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8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 1848 Ratings

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  1. SeanS.
    Jan 27, 2007
    5
    Outrageously overrated due to either the lack of good films these days or the lack of knowledge of film history to put this movie in context with the greatness of the past. Should have had more exploration of the labyrinth theme and scenes and a more provocative and deeper connection with the "real-life" scenes.
    The villain is too one-dimensional. Sure, it looks beautiful but it
    Outrageously overrated due to either the lack of good films these days or the lack of knowledge of film history to put this movie in context with the greatness of the past. Should have had more exploration of the labyrinth theme and scenes and a more provocative and deeper connection with the "real-life" scenes.
    The villain is too one-dimensional. Sure, it looks beautiful but it doesn't really make the meaningful connections that it could have with its promising double story line.
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  2. EricW.
    Feb 4, 2007
    5
    I also feel compelled to write a review questioning the almost universal critical acclaim for this movie. It has interesting visuals and was beautifully filmed. But ALL of the characters were one-dimensional. A movie with caricatures rather than characters must, by definition, fall well short of greatness, no matter how visually creative. While intertwining the girl's fantasy world I also feel compelled to write a review questioning the almost universal critical acclaim for this movie. It has interesting visuals and was beautifully filmed. But ALL of the characters were one-dimensional. A movie with caricatures rather than characters must, by definition, fall well short of greatness, no matter how visually creative. While intertwining the girl's fantasy world with her violent reality could have been groundbreaking, Del Toro merely allows the two story lines to co-exist. Neither informs the other. At best, her fantasy world is an escape (nothing in it reacts to or in any way tries to deal with or make sense of her reality), but as pure escapist fantasies go, it is quite dull and, in the end, nothing more than a plot device. *** Warning: Spoilers *** Why did she eat the grapes other than in every fairy tale, the child must break a rule? That, and they needed to have a reason for the big pale droopy skinned child eater to come after her for a few seconds of cheap horror movie anxiety. Why did the Captain, who is so calculating, so ordered, kill the doctor in a fit, yet coolly set up Mercedes to catch her escaping? Why? The final scene would not have made sense if the doctor had lived and managed to save the mother. The doctor had to die so that a medic would deliver the baby and lose the mother. Why didn't Mercedes kill the Captain? It makes no sense other than she might have escaped, foregoing the dramatic rescue scene where she nearly slits her throat, that then sets events in motion for the final scene. Ultimately, neither the reality nor the fantasy can stand on its own, and, while engrossing visually, the two parts do not make a satisfying whole. Expand
  3. mooman
    Jan 25, 2007
    4
    The best thing about this movie (and so many other movies too) is the soundtrack. The actors weren't so bad and I liked the idea of making some of that fascist Franco regime stuff viewable for a wider audience. Very clever idea to bait moviegoers with the fantasy part, and I am sure many saw the trailer (like me) and couldn't wait to see another fine fantasy film. Nevertheless, The best thing about this movie (and so many other movies too) is the soundtrack. The actors weren't so bad and I liked the idea of making some of that fascist Franco regime stuff viewable for a wider audience. Very clever idea to bait moviegoers with the fantasy part, and I am sure many saw the trailer (like me) and couldn't wait to see another fine fantasy film. Nevertheless, in the end it is just a history movie (definitely focusing on the characters and their role in this time of history) with the famous Nazi-like bad guy I have seen in so many other movies before. In the end I would say it is quite an interesting idea to combine these 2 elements and make a movie out of it, but both are working on completely different level. They just don't match in my opinion! Innocence and violence?! There are much better movies out there dealing with that topic...but surely none with at least a bit of fantasy like this one. Expand
  4. JoshM
    Jan 9, 2010
    6
    After being slightly psyched to see this, it was dissapointing. One could argue movies aren't only for entertainment but to provoke thinking etc. Possibly, but I rather entertainment. Pan's Labyrinth is thought provoking but in my opinion, not entertaining.
  5. JoshB.
    Jan 14, 2007
    6
    Great visuals, but the plot lacks quality. The "real" aspect is simplistic and uninteresting, the "fantasy" aspect doesn't make sense, and there are no meaningful crossovers or parallels between the two plot lines.
  6. KarlaG.
    Jan 21, 2007
    5
    This movie was not as fantastic as everyone is saying. I was sorely disappointed with the fantasy elements, directing and the overall story. I expected much more and am surprised to find everyone rating this so highly.
