El Laberinto Del Fauno [Pan’s Labyrinth] (2006)

<strong class="MovieTitle">El Laberinto Del Fauno</strong> [<strong class="MovieTitle">Pan’s Labyrinth</strong>] (2006)

(In theaters, January 2007) Guillermo del Toro may not make masterpiece after masterpiece (Hellboy, anyone?), but he’s consistently fascinating in what he can turn out. His habit of alternating between glossy Hollywood movies and more personal films seems to be good for him in both directions: His Hollywood films are quirkier and more interesting, whereas his home-grown films are slicker than ever. So it is that Pan’s Labyrinth is unmistakably a successor to El Espinazo Del Diablo: The children-in peril motif is back, and so is the historical framework and the humans-are-the-monsters theme. Perhaps the most distinctive thing about the film is its mixture of an adult theme with a childish perspective: There an ambiguity to the story that contributes to its impact rather than obscure it: its most likeliest explanation is also the cruelest.. Otherwise, there little to say about the slick polish to the film, the excellent acting and the sensibility of the special effect. Del Toro may mis-step when drawing villains (defining them with the crudest elements), but the rest of his script is sure-footed. Where the film may lose a few viewers is in how, for a while, it’s not clear if it’s a film for kids or featuring kids: by the time the film settles the question, the younger members of the audience may have irreversible nightmares. Good for them.

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