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NOMINEE FOR: Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Music—Original Score

Movie Review

Pan's Labyrinth

MPAA Rating: R for graphic violence and some language

Reviewed by: Spencer Schumacher
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Fantasy Horror Thriller
Length:
1 hr. 52 min.
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
December 29, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Picturehouse Films
Copyright, Picturehouse Films
Copyright, Picturehouse Films
Copyright, Picturehouse Films
Copyright, Picturehouse Films
Copyright, Picturehouse Films
Copyright, Picturehouse Films
Copyright, Picturehouse Films
Copyright, Picturehouse Films
Copyright, Picturehouse Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Picturehouse Films

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

The Origin of bad—How did bad things come about? Answer

What kind of world would you create? Answer

Insects

Featuring: Maribel Verdu, Ivana Baquero, Sergi Lopez (II), Ariadna Gil, Alex Angulo
Director: Guillermo del Toro—“Hellboy,” “Mimic,” “The Devil’s Backbone”
Producer: Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron, Bertha Navarro
Distributor: Picturehouse Films

“Innocence has a power evil cannot imagine.”

It should be noted that by director Guillermo del Toro’s (“Hellboy,” “Blade 2”) own admission his latest film, “Pan’s Labyrinth” is a film not for children, it’s a fairy tale meant to be viewed solely by adults, and given the quality and quantity of violence parents would be wise to keep the children away from this fairy tale.

The film explores the same setting of del Toro’s previous film, “The Devil’s Backbone” as it is set during the Spanish Civil War. Much like that film, “Pan’s Labyrinth” features a child protagonist, in this case Ofelia, a twelve year girl who is along with her pregnant mother to live with the Spanish commander, Capt. Vidal, who is the father to her soon to be born brother.

Upon arriving it is apparent that Ofelia does not like her new living arrangements and particularly does not like the fascist leader who she refuses to call her “father.” Instead Ofelia disappears into the fantastical world of the labyrinth that surrounds this village. A world of fairies, fauns and a rather gruesome monster who’s eyes sit in the creatures knife-like claws, a creature that is depicted to eat children in the wall drawings. This world that Ofelia finds is oblivious to all the adults or at least the refuse to acknowledge it, which is the theme of the film.

Ofelia is given three tasks by the ruler of the labyrinth, a six foot tall, hideous fawn. She must complete the tasks by the next full moon, and in doing so will release them all to their rightful place in the netherworld and gain immortality. If she fails, they all die. In accepting this challenge she engages in the three tasks, each becoming more dangerous than the last.

The film is very well done and as a fairy tale is well shot and lit. The colors and set design are very arresting visually. The acting is well done and the performances of Ivana Baqueno (Ofelia) and Sergi Lopez (Capt. Vidal) are very convincing.

As mentioned, this film is meant for adults, and though there is no nudity, sexual content and only mild profanity the violence level is severe. There is the typical level of violence and shooting one would expect for a film set in a historic war, but beyond that there is also gore and multiple stabbing scenes during the fantasy escapes that Ofelia takes. As a fascist dictator, Capt. Vidal also engages in brutal torture which is depicted in more than one instance of this film. The second task that Ofelia goes on when she encounters the aforementioned child eating creature is truly frightening and moderately gory. There are a lot of bugs throughout the film, and in one of the fantasy scenes there is a gory scene of slime with a giant frog.

Overall, the film is well made and tells a compelling, yet fantastical story—better than most for this fantasy genre. However, Christians sensitive to gore, blood, scary creatures and violence should stay away from “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

The film is in Spanish with subtitles.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—This movie is definitely not for children. However, it is a an amazingly fantastic, imaginative journey for adults who are willing to sit through somewhat excessive violence. The film is beautiful and captures both the evil and the good that each person is capable of. There seemed to be a Christian undertone to the movie, beginning with the fairy tale of a flower that gives eternal life but that cannot give this life unless men take it. This reminded me of Christ’s sacrifice, a gift that each man must choose to accept or reject.


At the end of the movie, my friend, who is not a Christian, told me that she thought it was full of symbolism and that it seemed to be strongly Christian influenced. This movie is possibly very offensive. Yet, it is very thought provoking. In the end, I felt that it emphasized self-sacrifice and recognized a world beyond death. Any person watching this movie will have to face the fact of his/her own mortality; a fact that many people avoid.
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Amy, age 28
Positive—Lucy Pevensie meets Alice in Wonderland and the “Lord of the Rings” set in despondent Fascist Spain. That’s the best way I can describe this film. Most people have yet to hear of “Pan’s Labyrinth,” and that’s a shame. Not only is this adult fairytale a truly creative, imaginative, and gripping experience, it provides much insight into the times surrounding WWII, and gives the audience several poignant moments that give the film a powerful punch. The cinematography, script, and acting is quite wonderful, too. For those concerned about “Pan’s” content, I will say that it is one of the most violent films I’ve seen in recent years, mainly because the violence is lingered upon, not hinted at.