  7. MikeB.
    Jan 20, 2007
    6
    Beautifully done from a technical standpoint, but the frame story is pretty weak. The stepfather character is so over-the-top evil that he's hard to take seriously. Also, the rebels are uniformly brave and virtuous, which is pretty implausible...and not very interesting. I confess I have a lot of trouble with magical realism under the best of circumstances, so I may not be the best Beautifully done from a technical standpoint, but the frame story is pretty weak. The stepfather character is so over-the-top evil that he's hard to take seriously. Also, the rebels are uniformly brave and virtuous, which is pretty implausible...and not very interesting. I confess I have a lot of trouble with magical realism under the best of circumstances, so I may not be the best judge of that part of the movie. Nevertherless, I thought the fantasy seguences were the best part by far of what is otherwise a kind of cross between For Whom the Bell Tolls and the Halloween movies. Expand
  8. moviegoergeek
    Jan 8, 2007
    4
    I don't usually rate the movies I don't like. This being my first time ever. It is because I can't understand the praise. AT ALL. Look, in spite of real good camerawork and some interesting visuals (hence, the 4) this movie not only does LACK depht in characters, it is worse than that: some of them are the MOST DISGUSTING WALKING CLICHES I've seen in a long long time. I don't usually rate the movies I don't like. This being my first time ever. It is because I can't understand the praise. AT ALL. Look, in spite of real good camerawork and some interesting visuals (hence, the 4) this movie not only does LACK depht in characters, it is worse than that: some of them are the MOST DISGUSTING WALKING CLICHES I've seen in a long long time. Take the Captain, for instance. Not even in the dullest fairytale an evil-minded character was presented so one-sided as this one. It reminded me of Alfred Molina in that piece of crap called CHOCOLAT. Some scenes of torture are just for the sake of violence end doesn't add anything up for narrative or character development purposes. Some plot incoherences: why the hell Pan decides giving Ofelia another chance after she clearly failed to commit to her task? Because Del Toro was in need of some kind of closure?? Look, I live in a country who can really connect to military coups, torture and dissapeared people (I'm an Argentinian). I never expected these things to be treated as shallowy and gratuitous as in this movie. What is REALLY the message of Pan's Laberynth?? Because it HAS to be ANY!! After all, IT IS A FAIRYTALE, isn't it? (You know, the "Once upon a time" kind of thing - at least the movie begins that way) There must be a MORAL LEARNING at the end of it. Could be that ADULTHOOD SUCKS?? What an interesting and unique premise!!! Or there isn't? Oh wait!! It could be a fairytale with that latin-american device taken from novels and called MAGIC REALISM !! That would be GROUNDBREAKING!! Well, it's a crying shame It didn't work for THE HOUSE OF SPIRITS, and didn't work that much (at least for me) for LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLAT. So I wonder why some critics are calling this VISIONARY AND GROUNDBREAKING!! What the f***!!! I'm sick and tired of MAGIC REALISM in movies. It desguises some SOAP-OPERATIC characters trying to lecture us into something REALLY important and profound, ultimately playing for effect and saying NOTHING. I CAN SAFELY BET no one that is giving this movie the highest rating will come away knowing anything of substance about the Spanish Civil War. I CAN ALSO BET no one looking for a fantastic and inspiring fairytale will come away seeing something fresh and new (This is no EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, nor Del Toro is Tim Burton) To me, Del Toro either was not inspired nor confident enough to mesh both worlds together into something plausible or smart. And THIS IS NOT GROUNDBRAKING as some dull critics say, for God sake!!!! He is a fine director, for sure, but he seems like a man desperately in needing of a TRUE plot. Nevermind it is a fairytale or a crime-thriller. If you are looking for a Mexican director making REAL waves, try Alfonso Cuarón's CHILDREN OF MEN instead. Now, that is a movie DESERVING ALL THE PRAISES IT'S GETTING. Expand
  9. MichaelE.
    Feb 7, 2007
    6
    Not a BAD film, but it doesn't feel like anything I haven't seen before. It's flatly shot and much too literal in its portrayal of both worlds. I think it's supposed to feel like The Lord of the Rings as directed by Bunuel, but it feels more like the opposite -- Peter Jackson directing The Phantom of Liberty.
  10. JonasW.
    Mar 10, 2007
    5
    ultimately fails to tie together the fantasy and the civilwar plot. The creature scenes seam strangely stiched on to an otherwise engaging post civil war story.
  11. JeffC.
    Mar 1, 2007
    5
    Rated 98 out of 100. No way. It's short, rushed, kinda pointless. Not bad at all, just fairly boring in the end.
  12. Rex
    May 30, 2007
    6
    I will be VERY blunt . . . This film does not deserve 98 out of 100 from the critics. It blows my mind how this film deserves that kind of score. I liked the movie, yes, but blown away? No, not even close. My main impression of the movie was slow and steady. None of the acting was inspired, the dialogue was not out of this world and even the special effects were ordinary. I am to the I will be VERY blunt . . . This film does not deserve 98 out of 100 from the critics. It blows my mind how this film deserves that kind of score. I liked the movie, yes, but blown away? No, not even close. My main impression of the movie was slow and steady. None of the acting was inspired, the dialogue was not out of this world and even the special effects were ordinary. I am to the point where I think the film got 10 Expand
  13. JoshA.
    Jan 13, 2007
    4
    I don't see what all the fuss is about. It was okay. That's all. Just okay. Nothing deep. Nothing profound. The most interesting scenes -- in the labyrinth -- are about 20 percent of the movie. Just not much to write home about. Total example of critics being too scared to be the only bad review for an artsy film.
  14. A.Had
    Jan 10, 2007
    5
    The extreme violene and gore in the real-life depiction sucks the life out of the movie. Cutting back and forth between the two stories, fantasy and reality, was tiresome. The experience was laborious for me and at times just distasteful.
  15. MarkA.
    Jan 20, 2007
    4
    Vastly overrated. If you're a fan of violence and horror movies, this movie is for you. If you're looking for an engaging story, skip this one. The graphic violence and torture scenes (which together make up more of the movie than the fantasy scenes, as others have pointed out) place this movie squarely in the category of "routine horror movie", not worthy of its must-see hype.
  16. KurtS.
    Jan 20, 2007
    4
    I went to this movie with very high expectations, due to the critical acclaim in the press. Despite the intriguing visuals, the "fairy tale" aspect of this film lacked on a few key points. While classic fairy tales often weave their story between normal and alternative realities, the fantasy world of Pan's Labyrinth exists in a bubble, unaffected by the violence of war-torn Spain, I went to this movie with very high expectations, due to the critical acclaim in the press. Despite the intriguing visuals, the "fairy tale" aspect of this film lacked on a few key points. While classic fairy tales often weave their story between normal and alternative realities, the fantasy world of Pan's Labyrinth exists in a bubble, unaffected by the violence of war-torn Spain, and indifferent to changing those events. Ultimately, these two sides of the film don't speak to each other, and the viewer is forced to change gears between short snippets of a fantasy world and unrelenting, violent scenes of torture and civil war under the constant grim stare of the captain. I would have found it far more interesting if these two realities were allowed to intermingle and comment on one another. In the least, the fantasy should bring some point to the cruelties of a war-torn world. When it doesn't, this viewer is disinterested by what amounts to gratuitous violence. Expand
