Pan's Labyrinth

Pan's Labyrinth ★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

I apologize.

I really wanted to love this, and I appreciate the thought and effort that went into picking it for me. Unfortunately, I have so many gripes with this film.

First off, I found the protagonist, Ofelia, to be mostly boring. I never really found her interesting as a character. I never found any of her actions, reactions, or thoughts to be interesting. She felt like a blank slate character which didn't work for me in this instance.

The fantasy story-book elements didn't really interest me all that much either. The fantasy world side of the movie actually felt really shallow to me and pretty dry. The Faun, fairies, and the Pale Man weren't bad, but for that to be the extent of that side of the film made me disappointed.

Instead of fantasy world-building or even the main character, it seemed like most of the film revolves around depicting the atrocities committed by the villain of the film, Captain Vidal. To me, it almost felt like misery porn in the way the film reveled in how evil this guy was and all the evil shit he did. It just became not enjoyable to watch. I didn't feel like the film was inventive enough in conveying a message to justify the shit we had to witness. What was the film really trying to say? "War is bad"? "Fascism is bad"? The end message doesn't justify the means of getting there.

SPOILER ALERT
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The conclusion the film comes to is that Vidal's newborn son won't even know who his father is or what his name was. The film decides that Vidal doesn't deserve that right, but this is a strange contrast to how much of the film revolves around the evil shit he does. I was starting to wonder while watching if he has more screentime than Ofelia does.

The biggest gripe I had with the film though, is in the ending. The film ends with Ofelia, the 10-year-old girl, getting shot by Vidal and dying. The film depicts this as a moment of beauty when it is everything but that. It was completely unnecessary and yet it happened. To further what point? I don't believe in martyrdom. I don't believe in death for the "greater good" in cases of real-world tragedy. Ofelia's death was so fucking pointless and just felt like a Del Toro trying squeeze as much emotional duress out of the viewer as possible. This really angered me and rubbed me the wrong way. I just watched a 10-year-old girl die and what did I get from it? Nothing.

Honestly, I see why this is such a hit but to me, it just felt extremely emotionally manipulative. This is definitely one of my worst reviews. Honestly, I didn't wanna review this, but I feel like I owe my person an explanation for such a low score. I don't know how to end this half baked piece of shit so uh, I guess I'll just end it.

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