Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

Well, Vaness and I went out to a movie...a rare occasion for students on a budget, but we went nevertheless. Since I had been nagging Vaness to come and see Pan's Labyrinth for a while, she decided to see it even though it's not her 'type' of movie. So we drove out of the downtown area really early to see if we could get dinner before the movie...turns out there was a Senators game that night and the 417 was a parking lot. INching our way along I was thinking...oh man, we are going to skip dinner or the movie. I presented Vaness with the idea of skipping dinner and going straight to the theater but she said no...she had just got off work and needed food or she ... would...DIE. As Providence would have it, there was a Swiss Chalet right beside the theater, and the food and service were great and we still had 5 minutes before the movie started.
Now in my head I was thinking... oh man, we're going to get there like 5 minutes into the movie, there will only be seats in the very front...we should turn back now. But we got into the theater and there were only 2 people there besides us. Perhaps that was a warning..if the traffic jam wasn't, but we didn't heed it, and sat down.

Now, I don't want to be one of those people... more common in English departments than any other I believe... who rank any movie that is just wierd as "good." Pan's Labyrinth was right up there on the wierd factor. Perhaps it was up there on the intelligence factor as well, the whole trope of labyrinth and Pan, etc. suggest that, but I still didn't really like it. I think it was like when I come home from school and I am expecting Ribs for dinner (Vaness makes incredible Ribs) and I come home and smell a roast. The roast is good, it's great, but its not ribs and, even more, its not what I was expecting. That was Pan's Labyrinth. I was expecting a Fairy Story for adults (I think one of the trailers had said that, and that's what attracted me). However, it was the exact opposite. The Fairy world is all but invisible to the adult world. ONly Ofelia can enter it and exit at will. Also, after she kills the toad under the fig tree (which was pretty cool) and defeats the death figure at the feast (also very cool and very high on the cathartic experience of FEAR) there is about 40 minutes where the whole Fairy World falls away to give precedence to the plot of the adults: the Spanish Civil war of the 40's and the battle between a psychotic and well acted role of the officer and a band of rebels in the woods. When the Fairy story continues and Ofelia has to complete her 3rd and final quest we get a glimpse of the Darkness of that Fairy world when he demands a child sacrifice. AT this point, for me, the whole movie falls apart and my belief in Ofelias world changes from true belief to a "willing suspension of disbelief." Her world, at this point, is only in her head. When her step-father (the same psycho officer from earlier) enters the labyrinth he sees Ofelia alone (but we think, or thought, she was talking to the Faun). At this point we might conjecture that the Faun and the step-father are one in the same, but are manifested differently to Ofelia in the Real world and the Fantasy world, but to me, that just undermines both worlds and the movie. I think this connection is made earlier in subtle hints, especially when the Officer demands the Doctor follow him "without question" and the Faun echoes this request to Ofelia.

If you haven't seen the movie and want to, read no further, but Ofelia dies and her blood appeases the King of the Underworld and she is taken to the halls where her Father (her real father who is a Tailor) and Mother, and the Maid (I think...but don't quote me on this) are ruling. This might be the "eucatastrophic moment" where everything is going bad and there is a sudden turn for the good. But it didn' do it for me.

So, as a roast, I give this movie a thumbs up. But I wanted ribs. So next time marketing team of pan's Labyrinth, market the movie as ribs. Don't call it a fairy story. It's not.

No comments: