Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando
Ofelia ventures into a nether world in Pan's Labyrinth
This awards season Guillermo Del Toro is one of three Mexican directors stirring Oscar buzz. Del Toro delivered the Hollywood hit Hellboy in 2004. But this year his film Pan's Labyrinth (opening January 12 at Landmark's Hillcrest Cinemas) is Mexico's official submission for the Best Foreign Film Oscar.
Guillermo Del Toro represents a new breed of Mexican filmmaker, one who straddles multiple cultures and works globally. Take his new film. Pan's Labyrinth is a co-production of Mexico, Spain and the United States. It's set after the Spanish Civil War, but Del Toro says it was inspired by the political climate in the U.S.
January 27, 2007 at 08:07 PM
I thought this movie was enchanting. The dichotomy between real world violence and beautiful fantasy really engaged me. I can't wait to buy this on DVD and analyze it. -----
February 18, 2007 at 06:51 PM
I think this movie looks great, it looks like a movie I would like to see, but its not in english! Im not going to waste my time watching it b/c its a freakin joke.. I dont want to watch a movie I cant understand, and have to read the annoying subtitles. Thanks for the great movie...
March 05, 2007 at 11:43 AM
This movie is a simply political pamphlet masked as a tall. Civil Spanish war was more complicate than a 'black or white' history an dit is very critical about the people without any blame, which saw haw extreme red and righ political tendencies squashed the pacific population. And those pacific population such as the quiet coutry people and the quiet 'Guardias Civiles'. Pan's Labyrint defends violence of the extreme red political tendencies and critizies pacifist people hard. During Spanish Civil War, Communists and Anarchist were so brutal and carried out so many violation of the human rights as Francoists forces. The film defends a false reality. But , as many humanistic things, this is only understandable outside USA. Amreicans like the film because they have never understand actually what is an political extreme. Then they do not understand why a war can not finished with great armies. Do you remember Vit-Nam?Do you understand what is going on in Irak? Therefore , you can't understand what political trap Pan's Labyrint is.
May 14, 2007 at 08:20 PM
This movie was visually appealing. However though I need to watch it again to really grasp it in its entirety. I think a good site to get the movie at a killer price is www.imoovie.com Just a suggestion for those interested! =)
May 15, 2007 at 07:34 PM
this movie looked great, UNTIL i saw that it was in SPANISH ONLY. Guillermo Del Toro: if you woulda made this movie in english im sure it would have actually made money . i thought most people learned from making subtitle movies, THE$REs no money in it. i am returning my copy i encourage every ENGLISH speaking person not to purchase this movie.
May 17, 2007 at 03:52 AM
I can identify with Ophelia. I tried so hard to keep my good father healthy in the hospital like she with her mother, but my employer(like the evil captain) denied me my federal right for the Family Medical Leave Act FOUR TIMES thus not enabling me to oversee my 84 year old father's care after hip surgery. He caught pneumonia as an inpatient and died a few weeks later. My employer is the captain-evil.. I hope to see my father soon like Ophelia did in a better world...
May 17, 2007 at 02:40 PM
joe wolf, you're an idiot. anyone who wouldn't watch this movie because of subtitles is ignorant (your loss.) we all know how to read, we went to elementary school remember? i doubt the director had money in mind when he made this movie because he chose to go independent. please, please stop posting things like this on websites because you're embarassing yourself, and all of america. thanks!
May 18, 2007 at 03:05 AM
i like this movie but i would like to have it english and to in subtitle so will ther be a english vergin tape sorry for the spelling
May 18, 2007 at 04:56 AM
found it in english. dont know if it is realy in english yet. if you get it please update :) http://www.buycheapdvd.com/index.cfm/fa/items.main/parentcat/7214/subcatid/0/id/267029
May 18, 2007 at 10:16 AM
Just as someone who speaks French, English, or Spanish-I would like the DVD to have the option(most common options on DVDs today). I appreciate holding true to one's culture and background, but for a movie with 3 Academy Awards, multiple languages should be available for purchase for all to enjoy.
May 25, 2007 at 07:28 PM
I really have a problem with the movie only being made in spanish. Especially when we where lead to believe that it was an English title via TV advertising. Seems a little underhanded to me. I just rented the movie. Had I paid money for it I would have been very disappointed and probably taken it back for a refund. My 2 cents.
May 27, 2007 at 08:48 PM
Great point by David Norris; we're in the same boat. Every verbal narration during television spots and trailers for this movie led the mainstream movie going audience to believe that the movie was in ENGLISH. My wife and I enjoy english subtitled international films quite a bit, largely because we know what we're getting ourselves into. This thing clearly won awards so I'm sure it's good, but the fact that I was allowed to rent the damn thing w/o it being made clear that the movie's ONLY in spanish completely soaked our enjoyment from second #1. It felt like going to see Shrek 3 and finding out in the damn theater that it's english subbed; but feel free to enjoy the spanish. BS!
June 07, 2007 at 06:48 PM
Almost Fooled I knew the original film was in Spanish, and I think it's great that Del Toro stuck to his roots. However, when the DVD came out, I was sure it would be available in at least English and Spanish (most DVDs have at least those two options and many also include French). The clerk at Blockbuster was nice enough to tell me it was in Spanish before I walked out of the store. I put it back on the shelf. The whole thing is very upsetting. Articles mention how Del Toro equated events in the film to what's going on in US politics today. The whole "Spanish only" stunt seems to mimick current events as well.