  17. ChazM.
    Jan 20, 2007
    4
    (**Possible SPOILERS warning**) Though this film has solid acting all around, pretty cinematography and an impressive visual imagination and control, the writing is just weak. For all the people who gave this movie a 10, can you remember me one line that stood out in your mind? Did any of the characters use--exercise--their minds or hearts deeply at any point in the story? No. They were (**Possible SPOILERS warning**) Though this film has solid acting all around, pretty cinematography and an impressive visual imagination and control, the writing is just weak. For all the people who gave this movie a 10, can you remember me one line that stood out in your mind? Did any of the characters use--exercise--their minds or hearts deeply at any point in the story? No. They were wound up with keys in their backs in the beginning and set off: the vapid mother, the gritty servant, the evil tyrant, the earnestly vapid daughter, etc. Plus, for a movie called Pan's Labyrinth, why is the Labyrinth nothing more than an easily navigated maze that ends in an easily descendced staircase to a dull pit where nothing happens other than some dull conversation. What is so magical about this? The challenges Ofelia faces seem arbitrary, unpoetic, tasklike, and none of them really challenges her mind, her spirit, her heart, etc. Compare her choosing the keybox on the left instead of the middle with the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Indy realizes the Holy Grail is the simple wooden cup, because that would be the cup of a carpenter. That scene showed both Indy's mind and his expansiveness of understanding humans. Ofelia strikes me as sort of dumbly just following Pan's directions other than her inexplicably leisurely stroll through the pale guy's lair, in which she, suddenly disregarding the faeries for no good reason, eats just one grape from a table filled with cakes and such. What was that? Del Toro thinks some really harsh violence will spice things up, but any of us could make an audience wince if you stick a sharp object where it ought not be stuck. That is no challenge, and it was so extreme as to be aggressive to the audience, and it left me with a real sense of disrespect for Del Toro as a person. Overall, such a disappointment from what this could have been. Expand
  18. JeffA.
    Jan 4, 2007
    4
    Unfortunately this movie does not live up to it's glowing reviews. It falls short in that I didn't feel anything for the characters except for disgust for the "captain' and without that basic motivator I can only say the special effects were interesting. The graphic violence was unsettling to say the least , and the scene with the archetypal figures of "God"( the father) , Unfortunately this movie does not live up to it's glowing reviews. It falls short in that I didn't feel anything for the characters except for disgust for the "captain' and without that basic motivator I can only say the special effects were interesting. The graphic violence was unsettling to say the least , and the scene with the archetypal figures of "God"( the father) , the "Virgin Mary" the mother, and the baby jesus (her brother) was as cliched as you can get. I wouldn't tell people to bother seeing it. Expand
  19. MattC.
    Feb 19, 2007
    5
    This movie is highly overratd. It is dark and depressing. The violence is gratuitous and used as a blunt tool to contrast the innocence of the protagonist. This is a weak excuse for real human tension. The special effects are good, but there is little human triumph to speak of.
  20. Kevin
    Feb 20, 2007
    5
    Disappointing - a missed opportunity. Graphic violence used to compensate for a lack of cinematic skill.
  21. JackH.
    Feb 5, 2007
    4
    While tastefully ambiguous at times, this film is too mean-spirited and gruesome for children, too simplistic and derivative for adults. Disappointing.
  22. SeanB.
    Mar 14, 2007
    4
    As someone who lives in Spain and loves history, I was looking forward to this film, especially after the critical acclaim. Sadly it was disappointing. Stereotypycal characters, sadistic fachas and good commies, sentimental, whimsical, predictable and with disturbing pedophiliac overtones. Typical modern lefty propaganda. It illuminated nothing about its historical period, childhood or As someone who lives in Spain and loves history, I was looking forward to this film, especially after the critical acclaim. Sadly it was disappointing. Stereotypycal characters, sadistic fachas and good commies, sentimental, whimsical, predictable and with disturbing pedophiliac overtones. Typical modern lefty propaganda. It illuminated nothing about its historical period, childhood or Spanish culture. Just prettily filmed fluff masquerading as art. No wonder the critics loved it. If you want to see a truly great Spanish language movie try Amores Peros, it's in a whole different league. Expand
  23. FredB.
    May 18, 2007
    5
    I thought the movie was talked about way to much. I wasn't even that good. I wouldn't ask anybody to watch this because its to dark for kids and its to dull for adults.
  24. AlexH.
    May 6, 2007
    5
    Although I can definitely see why the critics gave it the rating they did, I just can't get around the fact that I hated this movie. Yes I understand that the director was trying to make a point fascism during WWII by focusing on how pan doesn't pay attention to direct orders whether they come from a fascist leader or from an obsurd monster man whose face looks like the mask Although I can definitely see why the critics gave it the rating they did, I just can't get around the fact that I hated this movie. Yes I understand that the director was trying to make a point fascism during WWII by focusing on how pan doesn't pay attention to direct orders whether they come from a fascist leader or from an obsurd monster man whose face looks like the mask from the Saw series (really i couldn't get over that . . . ). What really got me, however, was that people seemed to think that it was a valid metaphor/analogy. I can see how watching a little girl defy a fascist government could be important, but, in all seriousness a government is nothing like a magic Saw-esque thing. When a mythical creature asks you to do something you listen. The whole movie all i could think about was how stupid Pan was and then it worked out perfectly for her and that just ruined my evening. Stupidity should be painful. Expand
  25. DannyB.
    Jul 1, 2007
    4
    Please....this movie is hopelessly overrated. Look hard enough and you will find what you want no matter what happens on the screen.
  26. KyriakosV.
    Jul 10, 2007
    5
    A boring mix of Harry Potter-Narnia and Corelli's Mandolin movies.I wonder why is so high to your ratings.If something had to win an Oscar was the trailer of the movie. Sorry but i didn't enjoy it and i was wishing to end.
  27. PrinsM.
    Mar 6, 2008
    4
    This film is vastly overrated. The plot is paper-thin and the characters so cliched it beggars belief. The overall impression is of a badly written amalgamate of half a dozen Brothers Grimm fairy tales, couple of poor war dramas and a coming-of-age, straight to TV Disney flick from the eighties. The four points are for the ideas for Pan and the white monster, and Doug Jones' This film is vastly overrated. The plot is paper-thin and the characters so cliched it beggars belief. The overall impression is of a badly written amalgamate of half a dozen Brothers Grimm fairy tales, couple of poor war dramas and a coming-of-age, straight to TV Disney flick from the eighties. The four points are for the ideas for Pan and the white monster, and Doug Jones' performance. It's surprising that such an unoriginal creation would come from the director of The Devil's Backbone and a well executed Hellboy adaptation. Expand
