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Cronos 1993                The Devil's Backbone aka "El Espinazo del diablo" 2001

Pan's Labyrinth aka 'The Labyrinth of the Faun' 2006

 

Throughout a career that encompasses both visually arresting art-house hits and big-budget Hollywood spectacles, director Guillermo del Toro has continually redefined and elevated the horror genre with his deeply personal explorations of myths and monsters. These three Spanish-language films, each a tale of childhood in troubled times, showcase his singular fusion of the fantastic and the real. Drawing inspiration from a rich variety of sources, from Alfred Hitchcock to Francisco de Goya, the gothic-infused stories collected here—populated by vampires, ghosts, and a fairy-tale princess—make evident why del Toro is considered the master cinematic fabulist of our time.

Comment: The package has same 1080P transfer and all the extras of Criterion's individual releases - this includes the liner notes which are houses in a beautiful, 100-page, hardcover book that includes many drawing, production sketches and essays for the three films.

 

Trilogía de Guillermo del Toro Blu-ray package CLICK to ENLARGE

Cronos [Blu-ray]

 

(Guillermo del Toro, 1993)

 

Criterion's Blu-ray is also available in their Trilogía de Guillermo del Toro which includes Cronos, The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth:

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Warner

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #551

 

Disc:

Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:32:28.960

Disc Size: 47,085,798,230 bytes

Feature Size: 29,077,407,744 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.96 Mbps

Chapters: 23

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 7th, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 2081 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2081 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 2080 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2080 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• Optional original Spanish-language voice-over introduction
• Two audio commentaries, one featuring del Toro, the other producers Arthur H. Gorson and Bertha Navarro and coproducer Alejandro Springall
Geometria, an unreleased 1987 short horror film by del Toro, finished in 2010, with a new video interview with the director (6:27)
Welcome to Bleak House, a video tour by del Toro of his home offices, featuring his personal collections (10:14)
• New video interviews with del Toro (17:36), Navarro (12:36), and actor Ron Perlman (7:25)
• Video interview ('The Making of Cronos') with actor Federico Luppi (5:25)
• Stills gallery (60 images)
• Trailer (1:29)
• 42-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic Maitland McDonagh and excerpts from del Toro’s notes for the film

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Guillermo del Toro made an auspicious and audacious feature debut with Cronos, a highly unorthodox tale about the seductiveness of the idea of immortality. Kindly antiques dealer Jesús Gris (Federico Luppi) happens upon an ancient golden device in the shape of a scarab, and soon finds himself the possessor and victim of its sinister, addictive powers, as well as the target of a mysterious American named Angel (a delightfully crude and deranged Ron Perlman). Featuring marvelous special makeup effects and the haunting imagery for which del Toro has become world-renowned, Cronos is a dark, visually rich, and emotionally captivating fantasy.

 

 

The Film:

Cronos, Guillermo del Toro's (The Devil's Backbone, Blade 2, Hellboy) first film, a decidedly unique take on vampirism and its effects on an unsuspecting antiques dealer, gestated for almost seven years before del Toro obtained the funding necessary to shoot his script. That time allowed del Toro to polish his script to near perfection, as well as work in the Mexican television industry as a director and makeup effects artist to hone his skills. With Cronos, Guillermo del Toro's first film, sought to re-imagine the vampire mythos. Rather than explore vampirism as a blood-borne plague (the modern interpretation), del Toro focuses his film on the Cronos device of the title, a golden scarab with metal spider legs and scorpion stinger that houses an imprisoned, parasitic, seemingly eternal insect that exchanges immortality for human blood. The Cronos device is the product of alchemy, the creation of a 16th century Spanish occultist who flees to the New World to escape the Spanish Catholic Church and the Spanish Inquisition.

All that is prologue, however, as an unseen narrator shares this exposition with the audience, the camera glides down to the dying alchemist, crushed under the masonry of a collapsed bank. The next scene introduces the price to be paid for immortality, murder, as the camera dollies through a set of rooms, briefly revealing a desanguinated victim hanging by his feet. The device disappears for several decades until an antiques dealer, Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi) discovers the device in the hollowed statue of an archangel. The device, however, has been sought by a rich, but dying, Western industrialist, Dieter de la Guardia (Claudio Brook), and his henchman/nephew, Angel (Ron Perlman). Accidentally pricked by the Cronos device, the protagonist finds himself caught in a tightening spiral of conflict and violence against antagonistic forces, both internal and external, he can barely understand.

