Some of the wonderful things rattling around in this full brain 'o mine. UPDATED EVERY TUESDAY AND THURSDAY (or at least twice a week)

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth - Go See It!


Welcome to my newly formed blog. This is something I’ve wanted to do for years now, seeing it as a place for me to get my ideas out in the open and keep in touch with people who I’m now removed from. Topics that you might find in the articles of this blog:

Current events that happen to cross my path
Reviews of everything (Movies, games, Technology, etc).
Neat Web Sites or trends
And many other things I’ll choose to write about.

And, if those things don’t interest you…check back and read anyway. Cuz, I’d read your blog if you wrote one. J

First up is a movie review.

The one major bonus of moving from Michigan to California (I just moved a month ago) is that there is now never a lack of something to do. The weather’s nice, and I’m in a major market now, so every show, every concert, every movie is going to be around me. As it stands, there are about 5 movie theaters within a 5 mile radius of where I live. Each of these theaters houses at least 20 screens; one of them has an IMAX too. It’s a nice change from the 10 and 12 screen theaters back in good ole Kalamazoo. Anyway, as a result, I actually was able to go out this weekend and see a movie that wasn’t playing on 2000+ screens, but only in 1082 theaters, per Yahoo Movies. It made over three and a half million dollars this last weekend, good enough for 8th place for the weekend. Of course, I’m talking about Pan’s Labyrinth.

First off, I have to point out something interesting looking at the top 10 movies for Superbowl weekend:

There were only 2 movies in the top 10 that were playing in less than 2000+ theaters:
Pan’s Labyrinth at 1082 and The Queen at 1850 theaters. The Queen placed 10th for the weekend and has been in the theaters for 19 weeks now. Pan’s Labyrinth has only been out for 6 weeks. Charting it’s weeks since it’s release, Pan’s has been placed in more and more theaters and, up until this last weekend, had been making collectively more and more money each weekend. In its third weekend of release (Jan 12th – 15th), it played in 194 theaters and made $13,464 per theater. That’s amazing. Even up to last weekend (Jan 26th – 28th) it was still making $5,800+ per theater even though it was now playing in 823 theaters. It finally hit a speed bump this weekend by only making $3,403 per theater, even though it was now finally playing in 1082 theaters. Of course, the box office was slow this past weekend, generally attributed to the Super Bowl. Still, Pan’s Labyrinth has been up there with the averages, so why isn’t it playing in more theaters?

Let me not be the first, but the latest to tell you, this movie rocks and deserves to be in more theaters across the country as a splendid fantasy tail set during the Spanish Civil War. The movie focuses on the journey of a young girl named Ofelia. She and her mother have come to live with the Captain of a division of the Spanish Army during the ongoing Civil War because her mother is pregnant with the Captain’s child. The Captain believes that the baby will be a boy, and that the boy should be wherever the father is, even if that place involves great peril.

Ofelia is a great fan of fairy tales. You see her carrying around a load of books throughout the opening scenes of the movie. As a result of her rather depressing surroundings, she immerses herself in a fantasy world where she has control of her situation, and where her life and suffering have a meaning as opposed to the very real world she’s essentially a prisoner in. As has been his calling card, Guillermo Del Toro has crafted a fantastically horrific figure in Pan, Ofelia’s guide through her trials and tribulations, with the promise of Ofelia once again joining her father (The King of the Underworld) at his left hand as his Princess.

Pan is played beautifully by Doug Jones, who seems to be the Andy Serkis to Del Toro’s Peter Jackson. Doug does a beautiful body-acting job portraying the frightening yet inviting faun Pan. The faun moves are jerky and precise, as you would expect a being made partly of tree roots would move. The scary figure is matched by the horrible face that still is able to betray hints of innocence, warmth, and also extreme anger. For most of the film, you’re not quite sure who the real villain is of the story: Pan or Captain Vidal. Vidal is sadistic, vile, and all around evil incarnate. He easily kills with the most extreme malice and efficiency. In cases where he doesn’t believe he’s getting the whole story, he resorts to a wide range of torture tactics to get the information he needs. He’s the worst type of villain: cold, calculating and completely without remorse.

Del Toro directs beautifully, displaying his ability to craft horrors both fantastical and then very real at the same time. There were more than a few times during the movie that a horrific being revealed itself, or a bloody wound was inflicted that made me think or say “I love Guillermo Del Toro.” He truly has a knack for portraying violence without making the violence become secondary to the story as many movies do nowadays (Hostel, Saw, etc).

Keep in mind, this movie isn’t for children. It is a fairy tale, yes. Think of it more as the same type of fairy tale as the original Grimm Tales. Those tales were meant more to scare children than anything else. This movie is violent, bloody, and a little bit depressing. Also, it’s sub-titled. So, unless your child can read well, leave them at home. As it was, two children were in my theater during my viewing. One looked around 3, the other around 6. Both looked bored through most of the movie, and then hid next to their parents for the rest.

Overall, I highly recommend the film. Go see it. Drive an hour to see it. You won’t be disappointed.

4 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

Towde' said...

I haven't had the chance to go see the movie but I have heard nothing but good.......... no strike that great things about the movie! My brother has told me to go see the movie the only problem I'm running into is that it is a subtitled movie and my girlfriend and close friends don't want to see a movie of this nature. So I feel that I may have to wait until it comes out on DVD but I think that this is a movie that should be seen at the theater. More props to Guillermo Del Toro and the work that he has done!