Monday, 5 April 2010

Pan's Labyrinth

I’m depressed at the best of the times, but I’m usually happy enough not to stick my head in the oven and end it all. That was before I watched cult Spanish film Pan’s Labyrinth. Now I’m waiting for the oven to heat up.

This film was advertised as a scary film where a kid gets taken to a fantasy world and meets tons of weird and crazy creatures. Sure, that does happen (sorta) but it takes up a surprisingly small amount of the film. The rest of the film is based firmly in the real world, and the real world is tough as shit.

It’s post civil war Spain, circa 1944, and little protagonist Ofelia is being taken with her pregnant mother to an army outpost where a small army are fighting against a group of rebels which live in the surrounding forests (and where the father of the unborn baby, the sadistic bastard Captain Vidal, lives). Once there, Ofelia meets a faun in a labyrinth who tells her that she must perform three tasks in order to become queen of a far-off fantasy world.

That’s as much as the promos tells you. What it doesn’t tell you is that, as Ofelia goes on her magic quest, people are being tortured and murdered around her and her mother is slowly dying throughout the film when her pregnancy goes wrong. Add to the fact that all the fantasy elements are heavily implied to all be in Ofelia’s head and that the film has one of the biggest downer headings I’ve ever watched, I was slashing my wrists and listening to My Chemical Romance before it was down.

It’s a very powerful film. It cleverly and intelligently explores several themes about stories and fables, as well as the classic idea of reality vs. fiction. It’s a great film with brilliant special effects and is well worth watching. Just don’t enter the film thinking that it’d be a magical fantasy romp like I did, because it’s not. Oh god is it not.

Hey, my ovens ready. See ya.

Bonus Review!

When I wasn’t slashing my wrists and crying, I found time to watch “The Eleventh Hour”, the first episode of the new series of Doctor Who and Matt “11th Doctor” Smith’s premier episode. Basically, it was brilliant. Matt is great as the Doctor, managing to be likable even when breaking into the house of the 7-year old, making her cook breakfast for him and then spitting it out when he doesn’t like that she’s done for him.

The script is fast-paced, lively and hilarious and the entire thing was very enjoyable. Bring on the next 12 weeks!

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