  28. JoeE.
    Jan 1, 2007
    4
    Oh dear, another classic for the ages (one of thousands, in the minds of moviegoers). One could quibble with the the lack stylistic variation between the "real" and the imaginary (the horrific "real" episodes are shot with a gliding horror-movie camera which robs them of conviction), but the real failing of this film is its literality. The filmmaker is obliged to enact everything going on Oh dear, another classic for the ages (one of thousands, in the minds of moviegoers). One could quibble with the the lack stylistic variation between the "real" and the imaginary (the horrific "real" episodes are shot with a gliding horror-movie camera which robs them of conviction), but the real failing of this film is its literality. The filmmaker is obliged to enact everything going on its the child's mind. No mystery is left unrifled. Viewers who are persuaded this movie is a masterpiece are urged to check out Victor Erice's "Spirit of the Beehive" which does ten times as much, with 1/10th the exposition, and which was obviously the model for Pan. Would that the filmmaker had paid closer to attention to his master. Expand
  29. MikeH
    Jan 10, 2007
    5
    This was an unnecessarily violent film that's marketed as being mostly fantasy when actually it's only 25% fantasy and 75% reality, and I didn't care about/connect with the reality narrative. I feel duped after having sat through this film.
  30. DukeC.
    Jan 10, 2007
    4
    Insane!!! But not insane enough. There is too much reality in this movie, and not enough fantasy.
  31. AdamF.
    Jan 22, 2007
    5
    What's the message of this film? I wondered about it to try to figure out why the story didn't capture me as much as I'd expected after reading the stellar reviews. Partly it was because there were a few cliches, and not the most nuanced of characters. But ultimately it was more to do with the lack of ideological distinction between Ofelia and the fascists. She has elitist What's the message of this film? I wondered about it to try to figure out why the story didn't capture me as much as I'd expected after reading the stellar reviews. Partly it was because there were a few cliches, and not the most nuanced of characters. But ultimately it was more to do with the lack of ideological distinction between Ofelia and the fascists. She has elitist fantasies, in which she and her parents rule over both people and nature (represented by the subservient body language of Pan at the end). She's nice and relaxed, and the fascists are nasty and high strung. But she's internalised much of their basic world view, not those of the freedom fighters (who's worldview is never explored). So what is the purpose of this movie? What's the message? I don't think there is much of worth. But 5 points for the creepy monsters. Expand
  32. AramisG.
    Jan 22, 2007
    5
    So sorry. The symbolism in this movie lacks the meaning that would have given this movie more emmotional and intellectual depth. Guillermo Del Toro has made a decent movie, but falls quite short of his obvious intentions to make a piece of art.
  33. BibliotechaSanchez
    Jan 20, 2007
    5
    Hmmm...I'm torn. Some unusual scenes I hadn't seen before, but then again scenes I had seen before, the bad guy facist reminded me of the bad guy from Romancing the Stone who got eaten by the crocodiles. The only good scene was the strange creature at the dining table(scary to kids, one 12 year old girl got up to walk out temporarily covering her eyes with her jacket). The Hmmm...I'm torn. Some unusual scenes I hadn't seen before, but then again scenes I had seen before, the bad guy facist reminded me of the bad guy from Romancing the Stone who got eaten by the crocodiles. The only good scene was the strange creature at the dining table(scary to kids, one 12 year old girl got up to walk out temporarily covering her eyes with her jacket). The little girl had a knife. I don't know why she didn't just cut that blind creatures heart out with it. Mel Gibson would have had her do that. Anyhow, I do not understand the good ratings on this film and I watched it intently for something great to happen, which never did. I don't get it. Is it so great because it was in Espanol? My 2 cents. Expand
  34. LP
    Jan 26, 2007
    4
    I agree with those who felt this didn't work. There were two parallel stories, one vicious and the other fantasy. They didn't really meld, in my view. Moreover, there were a lot of foreshadowing details that were extremely obvious to the point that it was just a matter of sitting and watching an already known story unfold. Lack of suspense from the nasty story line and lack of I agree with those who felt this didn't work. There were two parallel stories, one vicious and the other fantasy. They didn't really meld, in my view. Moreover, there were a lot of foreshadowing details that were extremely obvious to the point that it was just a matter of sitting and watching an already known story unfold. Lack of suspense from the nasty story line and lack of enthrallment from the fantasy story line. But, great idea and good acting. Expand
  35. SteffieG.
    Jan 26, 2007
    4
    Not worth a 98. I was expecting to see one of the best movies ever. I think it fell really flat. The characters were not very developed, the fantasy only mildly broke up the dark, evil background. It seemed like it should have been an anime movie. Just not really that impressed.
  36. AlbertaM.
    Jan 27, 2007
    5
    This really should have been two films. I would not have seen the one about the war.
