Pan’s Labyrinth

YOUTUBE VIDEO: This YouTube video provides an interview of Doug Jones, the actor in Pan’s Labyrinth who played the faun and the “Pale Man”.  In this interview he explains how he put these characters to life by wearing the necessary makeup and animatronic-suit.

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Pan’s Labyrinth is Guillermo del Toro’s 2006 dark fantasy drama film that takes place in Spain in 1944 – five years after the Spanish Civil War.  Ofelia, a little girl, is the main character.  Her stepfather, Captain Vidal, hunts down the Spanish Maquis revolutionaries who fight against the Francoist regime.  Ofelia grows to hate her stepfather as he unjustly tortures the guerrillas and kills the people associated with them.  Ofelia’s mother is pregnant, but is growing sicker as time passes.  Ofelia finds an abandoned labyrinth, where she meets a faun who offers her a chance to save her mother and her mother’s child.  Specifically, she is assigned three tasks by the faun to complete before the full moon is set.  These tasks require Ofelia to remove herself from the human world and bring herself, with the assistance of the faun, to the fairy tale world where she must retrieve certain items that will save her mother.

Pan’s Labyrinth is a very beautiful film, and seems to have an underlying theme of childhood innocence (watch the ending, after the whole movie, of course).  Other themes that I found from this movie was the value of serving others, and the awful repercussions of violence.

Guillermo del Toro did extensive research into Greek and Roman mythology for this film, and also gathered inspiration from several other books and movies, such as Lewis Carroll’s Alice books.  The film has minimal CGI, and del Toro tried to focus mainly on using real actors and animatronics to make the fictional characters seem as real as possible.  I think it was a good choice for him to use real elements instead of CGI to make his characters come to life because in reality, CGI is commonly overused in cinema today.  Of course, sometimes it is necessary, but many times opportunities are passed up to expand the creativity of a film by making it come to life.  I think that Guillermo del Toro did the best job he could have possibly done with this film, and it is definitely a movie that is very hard to take a break from.


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