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The Wrath

Pan's Labyrinth

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I have not seen any threads discussing this movie, and I'm kind of surprised because I suspect that several people on here have seen it. What do you think of it?

My personal opinion is that this movie will be remembered as one of the greatest ever made. I just watched it for the second time, and it is one of the few movies I know of that keeps me completely entranced while I watch it...particularly the second half, after most of the "fairy tale" part is over with. I'm not quite sure why I like it so much, but I think it has something to do with the contrast between Ofelia's fantasies and the harsh reality of her real life under Franco's military.

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Here's what I wrote about it back in October 2007:

I'm a sucker for a pretty picture. Seriously. Beautiful photography and stunning production design can earn a film a higher rating than its flawed premises might suggest. This is an example.

Sure fascists are bad. But the proffered alternative in this film is communism. No thank you. And the movie ends with the oh so typical altruist invocation to self-sacrifice.

Ofelia can be forgiven for trying to escape into her fantasies. She's a child under the brutal thumb of a tyrant. There's really no hope for her. And for that reason, the movie is really quite depressing.

But it is absolutely gorgeous. That's why it ranks as highly as it does.

Apparently I gave it 3.5/5 stars.

If I hadn't written that, I would not have remembered that I didn't like the ending. Over time, I have remembered the movie more for the things you mention (e.g., the contrast) and the poetic imagery than for the call to sacrifice.

It is undoubtedly an extremely well-made film, which almost makes me want to go out and see Hellboy II. Almost.

~Q

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It's not a sacrifice if she loved her younger brother. I seem to remember people making similar allegations about Bruce Willis' character in Sin City. In Sin City, Bruce Willis commits suicide so that the mafia won't hunt down and kill the only person in the world that he cares about. It isn't sacrifice to die for the sake of someone you would rather not live without.

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I haven't seen it since October, and I only saw it that once. If you've seen it more recently, then I'm more inclined to agree with you than with my own review. If I had written my reasons for thinking it was a sacrifice, I would be more willing to stand by my review. But I didn't. It was just a short review. I'll put it back on the Netflix list and see it again. The visuals alone are worth that much.

~Q

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If I remember correctly, the final scene was staged so that Ofelia would either have to murder her brother or give up and die. You can either read into that either some poo-poo altruism or the refusal to initiate force against an innocent.

If it makes you feel better, there was healthy dose of justice in the end when the fascist captain gets gunned down while Mercedes walks away with his new-born son. Right after he learns that he has no hope of the legacy he so sought.

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The faun doesn't ask her to kill him...he just asks her to prick his finger, and she won't do it. But since that's all in her mind, it doesn't really matter. What gets her killed is that she was trying to protect her brother from the captain.

Edited by Moose

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Its a very good film imo. Very violent, but I think the violence was necessary to make the contrast between the innocence of the child's world and the darkness of the adult reality even more pronounced. However I think it could have done without the love story, since it felt a bit tacked on.

If you liked PL then I'd recommend watching The Spirit of the Beehive which is a 1972 Spanish film dealing with similar themes (Spanish Civil war, childhood innocence, etc) in a more symbolic way. I think I prefer it to Pans Labyrinth, but both are great. If you like good visuals/cinematography then youll almost certainly enjoy it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spirit_of_the_Beehive

Edited by eriatarka

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Sure fascists are bad. But the proffered alternative in this film is communism. No thank you. And the movie ends with the oh so typical altruist invocation to self-sacrifice.

It's been a while since I've seen this, but I thought the alternative given was anarchism. (I know, that's not too much different from communism, but it's about as different from communism as either is from fascism, I'd say).

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It's been a while since I've seen this, but I thought the alternative given was anarchism. (I know, that's not too much different from communism, but it's about as different from communism as either is from fascism, I'd say).
Id say it's a pretty big difference in this context. Anarchists largely hated the Soviet Union and were oppressed by it within Russia. Communists and anarchists did fight together on the Republican side of the Spanish civil war, but they were at each others throats for the rest of the 20th century. There's a lot of theroetical overlap but you cant ignore how vehemenantly anti-Soviet anarchists generally were. Edited by eriatarka

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Its a very good film imo. Very violent, but I think the violence was necessary to make the contrast between the innocence of the child's world and the darkness of the adult reality even more pronounced. However I think it could have done without the love story, since it felt a bit tacked on.

What love story? I watched it last night and don't recall there being a love story.

It's been a while since I've seen this, but I thought the alternative given was anarchism. (I know, that's not too much different from communism, but it's about as different from communism as either is from fascism, I'd say).

I don't hold it against the director for making the Communists seem like good guys, since it was the only historically accurate way to display the resistance against the Falangists. There was nothing to suggest that Communism is good.

If you watch it, you'll notice that when the rebels are listening to the radio, there is mention made of the Allied invasion of France under the command of Eisenhower. Seeing as how the setting is pretty far removed from WWII, I took that as a nod towards America.

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I really liked Pan's Labyrinth. Visually it's stunning and I actually thought the ending was well done. I never viewed the ending though as having a particular message, maybe I should watch it again, it's been a few months since I have seen it. I really thought it was a very well done with great acting and some really unique visuals, it wasn't what I expected but it was nicely done.

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Just watched the movie. I am rarely glued to a movie anymore, but I was this time, for the full two hours. It's definitely one of the prettiest movies ever made, and the language is great (it's a shame that there aren't more good Spanish movies), it fits in perfectly with the music and the whole soft speech the Spanish do. This whole package comes sharply into contrast with the violence of the events, and you cannot look away for a second.

Obviously, the plot takes the backseat to the look and sound of the movie, but that doesn't make it any less beautiful. They fit together perfectly.

Also, I don't agree with any of the issues raised: it doesn't promote communism or sacrifice (if there's no way to be moral with a gun pointed-literally-to your head, then you cannot call standing up to its holder a sacrifice), and it definitely doesn't contain a love story. It accurately portrays what happens when people who are motivated by nothing but power over life and death gain that power: they destroy everything that is beautiful and perfect, like that little girl, and mold the world in their own image instead.

I also have no reason to believe that the fantasy elements had any veiled meaning we're supposed to read into them. They were what they were, an escape from an impossible reality for the girl

, a justification for her death.

(and of course a means for Del Toro to show off his fancy abilities-nothing wrong with that either)

Edited by Jake_Ellison

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I watched this and Del Toro's other movie El Orfanato or The Orphanage with my mom. We both really liked the movie. From the mystical life after death standpoint, both movies are supposed to portray a bittersweet message. Even though Ofelia dies, she gets to be the princess of the fantasy kingdom.

Despite liking the movie, I felt that the ending was a sort of a jab at atheists very similar to the movie Signs (which I also liked anyway), I felt the message was 'For you atheists, there is no hope, no fantasy to live on after death, so for all of you, this is SAD AND DEPRESSING, go cry in your pillow. But for those watching who believe, then this little girl got everything she wanted, so go be happy!'

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Jackethan, why do you think that was the message instead of "We all know this is impossible, there is no fairy kingdom, only death. It's a nice story, but that's all. Hope you enjoyed the tale." :dough:

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One of my favorite movies. Outstanding and unique storytelling with great images and acting. I'm not really concerned with the morals, but I want to get sucked into the story, I want to enter another world and see through different eyes for 2 hours and this movie succeed were most others fail.

10/10

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