  37. LewisP.
    Feb 13, 2007
    5
    [***SPOILERS***] It's strange but this film sort of reminded me a little of one of those moderately successful "Twilight Zone" episodes. Does anyone recall "The Pitchman" starring Ed Wynn? In that Twilight Zone episode a kindly street vendor makes one last 'pitch' to the Devil in order to save a little girl's life. In the end he sacrifices his own life so the girl can [***SPOILERS***] It's strange but this film sort of reminded me a little of one of those moderately successful "Twilight Zone" episodes. Does anyone recall "The Pitchman" starring Ed Wynn? In that Twilight Zone episode a kindly street vendor makes one last 'pitch' to the Devil in order to save a little girl's life. In the end he sacrifices his own life so the girl can be saved and in so doing wins a round against the Devil. Here, the 'pitchman' is a not so charming Faun creature who gives a little girl the power to save her infant brother's life but in a variation, the little girl is the one who must be sacrificed at the expense of the Devil ('the Captain'). Like in the Twilight Zone episode, the Devil takes a life but in the end loses to the forces of justice and morality (The Pitchman dies but the little girl lives; in Pan's Labyrinth, the little girl dies but the infant brother lives and in saving him, the little girl attains eternal life). The best part of the film is the dark tale of the Facist Captain who relentlessly pursues the Rebels without mercy and is pitted against Mercedes, the Rebel leader's sister who works undercover as the Captain's housekeeper. No, these characters don't have the depth of the Facists or their opponents in a film like "Schindler's List" but as far as a dark melodrama, a lot of it is as good as some of the best of Twilight Zone. The only part I didn't buy in regards to this aspect of the film was when Mercedes has the opportunity to finish off the Captain. Why doesn't she just kill him right there? The film falls down when it decides to mix fantasy with horror. While the grim scenes with the Captain have a real ring of truth, Ofelia's machinations with her fantasy antagonists take us away from the gut-wrenching scenes of war and offer us a side-show that can never come close to what's happening in the real world. While the Captain is torturing prisoners, Ofelia is stuffing stones into the mouth of a giant toad who ends up exploding! The fantasy becomes ridiculous, bordering on farce. And I didn't believe for one minute that Ofelia would eat the grapes especially after she was warned more than once (and quite emphatically) that it would be a disaster if she did. In a sense the film was very much true to Rod Serling's influence on Twilight Zone--it was Serling who wrote the majority of the overly moralistic and sappy episdoes. And Pan's Labyrinth was sappy to the hilt. The ending could have been much more powerful if Ofelia was not resurrected. Most people just can't accept that sometimes bad things happen to good people. Instead, the viewer needs to be 'comforted' with magical thinking--that the dead can be resurrected and overcome evil through some kind of miracle. It's a very Christian film without ever mentioning Christ and one sees that the basic tenets of Christianity are firmly rooted in pagan folklore. It's no surprise that the film is very highly rated across the board as most people have a thirst for these type of 'Passion plays'. What the film needed was a darker and much more clever ending, instead of another 'Jesus' meeting his father in 'heaven'. Expand
  38. SZSZ
    Apr 9, 2007
    4
    Too dry for a fairy tale, too silly for a drama. Zero excitement, with a weak point at the end. Near pointless movie experience. No idea why there's so much hype around it.
  39. DD.
    May 31, 2007
    5
    Average movie....Didn't get the hype. A little strange but nothing worth what was built up for this movie.
  40. JoeD.
    Sep 21, 2007
    4
    Definitely not worthy of a 98. I was expecting a movie that changes the way I view the world, not a confused, clumsy collage of characters and images that pre-date this movie, in some cases, by decades. Plus, with two exceptions, the acting was terrible.
  41. ES
    Jan 15, 2008
    4
    why would I want to subject myself of a Peter Pan / Hostel hybrid movie(but well shot)? Because it's critically acclaimed. I learned that you can't always rely on critic reviews for good movies to watch. I found this movie disturbing, and not in a good horror flick kind of way... more like... distasteful. It's like a stark antithesis of Pixar's Ratatouille.
  42. SammyR.
    Jan 4, 2009
    4
    This movie ripped off it's plot and it's major theme, almost verbatim, from Victor Erice's SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE, supplanting elements of the original with the carefully studied window dressing of its fantasy/reality hybrid. Nothing in it justifies the critical reception it has received; everything this movie has to say and show us has been said before, with more eloquence This movie ripped off it's plot and it's major theme, almost verbatim, from Victor Erice's SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE, supplanting elements of the original with the carefully studied window dressing of its fantasy/reality hybrid. Nothing in it justifies the critical reception it has received; everything this movie has to say and show us has been said before, with more eloquence and less self-important stylistic bombast. Expand
  43. BobN
    Jul 29, 2009
    5
    Have to agree with another rating, this film is a sort of rip from Spirit of the Beehive. Spirit is less entertaining than Pan's, but it is a deeper and more memorable film. Pan's is a good film, but it does not deserve all the praise it has gotten. Over-praised but still decent film. Great ending, but boring story.
  44. R.K.
    Jan 22, 2007
    4
    Was expecting more fantasy and a lot less gore. The cinematography was beautiful, but the characters were very 2 dimensional - desperate woman marries for convenience, cruel military husband, naive girl (or maybe somewhat stupid -would a child with a lick of common sense stop and eat grapes in the lair of a child eating monster while time is running out?), nurturing housekeeper, likeable Was expecting more fantasy and a lot less gore. The cinematography was beautiful, but the characters were very 2 dimensional - desperate woman marries for convenience, cruel military husband, naive girl (or maybe somewhat stupid -would a child with a lick of common sense stop and eat grapes in the lair of a child eating monster while time is running out?), nurturing housekeeper, likeable rebels, despicable Nazis, etc. If you want to see a war movie with blood, torture, and other nasties, go see it. If you want a good fantasy, pass it up. Some reviewers are commenting on the state of the audience at the end of the movie - I took their stunned silence not as a compliment, but more like "What the ....?" Expand
  45. Jenn
    Jan 24, 2007
    4
    This movie is over-rated. After reading the many positive reviews I was a bit dissapointed when I actually saw it myself. I was expecting more fantasy and less history. Overall I would have to say that it didn't live up to high overall ratings or my expectations.
  46. AngieH.
    Feb 18, 2007
    5
    I have real mixed feelings on this one. It is visually stunning, but there's quite a bit of violence that starts to feel gratuitious and exploitative. The critics seems to gloss over this point. Definitely not for kids.