Excerpt from Mel Valentin at the Movie Vault located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Cronos looks excellent on Blu-ray - there is a consistent balance between detail and grain. The darker sequences have very little noise. This is dual-layered transfer with a very strong bitrate. It is advertised as 'supervised and approved by director Guillermo del Toro and cinematographer Guillermo Navarro' and I expect this can't look much more authentic to the filmmakers intent on this 1080P format. Contrast is at Criterion's usual high level and there is some depth in the very clean image. The source must have been in excellent condition and I'd have to say the image quality is flawless.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Cronos is mostly in Spanish with some English. This version has the original US theatrical English voice-over introduction but we get the option of the original Spanish-language intro. All the audio is rendered in a lossless DTS-HD Master 2.0 track at 2081 kbps. It exports some depth surprises and seems quite strong in representing the audio intent of the film. There are optional English subtitles (approved by the director) and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked disc.

 

Extras :

There are some wonderful supplements on the Criterion disc - we get two 2002 audio commentaries as originally found on the Lions Gate 10th Anniversary Special Edition DVD, one (the 'Director's') featuring del Toro, the other ('Producer's') with Arthur H. Gorson and Bertha Navarro and co-producer Alejandro Springall. Geometria, is a 6.5 minute unreleased 1987 short horror film by del Toro, finished in 2010, with a new video interview with the director. Welcome to Bleak House, is a 10-minute video tour by del Toro of his home offices, featuring his personal collections. This is a unique perspective on the mind of this highly imaginative filmmaker. There are new video interviews with del Toro (17:36 - discussing the film's place in his career), Oscar-winning cinematographer and long-time del Toro collaborator, Guillermo Navarro who talks for 12-minutes on his work in Cronos and relationship with the director, and actor Ron Perlman who reminisces about Cronos and work with del Toro for 7-minutes. There is also selection entitled 'The Making of Cronos' - an archive featurette from 1993 - with actor Federico Luppi for 5-minutes. He discusses his starring role as Jesus Gris and his thoughts on the film and its director. There are about 60 images in a stills gallery, a trailer and finally a 42-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic Maitland McDonagh and excerpts from del Toro’s notes for the film.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I definitely feel some nostalgia when I view Cronos - it often reminds me of Argento. But it simply could be that the film is now, unbelievably, 17-years old. Del Toro started quite early painting the cinematic canvas with his own creative style. The 'gore' couldn't be considered gratuitous and never impinges on the pace and style - this is a mark of intelligent, well-thought-out, filmmaking. In North America the film was given limited release to 2 theaters where it grossed $17K but is now very highly regarded as a top-flight vampire film - the debut of an important contributor to the genre. The Blu-ray is transferred at Criterion's high level and offers keen, viable, extra features. Horror fans should be thrilled with this product - buy with extreme confidence.  

Gary Tooze

November 22nd, 2010

The Devil's Backbone aka El Espinazo del diablo [Blu-ray]

 

(Guillermo del Toro, 2001)

 

Criterion's Blu-ray is also available in their Trilogía de Guillermo del Toro which includes Cronos, The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth:

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: El Deseo S.A.

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #666

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:47:50.505

Disc Size: 45,814,990,082 bytes

Feature Size: 27,467,102,208 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.56 Mbps

Chapters: 28

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 29th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 3414 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3414 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• Audio commentary featuring Del Toro
Video introduction by Del Toro from 2010 (:48)
New and archival interviews with Del Toro about the creation of his film (13:47, 17:55 + 11:57)
¿Que es un fantasma?, a 2004 making-of documentary (27:18)
Interactive director’s notebook (9:05)
Four deleted scenes, with commentary by del Toro (3:36)
New interview with scholar Sebastiaan Faber about the film’s depiction of the Spanish Civil War (14:07)
Program comparing Del Toro’s thumbnail sketches and Carlos Giménez’s storyboards with the final film (12:03)
Selected on-screen presentation of Del Toro’s thumbnail sketches (Blu-ray edition only)
Trailer (2:06)
New English subtitle translation by del Toro
PLUS: An essay by critic Mark Kermode

