(aka 'Pan's Labyrinth' or 'The Labyrinth of the Faun')
Guillermo del Toro
Mexico / Spain / USA 2006
The labyrinth has echoes of authentic atrocity: a pile of children’s shoes lies ominously near the banqueting table of a bald-bodied, blank-faced baby-eater. At least as evident, though, is del Toro’s own immersion in fantasy and horror cinema, with nods to ‘Don’t Look Now’, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘The Shining’ among others (not to mention Goya and ‘The Spirit of the Beehive’). It’s as a filmmaker, rather than storyteller, that del Toro is most successful here: a disjunction remains between the story’s childlike form and its gruesome execution, but few directors are so adept at conveying both the uncanny in the real and the recognizable in the fantastic.
Theatrical Release: May 27th, 2006 - Cannes Film Festival
DVD Review: Optimum Home Entertainment (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL
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|Distribution||Optimum Home Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL|
Average Bitrate: 8.62 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
The Optimum DVD looks just about perfect. The tone of the film shows darkness and warmth and the print used represents that faithfully. The anamorphic, progressive image is tight to the frame and shows solid detail and contrast. It looks as exceptional as you might expect from a modern healthy budgeted film. I suppose I could be picky and find some minor flaws but the grandeur of the film's appearance should not be minimized. No artifacts and the only softness was that inherent in the CGI effects.
There are nicely rendered optional English subtitles and two audio choices pf original Spanish in both 5.1 and stereo. I tested both and the 5.1 sounded quite crisp and intense.
Disc one offers a commentary with Guillermo del Toro. His English is quite good and he talks of Pan's Labyrinth being a companion piece to The Devil's Backbone (2001) but much of the world had changed since then and he dignifies that with an explanation of the multiple permutations of the story and why it was set in 1944. It is always great to listen to someone who confidently knows 'their stuff'. There are no major gaps and he is eloquent throughout the entire film. Disc two offers a multitude of interviews, production explanations, an introduction and storyboards. Luckily del Toro shows the film to have immense depth of construction and these extras add to the appreciation. I think I got the most out of Guardian interview at the National Film Theatre but those keen on the film will gobble up much of the rest with gusto.
I've had the DVD for a while and finally got around to watching it - lots of Brothers Grimm fairy tale fantasy elements and although I won't go overboard about the film it was surely entertaining and can carry quite a fascination in the audience. Innocence and make-believe are strongly represented if that appeals to you. This DVD does Pan's Labyrinth justice and for those interested we strongly recommend. May 15th a Region 1 release will become available and I'm sure we will compare the editions. My guess is that there won't be extravagant differences.