  47. LukePowerson
    Feb 23, 2007
    5
    Don't be sad or disappointed, it's ok, really. I didn't like this one either. I agree with the previous comments by Kevin and Matt C. I don't find it suspenseful to wait and see what gross thing happens next. The cinematography was claustrophobic, every scene looked small. The sound mix is obnoxious, it's so over the top. The movie is this - little girl fantasy,Don't be sad or disappointed, it's ok, really. I didn't like this one either. I agree with the previous comments by Kevin and Matt C. I don't find it suspenseful to wait and see what gross thing happens next. The cinematography was claustrophobic, every scene looked small. The sound mix is obnoxious, it's so over the top. The movie is this - little girl fantasy, war is bad, little girl fantasy, war is bad - back and forth. Way overrated. Expand
  48. AlexR
    Jun 16, 2007
    4
    nothing to say but a corny excuse to make something like this. The fantasy is boring and predictable if good looking, especially those stupid tests she gets, the drama is ok and often shocking but for little reason than documenting a bit of history perhaps, but which has done many times and better. The acting is good, not necessarily from the girl all the time, but I wanted to watch a nothing to say but a corny excuse to make something like this. The fantasy is boring and predictable if good looking, especially those stupid tests she gets, the drama is ok and often shocking but for little reason than documenting a bit of history perhaps, but which has done many times and better. The acting is good, not necessarily from the girl all the time, but I wanted to watch a movie, not only nice photography, original landscapes full of fantastic creatures and decent acting. If all these good qualities of the film had a real purpose or effect, I would respect it more (and if it was less boring at least). This filmmaker has shown little to say, other that "cool" ideas at his best, and semi solid execution. Expand
  49. adamd
    Jul 29, 2007
    4
    I am a movie lover, and I watch a large amount of eccentric movies such as Pans Labyrinth. I went into this movie expecting a constant flow of story, combined with a lot of fantasy elements.But, after a short period of time, i realized that the movie was going into a completely incoherent direction. The biggest issue to me was the lack of character development, and the combination of two I am a movie lover, and I watch a large amount of eccentric movies such as Pans Labyrinth. I went into this movie expecting a constant flow of story, combined with a lot of fantasy elements.But, after a short period of time, i realized that the movie was going into a completely incoherent direction. The biggest issue to me was the lack of character development, and the combination of two different story arch's that to me had nothing in common. Also, it was predictable. (spoiler) An account of this would be the poorly written piece in the area of the movie in which the girl must confront the beast in the room without eating any of the feast. Of course, she does, and she has a mishap, even after a immortal from the underworld tells her that she will lose her life if she does....Maybe if i came into this movie expecting a overly violent war movie, with predictable, almost adolescent shenanigans, i might have enjoyed it. Expand
  50. DouglasR.
    Aug 31, 2007
    5
    Wow, I must not have seen the same movie that the critcs saw. I thought the characters were two dimensional, and while the idea was compelling, I think del Toro didn't pull it off. Too much violence without the soul and depth to make it matter. But hey, just my opinion.
  51. MariahR.
    Jan 19, 2008
    5
    Very shocking and grotesque. Too much war story instead of good fantasy. I like the musical scoring, though. Can't get the theme out of my head.
  52. MattH
    Aug 15, 2008
    4
    Visually stunning, with beautiful settings, decent acting and a truly haunting score this film suffers from one major flaw. It can not decide whether it wants to be a gripping and realistic war drama or a fantastical fairy tale and ultimately fails to be either. Really wanted to like this film, but in the end it is flat, pointless, needlessly violent and as others have said lacks "soul".
  53. Aug 12, 2010
    6
    Meh, having watched it twice I and agree yes it has some good direction and the violence is so much more plausible and warranted in the movie it never quite makes it past something to watch just to pass the time. For something difference give it a go but if your expecting to get blown away or see endless violence you will be sadly mistaken.
  54. Aug 28, 2014
    6
    In this movie, it was easy to pick the chacacters you liked, and the ones you hated. The difference between the two was so great; the insane violence versus the will to do good. A complete confrontation of black and white with no grey in between.

    All in all, the whole fairytales-mixing-with-reality worked really well. In the end of the story, I couldn't really tell what happened for
    In this movie, it was easy to pick the chacacters you liked, and the ones you hated. The difference between the two was so great; the insane violence versus the will to do good. A complete confrontation of black and white with no grey in between.

    All in all, the whole fairytales-mixing-with-reality worked really well. In the end of the story, I couldn't really tell what happened for real - but then again, that does not matter. It gives the story a final touch of mystery.

    The movie is visually dark and beautiful, with full of themes about love, justice, fear, caring, right and wrong... The opression of war is ever present, casting a dark shadow on every deed. It makes the people look almost desperate in a way.

    There is nothing really new as far as it comes into telling the watcher something about humanity, but the morals of the story are strong.
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  55. PnArdyPnArdy
    May 13, 2007
    6
    Great drama, unique story, not bad FX, still didn't like it much - fascists etc. - not quite entertaining.
  56. JimbeauR.
    Jan 28, 2007
    6
    This one gets my 2006 award for Movie Most Over-hyped by Intellectual Critics. Excellently acted and produced, but it ruins itself by an ending that destroys the (rather paranoidal and grim) fantasy part, which turns out to have been just a lonely girl's attempt to escape an evil reality. And knowing the historical context--that the rebels' efforts were doomed to failure and This one gets my 2006 award for Movie Most Over-hyped by Intellectual Critics. Excellently acted and produced, but it ruins itself by an ending that destroys the (rather paranoidal and grim) fantasy part, which turns out to have been just a lonely girl's attempt to escape an evil reality. And knowing the historical context--that the rebels' efforts were doomed to failure and that Franco's regime would rule Spain for another 30 years--made the ending even more pointless. Expand
  57. DaveD.
    Mar 10, 2007
    6
    I appreciate Del Toro's indictment of 20th century Europe. Ultimately, though, this film's rather unsubtle, unimaginative message: guerillas good, fascists bad.
  58. IsaacC
    Jul 4, 2007
    6
    A film that has the ideas and the story to be a classic for the older children fantasy picture bracket but misses its own point and descends into unnecessary violence to cover its lack of script, plot and any kind of satisfactory ending. Yes the world Ofelia lives in is bleak and the Spanish Civil war was violent but the stark good bad divide depicted feels forced and unnatural. Captain Vidal
  59. JimS.
    Jan 14, 2007
    6
    An earlier post mentioned the film
  60. ThatMovieGuy
    Jan 21, 2007
    6
    Eh. It wasn't as great as people made it out to be. I was expecting more fantasy and less gore, but my expectations aside, I think it was well done. Just not that great. I recommend you go see Children of Men if you want to see the best movie of the year.
  61. JBS
    Jan 8, 2007
    6
    Visually, the fairy tale elements and half of the real world segments deserve a 10, but I do agree that there was too much time spent on the rather banal rebels versus soldiers plot. Yes, there is a political point being made which is probably important to the director, but that entire plot line is so pallid compared to the fantasy plot that it really does not deserve the amount of Visually, the fairy tale elements and half of the real world segments deserve a 10, but I do agree that there was too much time spent on the rather banal rebels versus soldiers plot. Yes, there is a political point being made which is probably important to the director, but that entire plot line is so pallid compared to the fantasy plot that it really does not deserve the amount of exposition that it was given. On balance a 6, I was intrigued by not transfixed by the film taken as a whole. Expand
  62. chrisjohnson
    Feb 13, 2007
    6
    A somewhat interesting story, but with loose ends. The movie should get your attention because it is quite violent. The visuals and music should win awards.