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: One of the most personal films by Guillermo del Toro, The Devil’s Backbone is also among his most frightening and emotionally layered. Set during the final week of the Spanish Civil War, it tells the tale of a twelve-year-old boy who, after his freedom-fighting father is killed, is sent to a haunted rural orphanage full of terrible secrets. Del Toro expertly combines gothic ghost story, murder mystery, and historical melodrama in a stylish mélange that, like his later Pan’s Labyrinth, reminds us the scariest monsters are often the human ones.

 

 

The Film:

Guillermo del Toro, who quickly became one of the most talked-about directors in contemporary horror films with his first two features, Chronos and Mimic, takes on a more subtle tale of terror with this psychological suspense piece. Casares (Federico Luppi) and Carmen (Marisa Paredes) operate a small home for orphans in a remote part of Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Helping the couple mind the orphanage are Jacinto (Eduardo Noriega), the groundskeeper, and Conchita (Irene Visedo), a teacher who is also involved with Jacinto. Casares and Carmen are aligned with the Republican loyalists, and are hiding a large cache of gold that's used to back the Republican treasury; perhaps not coincidentally, the orphanage has also been subject to attacks from Franco's troops, and an unexploded bomb waits to be defused in the home's courtyard. One day, a boy named Carlos (Fernando Tielve) arrives at the home, looking for a place to stay after being left behind by his parents. Casares and Carmen take him in, and the boy soon strikes up an unlikely friendship with Jaime (Inigo Garces), a boy with a reputation for tormenting other kids. But Carlos soon begins having visions of a mysterious apparition he can't identify, and hears strange stories about a child named Santi who went missing the day the bomb appeared near the orphanage.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

A classy Hispanic horror pic written and directed by the Mexican cinephile who made Cronos and Mimic. Like many Spanish movies about the Civil War, it filters that traumatic conflict through the partly comprehending eyes of a child. After his Republican father dies in battle, 10-year-old Carlos (Tielve) is left in a desert orphanage, where crippled widow Carmen (Paredes) and kindly Professor Casares (Luppi) hope to protect their charges from advancing Fascists. But danger exists inside the fragile sanctuary, too - not only does Carlos clash with older bully Jaime, but there's surly, self-serving janitor Jacinto (Noriega) to worry about, not to mention chilling rumours about a kid who went missing. If only for its technical aspects, this would rate as a pleasurably superior supernatural psychological thriller, with polished but subtle special effects, painterly, atmospheric cinematography and vivid performances from a top-notch cast. What lifts it, however, is an adept use of generic elements as a poetic/metaphorical gloss on political and historical realities. Hence a ghost mystery becomes a tale of opposing forces building to a deadly, explosive denouement in which concealed passions finally burst forth.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Devil's Backbone looks beautiful on Blu-ray from Criterion.  This is described as a 'new, restored 2K digital film transfer, supervised by director Guillermo del Toro and director of photography Guillermo Navarro...' and it looks just marvelous. Colors appear strong and tight - contrast is sublime.  This is dual-layered with a high bitrate and it appears to be a magnificent representation of the film with texture and depth. It is in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and detail is impressive. They are frequent examples of depth. This Blu-ray has no discernable flaws and supplies a perfect 1080P presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

There is a super atmospheric DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround track at 3414 kbps in original Spanish. It has both subtle and aggressive separations - the score by Javier Navarrete substantially benefits from the lossless rendering enhancing the spooky aura created by the visuals. The track has punchy depth and a crisp high-end. There are optional English subtitles, translation by del Toro, and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.

