Thursday, March 28, 2013

17 Reasons Why Pan's Labyrinth Works

Day 10: A Favorite Director: Guillermo del Toro
(minor spoilers of Pan’s Labyrinth included)

Guillermo del Toro made the fantastic Pan’s Labyrinth.  Here’s why the movie works so well: 

1.      The looks:  The moments when a character turns and looks at a space in the distance in a serious way.  These “looks” indicate a moment when a terrible revelation occurs and the look is all about being in that moment with the character.

2.      The stoic, unbending Captain Vidal.  This is a man who is merciless, unforgiving, and has no concern for anyone but himself.  He is incredibly meticulous and lives to remain in charge. 

3.      Mercedes is a strong character.  She is placed in a subservient position as the servant of the Captain’s household and is a woman.  She refuses to allow her status to dictate her life and is the person the Captain depends on for running his home while she brings food and medicine to the rebels hiding in the hills, waiting to strike against the Captain.

4.      The rebels fight back against the dictator-like Captain.  These are people who are willing to risk their lives for a better future.

5.      Haunting lullaby: The humming is mystical, mysterious, soothing, and has a sense that it is waiting for something awful to happen.

6.      The faun: He actually grows younger throughout the movie.  At first meeting he is grown into the walls of the labyrinth and shakes free to greet Ofelia.  His movements progress from slow to quicker, like he became young again.  He also looks younger as the movie goes on.

7.      Complex characters: Every character lives for different reasons and acts differently in similar situations.  They are all their own persons; they are not easily defined because they are all unique individuals.  The character development for each character progresses at different paces, but every character changes throughout the movie.

8.      Ofelia’s acceptance of the world, but desire to escape it.  She knows that her mother is now pregnant after marrying the Captain and that the Captain is a cruel man who has no consideration or fatherly compassion for Ofelia.  She reads fairy tales to make her life her own.

9.      Contrast of the real and imaginary world – they are both dark and dreary for different reasons.  The imaginary world (fairy tale world) promises hope but gives Ofelia arduous tasks to complete before she can regain her status as Princess Moanna.  The real world has no such hope for Ofelia.

10.  Merging of imaginary world and real world: Both worlds come together by the end combining the hope of the fairy tale world and the reality of the real world.

11.  The doctor’s compassion: he treats one of the rebel’s infected legs and euthanizes a torture victim (per the victim’s request) even though he knows that he could be killed for such treason.

12.  The labyrinth, although the title focuses on it, is not at big of a “main character” as you would assume.  It provides the grim backdrop for the faun’s world.  Although it is an uncertain maze, it is navigable for Ofelia because she has choices there unlike in the real world where the Captain dictates her life.

13.  The knife 3-beat complication:
1.      Mercedes chops onions with a knife in the kitchen and rolls in in her apron for safe-keeping.  She later peels vegetables with the knife. 
2.      When Mercedes is caught by the Captain, she immediately uses her knife and slits his mouth and stabs his body. 
3.      When she is caught by Garces, she uses her knife as a weapon pointing at the men on the horses and then at her throat.

14.  The farmer and son with the rabbit: The Captain brutally murdered the farmer and shot the son because they were hindrances.  He checked their story (they were shooting rabbits for their sick family members) afterwards and felt no remorse for his actions.

15.  The broken watch that the Captain meticulously rewinds is a gift from his father who smashed his watch on a rock when he died so that his son would know the exact time that he died.  The Captain seems to not have any emotional ties to his father except for duty: when the Captain is caught at the end, he wants to give his son a way to remember him by, as his father did for him.

16.  Time period: 1944 Spain is much more exciting than present day.  The clothing, mannerisms, societal roles, and general living is foreign to us now, making us release any inhibitions and believe in the story.

17.  Second chances and redemption – the faun gives Ofelia one more chance to do the third step to prove that she is the long-lost princess.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blogging tips