  63. RheaR.
    Feb 14, 2007
    6
    The rating on this movie is too low. 14A is not appropriate and the movie should be rated 18A and the audience should warned about scenes of torture and violence. My son said a 14A rating was a trick so that people would go watch the movie. He wishes he hadn't.
  64. CelesteR.
    Feb 2, 2007
    6
    I am just stunned that this movie has gotten such high reviews. The violence, cruelty, torture scenes, and birthing scenes are plainly designed to manipulate your emotions every which way, and to distract you from the fact that the movie is just not very interesting. The characters are almost cartoonish in their two-dimensionality: cruel violent stepdad, ditzy mom, noble resistance I am just stunned that this movie has gotten such high reviews. The violence, cruelty, torture scenes, and birthing scenes are plainly designed to manipulate your emotions every which way, and to distract you from the fact that the movie is just not very interesting. The characters are almost cartoonish in their two-dimensionality: cruel violent stepdad, ditzy mom, noble resistance fighters. I mean, come on, life is really more interesting than that! Expand
  65. AndrewG
    Feb 5, 2007
    6
    I'm going with Celeste R. here. Cartoonish is a good way to describe this movie's moral sense and the depth of characters. I'm not convinced that the characters are 'supposed to be somewhat one dimensional'. I don't see any evidence for that claim. Instead, I think that Del Toro uses massive chunks of time for characterization, especially with "brutal" I'm going with Celeste R. here. Cartoonish is a good way to describe this movie's moral sense and the depth of characters. I'm not convinced that the characters are 'supposed to be somewhat one dimensional'. I don't see any evidence for that claim. Instead, I think that Del Toro uses massive chunks of time for characterization, especially with "brutal" scenes, but to no avail. Every time the Captain mutilates himself and others, his character becomes increasingly simple and one-dimensional, so why spend time on it? We've seen these characters a billion times before. The production quality of this movie can't be touched, but the story is a huge yawn. Expand
  66. PeteM.
    Feb 9, 2007
    6
    A little too much "reality" and not enough fantasy. The villain was just too villainous, which made it a bit boring. The trips or crossovers into the fantasy realm did not inspire any sense of wonder in me, nor was there any great build in the pacing of the movie. Given the high critic reviews, my expectations were very high, and this was a disappointment.
  67. CalvinH.
    Apr 20, 2007
    6
    Honestly, I don't know what I can say about the movie. It was pretty violent and depressing and had some really weird parts. I saw the movie about a month ago, and I still don't know how I feel about it.
  68. JarredM.
    May 19, 2007
    6
    This movie is incredibly overrated. The fantastical side of the story isn't very fantastical, and the historical side hardly has hardly any depth to it whatsover. This movie is simple and boring. I wonder if critics would get so excited about it if it was in English. I think not.
  69. NickG
    Jul 14, 2009
    6
    Trying to balance out the user-score. The movie is violent, but like a previous comment its not Kill Bill like violence, it is cruel and distasteful.
  70. DWilly
    Jan 12, 2007
    6
    Interesting, yes, occaisionally affecting, OK, but, my god! In no way deserving the numbers that would seem to indicate a great work of art. Some gaps and off-touches don't help: the beautiful mother is a creep, the girl giving into temptation seems stupid, and why doesn't that lady just kill the bastard when she has the chance! Also some things, like the faun, Pan himself, seem Interesting, yes, occaisionally affecting, OK, but, my god! In no way deserving the numbers that would seem to indicate a great work of art. Some gaps and off-touches don't help: the beautiful mother is a creep, the girl giving into temptation seems stupid, and why doesn't that lady just kill the bastard when she has the chance! Also some things, like the faun, Pan himself, seem a throwback to painfully camp Mexican SciFi. Expand
  71. JonK
    Dec 16, 2007
    6
    Not nearly as enjoyable as I had expected based on reviews. I hate to say it, but reading the subtitles distracted from the full enjoyment potential of the film. I also had a problem with some of the plot and actions. While there were subtle things going on that really require a second or third viewing, all good things that add to the masterful art of the film, I simply was uninspired.Not nearly as enjoyable as I had expected based on reviews. I hate to say it, but reading the subtitles distracted from the full enjoyment potential of the film. I also had a problem with some of the plot and actions. While there were subtle things going on that really require a second or third viewing, all good things that add to the masterful art of the film, I simply was uninspired. Sometimes art can be technically correct but not connect. While it clearly connected with many, it didn't with me or my wife. She somewhat strongly disliked it. Expand
  72. Jreb
    Jan 22, 2007
    6
    The theatre was packed when I went to see this movie so I was in the second row and found it very hard to see what was going on and reading the subtitles was very hard. Overall it was a good movie, but has been misadvertised and overrated. Worth seeing though, as it was engaging, beautiful, and original. In fact it was one of the most original movies ive seen in a long time.
  73. JasonJ.
    Feb 28, 2007
    6
    98/100? I don't think so. It's a good try at something new, and maybe that in itself deserves a lot of praise. The first half of the film is far too slow to deserve such a high score. I found myself wanting to leave the theater by the second half, but the story began to speed up a bit so I stayed. The allegory is a bit too peice-meal. The monsters were neat, but where did they 98/100? I don't think so. It's a good try at something new, and maybe that in itself deserves a lot of praise. The first half of the film is far too slow to deserve such a high score. I found myself wanting to leave the theater by the second half, but the story began to speed up a bit so I stayed. The allegory is a bit too peice-meal. The monsters were neat, but where did they come from? Kudos on being set in Franco-era Spain; it was definitely a good start. Keep the new ideas flowing. Spiderman 3? Give me a break. How much further can our culture fall? Expand
  74. MicheleC.
    Apr 16, 2007
    6
    I don't know how to describe it exactly, but something intangible was missing in Pan's Labyrinth. It had no soul. I felt beaten and battered by the time the movie ended. My friend and I sat in shock as we watched the film credits. The bloodshed and violence were gratuitous and pointless. This is the first movie we didn't discuss afterward, nor will we ever watch it again. I I don't know how to describe it exactly, but something intangible was missing in Pan's Labyrinth. It had no soul. I felt beaten and battered by the time the movie ended. My friend and I sat in shock as we watched the film credits. The bloodshed and violence were gratuitous and pointless. This is the first movie we didn't discuss afterward, nor will we ever watch it again. I was really disappointed. I can't fathom why critics praised this depressing horror story. Expand
  75. ChrisG.
    May 21, 2007
    6
    Movies with this high of a rating from so many critics need to be able to appeal to viewers who are not fans of the genre. Star Wars and LOTR are examples of this. Pan's Labyrinth falls short in too many areas. Not a horrible film, but certainly not worthy of the hype.