 

Extras :

Criterion have included the 2004 director's commentary as found on the previous SE DVD of the film. Previous supplements as well are a short 2010 video introduction by Del Toro, the half-hour making-of documentary entitled ¿Que es un fantasma? (What is a Ghost?), from 2004, the selected on-screen presentation of Del Toro’s thumbnail sketches - an inspiration for the visual texture of certain sequences in the film. When this is selected del Toro's thumbnail sketches will appear in conjunction with their corresponding scenes as the film plays (subtitle default OFF when this is selected.) Repeating from previous digital edition are the four deleted scenes, with commentary by del Toro, the Javier Soto interactive gallery "Director's Notebook" from 2010 and the 12-minute program comparing Del Toro’s thumbnail sketches and Carlos Giménez’s storyboards with the final film. Criterion also add new material including about 3/4 of an hour's worth of 2 new and one archival interview with del Toro and a new 15-minute interview with scholar Sebastiaan Faber about the film’s depiction of the Spanish Civil War There is also a trailer and liner notes booklet with an essay by critic Mark Kermode.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Guillermo del Toro's films are so visually rich with much of the story and emotion told through the descriptive cinematography. His work is very memorable. The Devil's Backbone is no exception. This is a hauntingly beautiful, chilling movie and the Criterion Blu-ray package offers a fabulous a/v presentation with plenty of important extras. This has plenty of value and we strongly recommend! 

Gary Tooze

July 12th, 2013

 

Criterion's Blu-ray is also available in their Trilogía de Guillermo del Toro which includes Cronos, The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth:

 

 


(aka 'Pan's Labyrinth' or 'The Labyrinth of the Faun')

Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Mexico / Spain / USA 2006

 

An Academy Award–winning dark fable set five years after the end of the Spanish Civil War, Pan’s Labyrinth encapsulates the rich visual style and genre-defying craft of Guillermo del Toro. Eleven-year-old Ofelia (Ivana Baquero, in a mature and tender performance) comes face to face with the horrors of fascism when she and her pregnant mother are uprooted to the countryside, where her new stepfather (Sergi López), a sadistic captain in General Francisco Franco’s army, hunts down Republican guerrillas refusing to give up the fight. The violent reality in which Ofelia lives merges seamlessly with her fantastical interior world when she meets a faun in a decaying labyrinth and is set on a strange, mythic journey that is at once terrifying and beautiful. In his revisiting of this bloody period in Spanish history, del Toro creates a vivid depiction of the monstrosities of war infiltrating a child’s imagination and threatening the innocence of youth.)

 

  Posters

Theatrical Release: May 27th, 2006 - Cannes Film Festival

Reviews                                                                       More Reviews                                                                  DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Optimum Home Entertainment (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Optimum - Region 2 - PAL LEFT

Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Cover

   

Distribution Optimum Home Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL Criterion Collection - Spine # 838 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Criterion's Blu-ray is also available in their Trilogía de Guillermo del Toro which includes Cronos, The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth:

    

Trilogía de Guillermo del Toro Blu-ray package CLICK to ENLARGE

Runtime 1:53:52 (4% PAL Speedup) 1:59:22.196  
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.62 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,738,059,702 bytes

Feature: 33,294,919,680 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.64 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate: Optimum DVD

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)  

DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 4040 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4040 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 5169 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 5169 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Optimum Home Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Director's commentary
• Introduction by director
• Guardian interview at the National Film Theatre
• Featurettes
• Director's notebook
• Storyboard and notebook video prologue
• Storyboard/thumbnail comparisons
• Trailers
• Galleries

DVD Release Date: March 12th, 2007

Double Standard Keep Case
Chapters: 28

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

 

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,738,059,702 bytes

Feature: 33,294,919,680 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.64 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by del Toro from 2007

• Director Introduction from 2007 (0:25)
• New interview with del Toro by novelist Cornelia Funke about fairy tales, fantasy, and Pan’s Labyrinth (39:21)
• New interview with actor Doug Jones (25:38)
• Four 2007 making-of documentaries examining the characters, special effects, themes, and music of the film (The Power of Myth - 14:24, Pan and the Fairies - 30:28, The Colors and the Shape - 4:03 and The Melody Echoes the fairy Tale - 2:48)
• Interactive director’s notebook
• Footage of actor Ivana Baquero’s audition for the film (2:55)
• Animated comics featuring prequel stories for the film’s menagerie of creatures (14:44)
• Programs comparing selected production storyboards and del Toro’s thumbnail sketches with the final film; visual effects work for the Green Fairy; and elements of the film’s score
• Trailers and TV spots
• PLUS: An essay by film critic Michael Atkinson


