. If it's great then they will give the director the props he deserves. They realy do hope that Dr. Boll will make a great movie despite making sub-par junk for years. They know a director like Del Toro is worth watching with an open mind the weekend his movies hit theaters. So, yeah American theater goers are idots. The Fanboys, however, are smart as the rest of the world and know good stuff when they see it.

  • Oct. 12, 2006, 9:10 p.m. CST


    by Larry of Arabia

    I think I need a valium...

  • Oct. 12, 2006, 9:50 p.m. CST

    Larry of Arabia, I hear ya.

    by Happyfat73

    Those idiot fanboys of whom you speak are to fanboys what Al Quaeda is to Muslims; what Jesus Campers are to Christians. They are what Ann Coulter is to conservatives and what Michael Moore is to Liberals.</p> They know who they are - they're the ones who call 300 and Jackass "gay". They're the ones who compare anything they hate to nipples on batman. They're the premature haters and the "first" posters.</p> Having been lucky enough to see this film, I can't imagine any intelligent, reasonable person who loves good movies not recognising its greatness.

  • Oct. 12, 2006, 10:48 p.m. CST

    Hey now

    by S-Mart shopper

    Hard Boiled didn't have any kung-fu in it

  • Oct. 12, 2006, 10:51 p.m. CST

    Slappy Jones

    by nemler

    That is awesome. And here I was thinking that I was the only one out there who had heard that album.

  • Oct. 12, 2006, 11:24 p.m. CST

    There really is no reason to dislike this movie

    by the beef

    The only "problem" I had was that there wasn't enough of the fantasy as I wanted to see, but that's my problem wanting more than what the movie was about, not the movie's. It's one of the best achievements so far this year. Also, I think the bad guy captain here and Danny Huston from PROPOSITION have made two of the best screen villians in recent memory.

  • Oct. 13, 2006, 12:17 a.m. CST

    This movie is great!

    by Blaquesmith

    I saw it in Barcelona on october 11th, too, and it rocks! It really has very strong content, maybe not suitable for underages (this isn't your momma's fairytale). The fantastic bits are great, maybe you'll say too short if you really are in for the fantastic stuff... but if you're here for the dramatic/"real" stuff, maybe it'll be too weird... The nicest thing is that reality and fantasy mix well here in this movie, and it's quite accurate to actual history (it doesn't say where exactly the history takes place, maybe in Galicia or Aragon, but it shows what was happening at north Spain after the civil war). A Must-see.

  • Oct. 13, 2006, 5:27 p.m. CST

    Yep, you had a crappy projectionist...

    by labortius0

    Probably on 2 pesatas a week, too.

  • Oct. 14, 2006, 3:50 a.m. CST

    Your prepositions are dangling

    by BannedOnTheRun

    AICN makes editors cry.

  • Oct. 14, 2006, 3:49 p.m. CST

    LOL labortius0

    by El Cimarron

    nevermind the fact Spain has been on Euros for the last few years, that comment is priceless :)