Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno) is a classic fairytale fantasy film, which is placed in 1944 post-war Spain, which is ruled by Fascist dictator Francisco Franco.
The country is in turmoil and revolutionaries are still fighting his regime. The film is written and directed by Guillermo Del Toro who also directed The Devils Backbone (El espinazo del Diablo), Blade Two, and Hellboy.
The movie is centered on a young girl named Ofelia; played by Spanish child actress Ivana Baquero.
Ofelia and her mother travel to a mill, which has been converted into a base of operations for members of Franco's Army in Spain's Northern countryside.
During this time of conflict, Ofelia surrounds herself with the writings of old fairytales to tell with the continuing war and the declining health of her mother due to pregnancy.
Near the mill, a fairy guides her into an ancient Labyrinth. Once at the very bottom of a cave, Ofelia meets a Faun that believes her to be the princess of the underworld he and the fairies have been searching for.
The faun then explains to Ofelia her importance in their world, and that she is the only one who can take them back to the underworld if she completes the tasks appointed to her by the night of the full moon.
Probably the best thing about this film are the special effects and how well they are used to make the audience believe that an entirely different world maybe just under a tree.
The wonderful lighting, colors, and cinematography of this movie, allow it to change from battle scenes to the fairytale world without hesitation.
The rare things about Pan's Labyrinth are that both of its underlying stories are well made and told in the film. If this was just a war film, it would be a great film.
If you called this movie a fairytale and continued its story, it would without a doubt be compared to the other great fantasy movies such as the Harry Potter series or The Chronicles of Narnia.
One important note about this movie should be stated. This is not a children's movie. The film is rated R and for good reason. There are very violent scenes of war, torture, blood and gore throughout the film. Also much of the scenes in the fantasy world would be a bit too disturbing for kids.
Pan's Labyrinth is in theaters now; the film is in Spanish dialogue and is accompanied with English subtitles.
The film is also nominated for six Academy Awards, most notably for Best Foreign Language film.
This movie is by far one the best films I've seen in years. Del Toro's new spin on that of a classic fairytale; surrounded by the evils of war. It's a movie that all should enjoy.