Blu-ray Release Date:
October 18th, 2016
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 27

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - October 2016: Firstly, I feel so privileged to have the Trilogía de Guillermo del Toro Blu-ray set in my possession. Although, as most are aware, both Cronos and The Devil's Backbone are the same transfers and content from Criterion's previous Blu-rays. Even the liner notes booklet content is now housed in a beautiful 100-page hardback book with many drawing, production sketches and essays for the three films. It's quite spectacular package (see our photo above.) I'll be doing a separate review on the entire boxset soon.

Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth gets the Criterion treatment with an impressive dual-layered transfer in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. It states on the final pages of the hardcover book that "For it's theatrical release the film was completed in a 2K digital intermediate finishing process from the 35mm original camera negative. That digital intermediate provides the highest level of faithfulness to director Guillermo del Toro's original vision. For this release further color changes were made throughout the feature to fully realize that vision. The film features a fully digital soundtrack. The 5.1 surround and 7.1 surround audio for this Blu-ray release were remastered from the original digital audio master files using Pro Tools HD. Guillermo del Toro was part of the supervision process."

While the DVD has a beautiful image (more kudos to the film style) the higher resolution adds deeper, richer black levels in a slightly darker presentation. It can tend to look yellow-ish in some sequences but the overall image quality is impressive in-motion. It looks heavy and cinematic - often breathtaking with the various effects. With the lights out the visuals are mesmerizing.

We are given the option of two, very robust, audio tracks - a 5.1 surround track at a healthy 4040 kbps or a similar lossless encode in 7.1 surround at a whopping 5169 kbps - both are 24-bit and in the original Spanish language. The depth seems capable of overpowering the narrative but always stays a close step behind - nudging the film's balance between gentleness and hard reality. The effects are impressive - not so much sneaking up on you - but the score by Javier Navarrete (also worked on del Toro's The Devil's Backbone) - has a very epic, suspense-building and classic feel to it. The music is perfectly suiting the film and sounding full and rich in the lossless tracks. Perhaps the best audio I've heard on a Blu-ray this year. I continue to listen while I write this. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A'-locked disc.

There are plenty of new extras as well as supplements from the 2007 DVD releases including the audio commentary and introduction by del Toro. There are other extras repeated like the storyboard/thumbnail comparisons and trailers. Criterion add new interview; 40-minutes with del Toro conducted by novelist Cornelia Funke about Pan’s Labyrinth. She delves into the filmmaker's inspirations and the resonance of fantasy and fairy tales. There is also a new, 26-minute, interview with actor Doug Jones about his iconic dual roles as 'the faun' and the 'Pale Man' in Pan’s Labyrinth. We get four 2007 making-of documentaries, produced by Javier Soto, examining the characters, special effects, themes, and music of the film. They run as follows; The Power of Myth - 14:24, Pan and the Fairies - 30:28, The Colors and the Shape - 4:03 and The Melody Echoes the Fairy Tale - 2:48. We get the Interactive director’s notebook and some short footage of actor Ivana Baquero’s audition for the film. There are keen animated comics featuring prequel stories for the film’s menagerie of creatures. They are pretty cool. The liner notes booklet contains an essay by film critic Michael Atkinson (as mentioned - also in the Trilogía de Guillermo del Toro 's hardback.

Wow... powerful stuff - quite the blend of horror, political overtones and childhood innocence. Pan’s Labyrinth is such a visual feast - creating its own universe of characters, environments and adventures. Criterion's Blu-ray is at their usual atmospheric level or quality and the Trilogía de Guillermo del Toro Blu-ray package is as sweet as it gets. Brilliant stuff - another 'keeper'. Our highest recommendation!

***

ON THE DVD: 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 artefacts 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.   

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus


 

2nd Disc


 

Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray



Subtitle Sample

 

Optimum - Region 2 - PAL LEFT

Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Optimum - Region 2 - PAL LEFT

Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 


Optimum - Region 2 - PAL LEFT

Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 


Optimum - Region 2 - PAL LEFT

Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 




 

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