This past weekend, I saw the movie Pan's Labyrinth. I thought I'd give my thoughts on it.
First of all, let me say that the entire movie was in Spanish, not English. Apparently it's a movie made in Spain that they released here with subtitles. I really hate it when they release movies in America that are in foreign languages, but they never TELL you that it's in a foreign language! I've been to several movies like this. Normally, I'll just walk out as soon as I realize it's not in English and get my money back. I want to enjoy a movie, not 'read' it! This one, however was different. I actually stayed and watched the whole movie. Despite the language barrier, I found it interesting enough to keep watching.
My impression, going into the movie was that this was going to be a serious fantasy movie. Lots of odd looking monsters, and wild sets. It turns out I was wrong. There's actually very little fantasy in it. There were only 2 fantasy characters in the entire movie. It was more of a war movie. The story centers around a young girl who moves with her mother into the home of her mother's new husband, who's a general in the army. The girl's real father recently died and she doesn't like this new father. It turns out she has good reason not to like him. In my opinion he was a cruel, jerk. There are scenes of the father outright torturing and killing prisoners.
The fantasy parts come into play because the girl is supposedly a princess from a fantasy land reincarnated into the real world. Pan, the fawn comes to her and sends her on several missions to prove she's the princess so she can return to her kingdom. This all happens at the same time as her pregnant and very sick mother is dying. She's trying to care for her mother and go on these missions without giving anything away. Most of the time she encounters these fantasy characters only when she's alone. At one point though, she does encounter one while someone else is there and they don't seem to see the character. This, combined with the ending leads you to wonder whether any of these fantasy aspects ever really happened or she was just imagining them.
All in all, I have to say that this was a pretty good movie. It is definately NOT a kids movie though. It is very violent at points and not something you'd want your kids to see.