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"From acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro comes "one of the most exciting and visually impressive adult-audience fables since THE LORD OF THE RINGS movies". Following a bloody civil war, young Ofelia enters a world of unimaginable cruelty when she moves in with her new stepfather, a tyrannical military officer. Armed with only her imagination, Ofelia discovers a mysterious labyrinth and meets a faun who sets her on a path to saving herself and her ailing mother. Soon, the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur, and before Ofelia can turn back, she finds herself at the center of the ferocious battle between Good and Evil."
Written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, PAN'S LABYRINTH is a thrilling, violent fairy tale set in post-Civil War Spain. Ivana Baquero stars as Ofelia, a young girl who moves with her mother, Carmen (Ariadna Gil), into the home of Captain Vidal (Sergi López), in an abandoned mill in the middle of dark, dangerous woods. Vidal is leading his team of soldiers against resistance fighters--and he will do whatever is necessary to kill every last one of them. As Vidal bosses around the pregnant Carmen, a flying creature leads Ofelia through a garden labyrinth and into an underground cave ruled by Pan (HELLBOY's Doug Jones), who believes that Ofelia might be the lost princess of this strange yet magical place. To prove she is royalty, Ofelia must complete three tasks, each more difficult and terrifying than the previous one. Meanwhile, Vidal is becoming more and more paranoid, torturing and murdering seemingly at will. Del Toro (THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE, HELLBOY, CRONOS) creates a marvelous battle between good and evil, between heroes and villains, in both the real world aboveground and the mystical land below. Baquero gives a compelling performance as the terrorized Ofelia, who is befriended by Mercedes (Maribel Verdú), a woman who harbors some secrets of her own. Stellar production design, superb special effects, and a stirring score by Javier Navarrete add to the scary fun. Selected as the closing-night entry in the 2006 New York Film Festival, PAN'S LABYRINTH is a captivating story that is not for the squeamish.
"For horror that fries your nerves and fires your imagination, Guillermo del Toro is the hellboy of choice." 09/07/2006 p.122,4 stars out of 4 -- "Del Toro never coddles the audience. He means for us to leave PAN'S LABYRINTH shaken to our souls. He succeeds." 01/25/2007 p.78
3 stars out of 5 -- "In his highly atmospheric film, Del Toro extracts some excellent performances, especially Lopez, who makes his character a monster with some human qualities..." 09/01/2006 p.108
4 stars out of 5 -- "[A]n exquisite, dark carnival destined to unspool again and again through troubled brains on many a sleepless night." 12/01/2006 p.32
Sight and Sound
"[Del Toro] is not only a skilled director mining a rich vein in fantasy/horror; he is an artist full stop....Not only del Toro's best film, but also his most demanding and accomplished..." 12/01/2006 p.67-8
4 stars out of 4 -- "Del Toro handles this rich narrative in a way that goes far beyond mere deftness -- this is incredibly passionate filmmaking..." 01/01/2007 p.46
Included in Entertainment Weekly's "Top 10 Films Of The Year" -- "[A] supple mix of magical realism and surreal movie-technique magic." 12/29/2006 p.102
New York Times
"If this is magic realism, it is also the work of a real magician....[Del Toro is] a thoroughgoing cinephile, steeped in classical technique and film history." 12/29/2006 p.E1
Ranked #15 in Film Comment's "20 Best Films Of 2006." 01/01/2007 p.36
Movieline's Hollywood Life
"[A] most original picture that is at once a political melodrama, a poignant family drama and a macabre fairy tale." 01/01/2007 p.97
5 stars out of 5 -- "[B]oth a mystical fairy tale and a brutal commentary on the horrors of war....There's no disputing the sheer beauty of del Toro's masterpiece..." 05/01/2007 p.100