  76. DavidH
    May 28, 2007
    6
    Pan's Labyrinth is a dark fairy tale much in the vein of a Grimm Brothers or H.C Andersen story (pre 19th-20th century 'happy ending' rewritings) Not suitable for children, the story is set in franco spain, and much of the story is allegorical, and in parts this tale is also very brutal. It is, in many ways, an adults only film.
    So why the low score? Well after watching the
    Pan's Labyrinth is a dark fairy tale much in the vein of a Grimm Brothers or H.C Andersen story (pre 19th-20th century 'happy ending' rewritings) Not suitable for children, the story is set in franco spain, and much of the story is allegorical, and in parts this tale is also very brutal. It is, in many ways, an adults only film.
    So why the low score? Well after watching the film, and reading the reviews, I began to wonder whether the amazingly high rating was in fact due to americans incredulity that a film can even be made outside of hollywood. I was also slightly worried that it gains an extra 20-30 points (or 2-3 marks) simply because the critic wishes to appear cultured. Is there anything intrinsically wrong with Pan's Labyrinth? No. But there are stories better told, and movies better shot. If you watch pans labyrinth, you won't go away particularly disappointed. If you watch pans labyrinth based on the reviews on this site, you will go away feeling empty, as this film is average at best
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  77. AdrianG.
    Jun 22, 2007
    6
    Kinda like Peter Pan and Hostel in one movie.
  78. KoryN
    Jul 23, 2007
    6
    Pan's Labyrinth is better than many movies. Unfortunately, that is not saying very much. The movie is very visually attractive: beautiful photography, very good effects and make-up, and great scenery. It has decent acting and the story is told in an interesting manner. However, portions of the plot are foggy at best. Writer/director del Toro eventually gets around to presenting the Pan's Labyrinth is better than many movies. Unfortunately, that is not saying very much. The movie is very visually attractive: beautiful photography, very good effects and make-up, and great scenery. It has decent acting and the story is told in an interesting manner. However, portions of the plot are foggy at best. Writer/director del Toro eventually gets around to presenting the viewer with a moral to the story, which is good enough and perhaps even insightful. But the key (if they can even be considered as much...) events in the plot simply transpire for little or no reason. No significance is given to the tasks that the main character performs. We see no consequences, good or bad, occur as a result of the protagonist's seemingly purposeful quests. Fairy tales, as this story may be described, may normally contain some arbitrary elements, but this is a bit much. This movie could be likened to a connect-the-dots or paint-by-number activity that, when completed, looks like a blob. And the moral of the blob is to make your own decisions, don't just follow orders. Expand
  79. AdityaA
    Nov 24, 2009
    6
    I think this movie is overrated, the ending was good but the plot was bit boring & violent for me.
  80. Oct 28, 2014
    4
    Under pretense of being a dark fairytale, Pan's Labyrinth bounces between the fantasy outlook of a child, and a retelling of the final days of the Spanish civil war, failing at both.

    On one side, we have an overly simplistic caricature depiction of the horrors of the civil war, punctuated by hamfisted moments of hyper violence, that border on pedantry and textbook shock tactics. This
    Under pretense of being a dark fairytale, Pan's Labyrinth bounces between the fantasy outlook of a child, and a retelling of the final days of the Spanish civil war, failing at both.

    On one side, we have an overly simplistic caricature depiction of the horrors of the civil war, punctuated by hamfisted moments of hyper violence, that border on pedantry and textbook shock tactics.
    This serves as the backdrop of the story of a young girl who, having lost her father, is forcibly "adopted" by a laughably sadistic Franquist general, who has taken her mother as his new wife.

    As the story progresses, she, the sensitive innocent soul, wonders off into rather unimaginative adventures that she believes, are real. As expected, her adventures get her into a number of problems with his adoptive father, who chews the scenery through the whole production.

    Possibly one of the bluntest, less subtle and most unrefined approaches to both children's fantasies and historical/political war drama that I have ever seen.

    Luckily some of the set design and the creature concepts are extremely well done, which makes the movie at least mildly amusing.
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  81. Jan 31, 2015
    5
    The movie is visually stunning and the special effects are awesome,but,the movie is boring.Nothing really interesting happens in it and the movie is long for nothing.But,at least the acting is pretty good.
  82. mcp
    Mar 4, 2015
    4
    I opened an account in metacritic just so I could share how much I disliked this movie. I am a fan of fantasy; even at my ripe age, The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie. But in Pan's Labyrinth, the character of the captain was so over the top as to be annoying, not really evil. That the mother could be in love with him, or even just using him for security, sex, etc. was simply notI opened an account in metacritic just so I could share how much I disliked this movie. I am a fan of fantasy; even at my ripe age, The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie. But in Pan's Labyrinth, the character of the captain was so over the top as to be annoying, not really evil. That the mother could be in love with him, or even just using him for security, sex, etc. was simply not believable. On the other hand, Miss Gulch and the Wicked Witch were believable.

    I am still baffled that a talented filmmaker like Del Toro could leave me so flat, and that many others give this move such high ratings.

    The movie does deserve kudos for its special effects.
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Metascore
98

Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 37
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 37
  3. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    Pan's Labyrinth artfully fuses a war film with a family melodrama and a fairy tale. The result is visually stunning and emotionally shattering.
  2. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    100
    Dark, twisted and beautiful, this entwines fairy-tale fantasy with war-movie horror to startling effect.
  3. 100
    One of the greatest of all fantasy films.