Review by Cap Stewart
Genre blending can be a tricky business, even for the most skilled filmmakers. Movies with multiple personalities don’t usually receive universal critical acclaim. 2006’s exception to that rule was PAN'S LABYRINTH, a story best described as a gothic fairy tale.
The narrative centers on Ofelia, a young girl struggling to survive in war-torn Spain while also embarking on a quest into a literal world of fantasy. Though it may sound thematically similar to the Narnia series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe this is not. Appropriate only for adults, the film incorporates fantastical elements like fauns and fairies, as well as much blood, violence—and even torture. Truth be told, even the fantasy elements of the film are steeped in darkness. Both worlds Ofelia inhabits are sinister, coming together in an effective climax (though whether the ending is cathartic or not will largely depend on the emotional state of the viewer).
In his musical score to the film, Javier Navarrete has accomplished the difficult task of incorporating elements of fantasy, suspense, and horror. Instead of throwing everything into a disjointed, jumbled mess, Navarrete has managed to weave numerous musical genres into an enjoyable tapestry.
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