Sunday, March 18, 2007

The MRH Review: FAUN'S Labyrinth!

What more to say about Pan's Labyrinth, indeed? Well, I seen it, that much I know. Since he was at the Oscars, Guillermo Del Toro kinda reminds me of the Mexican Bob Zemeckis. There may be someone more qualified in that regard, I don't know, probably Robert Rodriguez, but Del Toro appeals more to adults in my limited experience. The film's still pretty darn high in the IMDb Top 250, which sometimes can be better than any ol' Oscar (3 Oscars: cinematography, makeup, art direction), but we still have to wait for Hellboy 2, don't we?

Anyway, I know it's a good movie and all, but as fantasy it just seems a little threadbare. Personally I need my film fantasies to be more like Terry Gilliam's stuff, or Lord of the Rings. It was different and original, as far as I know, I'll give 'em that. Although I must say that some of the recoil of the bodies getting shot at close range didn't seem realistic; as an action director Guillermo should've paid better attention to that, seeing as how it's a faerie tale for adults and all.

For those who are unfamiliar with the plot, it's about a darling little girl who retreats into her fantasy world at a remote cottage turned temporary army base in post-Franco Spain in World War II. And even though it is a period piece I can't help but draw comparisons to Dubya's White House anyway, as embodied by the cruel stepfather Capitán Vidal. While not an immediate parody of Dubya himself, Vidal seems to me to be an amalgam of Cheney and Rumsfeld, and all the other covert ass-kickers of this administration. The only difference being that Vidal gets his in the end, but before he does he has to do some rather gruesome self-stitchery, which was painful but still didn't look as painful as in Jean de Florette.

The fantasy sequences are few and far in-between, which perhaps makes it one of the best jobs of credibly blending fantasy and reality in recent cinema. Or maybe it's just a sign of the times, I don't know. (notice how both worlds ultimately demand unquestioning loyalty?) And while the online critics will bicker over it, the little girl sure was cute, which makes the ending all the more shocking. Still not dying to see it? Shame on you, then. It's currently out only on Region 3 DVD, so it just may be time to spring for a region-free DVD player.


-so sayeth the Movie Review Hooligan

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