Sunday, June 01, 2008

Perhaps I'll write more later, but I just saw Pan's Labyrinth today, and here are a few words on it. Some may not make sense unless you've seen the movie, and even if you won't love it, it's worth seeing.

First of all, very good movie, one of several movies that cleverly weaves together two ongoing storylines, here, the story of a girl dealing with living with some evil fascists during the tail end of the Spanish Civil War and the same girl dealing with some magical creatures in some magical underworld. Visually beautiful, and a very solid film. Anyway.

CGI is great, and an essential component to today's movies. However, whenever filmmakers can possibly use humans they ought to. Pan's Labyrinth shows this as well as anything else with the fawn and the "pale man", AKA the evil dude with eyes on his hands, portrayed by a guy with prosthetics being far superior than anything that could have been concocted, at this level of technology, with CGI.

Now, about the movie itself. Okay, so the girl overall was a likable character, and she shouldn't be faulted for every mistake she makes; she's just a small girl. But the fawn specifically told her not to eat or drink anything at all! How hard an order is that! She has to be there for fifteen minutes and she's so fucking greedy she has to taste a couple of grapes - she definitely deserves no pity for this.

Spanish fascists are an underused source of villainry. Sure, Nazis get all the credit for fascism, but they surely weren't the only ones. And maybe Spanish fascism didn't have the same sting of complete and total evil that Nazidom had, but they were certainly evil enough to earn a couple of villian roles in film. It's nice to see them vindicated here a bit.

The villain, the captain, particularly, while being certainly fairly evil enough - shooting some civilians without any evidence, and the, kind of big thing, shooting and killing the main character, also deserves some of our respect. First of all, he leads his troops into battle a couple of times - clearly unlike some pathetic villains, he is not afraid of combat; rather he embraces it - that is to be respected. Second, sewing himself up with stitches in the mouth without painkillers - that takes balls. Also, although obviously there's no way to make not killing a 10 year old (or so) evil, she did kind of kidnap his son, which no matter how evil he is, is not cool. One has to really respect as well how well him and his troops wore the pretty sweet Spanish fascist uniform. Sure, the rebels may have been on the right side of things, but their outfits looked like shit compared to the captain's uniform.

It's kind of sad also to think that lack of believing in magic is what seemed to kill the main character's mother. Who knew not believing in something without absolutely no evidence whatsoever had such consequences? Who knew mandrake root was so potent?

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