Pan’s LabyrinthAn excellent film from our neighbors to the south

What comes to mind when you think about the Spanish civil war of the late to mid-1930s? The revolution that erupted at that time is often overshadowed by World War 2 that began at the end of that war. The end of the Spanish Revolution gave rise to one of the most fascist governments in recent history. The violence and terror that was unleashed is summed up in the film Pan’s Labyrinth by Mexican director and screenwriter Guillermo Del Toro. Pan’s Labyrinth has been gaining momentum since its release in Dec. 2006, and shows no signs of slowing down. It has won dozens of awards, as well as its recent nominations for six Academy Awards. Its nominations are for Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Foreign Film, Best Art Direction, and Best Makeup. Although it faces stiff competition in all six categories, Pan’s Labyrinth’s nominations are well deserved. Upon viewing the film it is easy to see how the areas in which it received honors are above and beyond some of the best films. Many students are hesitant to watch the film because they don’t want to read the English subtitles during the movie. “I would probably watch the movie, but it would be a lot harder to concentrate on the film if I was trying to read the subtitles,” senior Steven Reints said. Originally filmed in Spanish, this is definitely one of the best films ever to come from Mexico. Pan’s Labyrinth is currently on over 130 top ten lists across the country, making it well respected nationwide. If Pan’s Labyrinth has any faults, it would most likely be the extensive use of the gore throughout the film. “It was a good film, but I don’t do very well with gore, and there was a bit of it,” English teacher Chuck Ripley said. One of the more grotesque scenes shows the leading villain stitching his mouth back to its normal width, after it had been sliced with a cooking knife. Del Toro tried to display the extreme use of needless violence that was prevalent during the Spanish Revolution, but there are some points in which the violence was unnecessary. The film revolves around the battle between good and evil, and one girl’s fantasy to escape from everything around her. The girl, named Ofelia, is met by fairies, a faun, and evil creatures that help or hinder her quest to return to her position as princess in an underground kingdom. The film focuses more on the Spanish Revolution than her fantasy, despite an underlying implication that the fantasy is more important to the plot. Overall, the film was produced fluidly with attention to detail. It is fairly similar to the Chronicles of Narnia, but far darker and more violent. The film is accompanied by a spectacular soundtrack, which consists mostly of original pieces written for an orchestra. It deserves all of the nominations it has received for Oscars, and despite competition, Pan’s Labyrinth is up for the challenge.