This is the ninth movie I saw at the Hollywood Arclight Cinemas.
So Guillermo Del Toro, who directed such films as Hellboy (aka, haha, Super Sapiens!) and Blade II, walks in and talks and talks for four mins before the film started, which is longer than usual, as most directors usually just pump in a few sentences and then let's the audience watch the film. I haven't seen any of his films, so I was quite hopeful when he said things like "I've worked at some Hollywood movies and I'm tired of the fucking target audience, so I decided to make a film, to hell with the fucking target audience, coz you are my fucking target audience", to happy cheers from the audience.
You betcha the film belongs in the overyped category.
Now, untypically, I don't know much about the story behind the movie. Someone might want to try and correct me if I'm wrong, but this is how I'm interpreting it. Del Toro is basically trying to say that fairy tales don't have to be girly and childish and happy music (or not-scary scary music). So he made Pan's Labyrinth to be almost a horror film with heavy political drama elements and mild war elements with quite a lot of dark and violent and gory scenes, even though one of two strands of the story involves a little girl in her fantasy.
You see, another film made a few years ago also made a spin on the fairytale story, except not towards the direction of horror. That film was Shrek. Shrek was funnier as a spin on fairytales than Pan's Labyrinth was scarier as a spin on fairytales. That's how I saw it. (The Snow White movie with Sigourney Weaver as evil queen was kinda along the same lines as well ... but never mind.) No I'm not suggesting Del Toro is trying to create something totally original here, but certainly he wants to make a fairy tale story that is not for children but for adults only.
Except, there isn't much of a fairy tale here.
Which isn't a problem, really. (There's no other way, that I can see, to advertise the film.) The problem is it didn't capture me, the story, for the most part. I mean, it was good over all - it's frightening, it's tense, and it isn't scared of killing off characters that we ... kinda know already might be killed off coz the rule recently is that anyone can die, who cares about little girls and kind maids and babies. The music and sound effects were hugely overbearing. Which I don't like, but which I acknowledge did its job coz it was very uncomfortable. And there was one violent scene where the audience cheered and I did silently as well coz the villain was positively villainous and his comeuppance was overdue.
But it didn't capture me. It sure did capture a lot of other people though. I think they think it is very imaginative, very otherworldly, something like that. Perhaps. But the faun looked really rubbery. So did the eye-on-hands creature. Worse, their movements, acting for a little girl to see. It's fine, it's not that I expect them to have a huge budget if they go out of the studio system. But don't call it a masterpiece. Not when the faun moves like that.
How Good I Think The Film Is: 7/10
How Much I Like It: 5.5/10
At What Point Did I First Looked At My Watch: 60 mins
PS - This was a midnight screening. So I walked home at 2.30 am in the morning, and I think I must have passed at least 5 homeless guys sleeping under thick blankets in my ten min walk home.
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