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Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics What's this?

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8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 1584 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Guillermo del Toro delivers a unique, richly-imagined epic with Pan's Labyrinth, a gothic fairy tale set against the postwar repression of Franco's Spain.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 37
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 37
  3. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. 100
    A swift and accessible entertainment, blunt in its power and exquisite in its effects.
  2. 100
    Del Toro never coddles the audience. He means us to leave Pan's Labyrinth shaken to our souls. He succeeds.
  3. Like the folk tales from centuries past, Pan's Labyrinth is a dark odyssey with nightmarish visions and cruel threats, but coming through the sacrifice and suffering is the childlike belief in magic and imagination that for Del Toro represents the hope and optimism of a happily ever after in this cruel world.
  4. 100
    Del Toro's film ranks with the best examinations of children's inner lives, but be warned: Its haunting insights are best left to adults.
  5. A critic trots out the word "masterpiece" at his own peril, but there it is.
  6. 91
    After two hours of dazzlingly fantastical images and stomach-turning gore, del Toro winds around, and finds his story's center.
  7. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    80
    There's plenty of blood -- both literal and figurative -- coursing through the veins of Pan's Labyrinth, a richly imagined and exquisitely violent fantasy from writer-director Guillermo del Toro.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 79 out of 648
  1. Apr 2, 2013
    10
    Bravo Mr Del Toro, Bravo! You have succeeded in creating an engaging, compelling feature, combining fear and fantasy whilst exploring numerous issues including the deterioration of creativity as a result of exterior influences and the horrific impact of War. The acting is superb,Ivana Baquero is brilliant as Ophelia, vulnerable and inquisitive, her performance is frankly, worthy of an Oscar Nomination. Sergi Lopez is also brilliant as Vidal, Del Toro has effectively contrasted the respective natures of the two characters, Ophelia represents youth, creativity and optimism whilst Vidal is callous and violent. Del Toro's greatest success is the creation of Ophelia's alternate dimension. Stunning visual captivate a scene both beautiful and morbid. Del Toro has succeeded again in constructing a brilliant story from a concept that, without exceptional acting, set design, score and screenplay composition would fail to impress. Expand
  2. Oct 12, 2012
    10
    This movie moved me deeply in 2006, and hasn't stopped moving me since. The final scene is playing on a perpetual loop in the background of my mind. It is a canonical work of art. Expand
  3. Jan 11, 2014
    10
    Pan's Labyrinth is one of those movies whose sound and look is so distinctive that you instantly recognize it. Guillermo del Toro combines great storytelling and elements of fantasy to create a surging plot which succeeds in capturing our imagination, mood and emotions.

    We follow two story lines. The one rooted in reality is about a secluded small town ruled by a despotic captain tasked with wiping out the remnants of the resistance which has taken shelter in the surrounding jungles. The other one is about a young girl, Ofelia, who is forced to accept the captain as her stepfather. She is fond of fairy tales which she carries everywhere. Whether the faun promising her passage to the virtually perfect world is an escapist fantasy of hers or not is left up to the viewer to decide.

    Del Toro relies chiefly on score, voice-over and narration to create momentum. The editing was successful in keeping the audience eyeing every dialogue. The fact that the majority must have been following subtitles for the entire length of the movie did not lessen the effect the film has on you, but on the contrary created a world that was mesmerizing.

    The movie is set in Francoist Spain. The art direction painted a vivid picture of the 1940s through depicting the buildings, cars and costumes of that era. We also get to witness some of the lifestyle of the time. The faun creature, who gives Ofelia tasks to complete in order to gain entrance into the Underground Realm was a particularly unique creation. The work done deserved the Oscar it received.

    Frequently the story transitions into the fantasy part. We learn about the lost princess, who Ofelia thinks is herself. The pregnancy of Ofelia's mother is a major concern throughout the movie. It is feared that there's an informer for the rebels inside the camp, of whose identity Ofelia comes to learn of.

    The captain is a megalomaniac who insults people with his every breath and is bent on destroying the insurgency. Despite proof of his madness, Del Toro resists the temptation of painting him as an irredeemable person. He shows leniency now and then, and on one occasion hints that loyalty to him would have worked out better for a certain character. He is a man built for conflict, and actively seeks it. He always carries a watch on him which ticks loudly to keep him on schedule, even in the middle of gunfights. He is also fond of torturing captured people.

    The action sequences were well drawn and made what was happening clear. Light is used to control mood. The score is poignant and memorable and haunting. The visual effects creates the creatures of this fantasy world which rivals any done by the mainstream Hollywood. A lot of this creativity went into showing how people were killed.

    The pace picks up during the second half. The resistance becomes bolder and gets reinforcements. There were a few scenes of cathartic killing and blood-letting. And we also learn the final fate of the main characters.

    Despite the fact that the fantasy element has a marginal effect on the progress of the story, the movie becomes something special with its inclusion. The contrast between a child's wish to be somewhere safe where she would be loved and the skirmishes between the government troops and the rebels finally makes the message very clear in the end.
    Expand
  4. Feb 8, 2013
    10
    Acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro ("Hellboy", "The Devil's Backbone"), creates one of the most exciting and visually stunning adult-themed fables ever. "Pan's Labyrinth" is one of the cinema's great fantasies--rich with darkness and wonder. It's a fairy tale of such potency and grandeur, that it reconnects the adult imagination to our primal thrill, and horror stories that held us spellbound as children. As gruesome and brutal as it is enchanting and spellbinding--"Pan's Labyrinth" is a movie intended for adults. It is a harsh, uncompromising film--but equally just as beautiful and moving."Pan's Labyrinth" is itself a narrative maze, with multiple stories that branch apart and back together again. This dark fairy tale plays out against the backdrop of Spain in 1944. A monstrous Fascist captain (López) is determined to flush out soldiers of the resistance, as his pregnant wife arrives at his countryside headquarters with her young daughter. The young girl Ofelia (Baquero), escapes the brutality of her new environment by drifting into a fantasy world where she comes across a mysterious faun. The faun tells her that she is a princess from a kingdom in the underground. The faun also tells that her that her father is waiting for her, but she needs to accomplish three challenging and dangerous assignments first. Ofelia's challenges do not arise like arbitrary plot obstacles--they are organic to her (and the movie's) development. She learns not only to follow instructions--and that there are heavy prices to pay for failing to abide by them. But also to trust her own instincts about what is right and wrong. In order to find her true self, she must also find the her inner-strength to break the rules imposed by authority. An individual conscience. What could be a more powerful anti-fascist weapon than that?
    In a dark, harsh, and violent world, Ofelia lives in her magical world trying to survive her tasks and see her father again. Soon, the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur, and before Ofelia can turn back, she finds herself at the center of the ferocious battle between Good and Evil. Incredibly unique fable that blends fantasy and fearsome violence, ultimately merging the two stories together. Superbly realized--a rare film that invites repeated viewings to fully absorb all that writer-director del Toro has put into it. Oscar winner for Cinematography, Makeup, and Art Direction.
    Expand
  5. Jan 7, 2012
    10
    Not only is this movie visually stunning, ranging from innocent beauty to gruesome reality, not only does the director, Guillermo Del Toro, perfectly contrast a young girl's fantastic fairy tales with the Captain's brutality in war, Pan's Labyrinth is a moving and even philosophical story of someone trying to cope with the horrors of real life, a fable that transcends time. Probably one of the greatest movies ever made. Expand
  6. Jan 24, 2014
    9
    ''Stunning.'' Inventive.'' ''A Masterpiece and nearly the greatest film ever made..'' In misery there can be beauty... In death there can be life..In simplicity, there can be Greatness... Pan's Labyrinth will fires your nerve. Expand
  7. Jan 24, 2013
    0
    The only "tale" here is the historical aspect. And it's rather a sad tale since it's a blatant propaganda. Other than that, questions arise like: Why so brutal? Why so dystopian? And why is the hourglass one fifth full after a few seconds but goes on for several minutes after that? One of the worst movies I've ever seen... Expand

See all 648 User Reviews

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