June 08, 2007 at 04:10 AM
The descision to not make it in English back fires on them artistically. Because of the film's ratio the subtitles are cropped when veiwing it on a big scene TV. Therefore your choices are watch it small, distorted, or missing dialogue (cropping). All of these choices take away from the film. English language option or a different composition ratio would have actually allowed the film to be veiwed more closely to its intent. I am shocked no one thought it or ignored it. Sad.
June 22, 2007 at 02:03 AM
Mr. Del Toro......your movies are kickin thanx.........oh and by the way if you watch just a few movies in subtitles you'll get the hang of it and never even pay attention to the reading.
July 16, 2007 at 03:56 AM
I watched this movie and i enjoyed watching it, im enjoying thinking about it and analyzing it even more, i want to watch it again, and watch the special features and read peoples reviews/ understanding of the movie. but when i go on a site like this and people are saying they wont watch it because of subtitles i really want to hunt them down and shoot them/or bash their nose in with a bottle. If you are that lazy that you wont watch the greatest story of the millenium because it is in spanish and you have to read english subtitles then you should probably kill yourself. I understand if you prefer it to be in english and i would like an english version as well, but it is not required AT ALL... and for a movie about the spanish civil war it just makes sense to be in spanish... most movies on the holocaust are in german. How would you feel if there was a movie on the american civil war and everyone was speaking spanish?
September 23, 2007 at 06:51 AM
There are many layers to this movie but the message which I was left with, was one of "Civil Disobedience." Before you obey, check your heart and conscience. The good doctor says this pointedly before his death, when the evil captain asks him repeatedly why he did not Obey . (The suggestion is that to obey without questioning, is to make us less than human...like the captain, who lacks any heart or conscience.) The "disobedient" rebels are shown as kind, loving and courageous. And, Ophelia is rewarded for her disobedience when she refuses to shed the blood of her baby brother. In this sense, the movie is political and also universal. Evil dictators throughout history could never take root if enough individuals listened to their conscience and questioned the actions of those in power. PS Many have bashed this movie for not being filmed in English. I find this to be the epitome of the "Ugly American" syndrome, just like when we travel abroad and expect everyone to know English!
September 24, 2007 at 08:58 AM
Thanks hwu for your comments. I completely agree. As Del Toro says in the interview, it's all about choice and disobedience. As for the subtitles... I'm glad he made it in Spanish. My only complaint is that reading the subtitles sometimes meant I didn't have time to take in all the visual details. So I was glad to see it again so I could appreciate the images more and read the subtitles less.
November 04, 2007 at 11:02 AM
Interesting sounding movie, but with sublitles, it;s not worth the money at all. My husband happens to be dsylexic, meaning he can;t read fast enough to follow along with subtitles, making movies like this a complete frustration for him. I personally find it annoying tryign to read text while follow9ng alogn with the action of the movie, it ruins the films continuity for me. A real shame the jerk wad director wasn't kind enough to make a dubbed english version for the usa.
November 04, 2007 at 06:13 PM
Too bad your husband's dyslexia makes watching a subtitled film difficult. Have you tried providing him with a synopsis of the story and then letting him watch it without subtitles. I used to do that with my son when he was small and wanted to watch Japanese anime or Hong Kong action films. But don't call the director a jerk for making a film in his own native language and the studio not releasing a dubbed version. Being unwilling to appreciate subtitled films closed you off from a huge number of wonderful films. I run an anime club and I have 12 year olds that have no trouble reading subtitles and enjoying the anime and that's because they WANT to watch and because they have grown accustomed to watching subtitles. Maybe give the film a second chance, it's well worth it.
November 23, 2007 at 01:59 PM
I really can't understand why english and american people must have this sort of mere arrogance towards what's not american or english. I truly can't understand it. When an US director film a movie in HOLLYWOOD the movie it's in english ok? Do you think that the director would ever think about doing a spanish,italian,french,german edition? Well let me say that, NO. It's not up the director. It's about the management and it's about the country the movie will be imported into. I am from Italy, and we hadn't had an italian version of Donnie Darko for years. I watched it english, with subtitles, and I loved it. But I didn't blame Richard Kelly for that, I blamed ITALY! Because it's Italy who didn't care to dub it in italian. Nor the director. This move is spanish, and so it was filmed in SPANISH. End of the story. You all americans who wish to be revered and served all over the world....you are so ignorant sometimes, i hope not every american's like you.
February 22, 2009 at 05:31 PM
I really think all the comments about the language of the movie and the complaints of some people is completely stupid and ridiculous. People living in Latin America love the american and foreign movies, and for them it's no problem to watch them in subtitles in the theater or in the dvd. In fact, when a film is dubbed in our natural language, some of us get pissed because some of a film's beauty comes from hearing the actors speaking in their natural tones, and natural languages. When a movie is dubbed, much of the actors' tone intention is lost. So, if we are all people, movie lovers, I really can't understand why for some americans is so difficult to watch films in subtitles. Are you the only ones with the right to release movies in your own language and all of us in the rest of the world should watch it reading subtitles? Can't you do the same? C'mon people...grow up. In the world of today it's just stupid to dismiss a movie just because of the language it is. So, specially for the Joe Wolfe: You are a STUPID. This isnt a movie that inspires discussions of money and blockbuster affairs. Its concept and ideas are way higher than that.