Overall, though I would’ve liked to have seen several more mystical environments and fewer shots of the actual Spanish world itself, “Pan’s Labyrinth” can truly be called a masterpiece. Its filming in the Spanish dialect only added to the effect of the film. To those who love mystical thrills and imaginary worlds, I recommend this film more than any other I’ve seen all year.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4½
—JC, age 25
Positive—This is a very haunting and sad movie. I took my teenaged granddaughter with me to see it, and she was also moved by the story. Afterwards, we discussed monsters in life, real and imaginary, hope and how it sustains us, the loss of childhood innocence, and does God care when we suffer. The film making was captivating. We were drawn quickly into the story and hoping for Ofelia’s rescue from the reality of her life. The young actor in that role was great and very empathetic. The stepfather has to win the award as one of the most evil movie villains. Without a doubt, there are some extremely violent scenes and this movie should not be viewed by anyone who is not an adult or mature teen. But I thought it was a very good movie and can understand why it has received so many Oscar nominations.
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—H Jackson, age 54
Positive—*Spoilers Ahead*

As I read the above comments I notice that no one mentions the films climactic ending. It may have just been me, but I felt that it carried a strong parallel with Christ in terms of sacrifice. It also reminded me of Abraham when God told him to sacrifice his son. Ofelia refuses to let the Faun take even a drop of blood from her baby brother and instead, it is her blood that gets used. Though it was not her intention of sacrificing herself, the scene of her being reunited with her “kingdom” reminds me of some stories I’ve read of what heaven will be like. The auditorium is full of people cheering for her and her father and mother invite her to sit beside them. It is like a celebration for Ofelia and I believe that in Heaven, it will be a celebration for every soul that returns home.

Anyway that is some of what I got out of the ending. I am not sure the director meant the ending this way, but thinking of it in the aforementioned terms, gave me a feeling of peace. Be aware that the movie is quite violent and there are very adult themes and frightening images.To me the best part of the movie was the end, where I was given a possibly unintentional glimpse at what “going home” may be like someday. That glimpse allowed me to leave the theater feeling very fulfilled. I would recommend this movie to people who realize the violent elements going in, and are mature enough to handle them. Truly an excellent movie.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4½
—Chris Byers, age 21
Positive—Pan’s Lanyrinth was the best Christ-themed movie I’ve ever seen, blowing The clique Passion of the Christ out of the water. Ofelia has extreme parallels to Christ, from being in the “human world” to being tempted to accomplish her goal in a way that wasn’t right. As Jesus came to give the authority of Heaven back to man after it was taken from him in Genesis, and then tempted by the devil to simply receive it from him in the desert, Ofelia is also tempted regain her world through hurting someone. It is her choice, and Christ’s choice, that puts the rightful royalty back into the throne.

Interestingly enough, del Toro places this Christ-like imagery in a setting that many christians are hostile to: war and communism. After Mary finds out that she is pregnant she sings a song (Luke 1:46-56) with ideas of a social revolution—rulers brought down (v52), hungry are filled (v53), and rich are sent away (v53), which is exactly what the “rebels” in the movie are fighting for, and what the “rebels” in 1940’s Spain were also fighting for. Ofelia does not take sides, we could say she is too young, not their yet, or maybe we could say a child is beyond that? Just as Christ is beyond choosing sides but Ofelia is thankful for the good people in her life (a communist informant) and scared of the bad people (her stepfather, a sadistic war captain). This movie has a lot of deep ideas running through it, del Toro obviously wanted everyone to think long and hard about it before just swallowing it down as we did with the Passion. Animo, del Toro.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Andrea, age 19
Positive—This movie is not for children. Nor is it solely a “Fairy Tale.” With that out of the way, we can see what this movie is truly about. Anyone with a misconception about this movie will be sorely dissapointed. I myself was a little confused about the fantasy element touted in all the advertising after viewing this movie. Rather than a fairy tale, it is the haunting tale of a girl whose own fantasy world acts as a juxtaposition to the fascist regime she is living in. Yes, there is gore, and plenty of it, but it is not the wanton mess of blood we see in other movies such as kill bill or 300 where it is an obligatory spectacle. Rather we wince and appaled at the violence presented. It is obviously not the glorification of violence present in other, mindless movies. It serves the point to distinguish, clearly and ultimately who the bad guys are. One of the most tragic scenes is when the Captain kills two men accused of being communists. No where in this movie is the idea that violence solves anything. Rather, the message is the opposite. The final trial for Ofelia, is to sacrifice a portion of her brothers blood. Her ultimate sacrifice, leads to her own redemption, as well as the redemption of her younger brother. All in all the symbolism in this movie alone is amazing and worth seeing. One issue however, is that unless one is familiarized with spanish literature, some of the symbolism will be lost on you. Anyone looking to get the most out of this film should look at much of the literature from spain in the 1940s and 50s. Movies and novels will help enlighten you to the spanish connections of blood and the church. The church is also represented in other images here, such as the pale man. Overall, a great movie, with a theme that actually promotes the ideas that Christ himself held. Anything that will get you talking about Christ is good in my book. Take a non-believer to see it with you. The discussion afterwards might lead further than a talk about symbolism alone.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Ben, age 20
Neutral
Neutral—I went into this film expecting it to be violent and gory—An R-rated film that deals with a fantasy world set against the backdrop of fascist Spain cannot be any less! Before jumping on a film of this nature and saying that because it is a fairy tale, they expected to be able to take their children to it, people must make themselves aware of the fact that the fantasy genre is a well-loved and respected genre of literature for adults!

If you look at the demographics of people playing online fantasy RPG’s (i.e. World of Warcraft!), you will find that players are largely between the ages of 21 and 35! I gave it a moral rating of “offensive,” mostly because of the character of the Captain—there was not one redeeming moral quality about him. On the bright side (if the word “bright” can be used to describe any part of Pan’s Labyrinth!), his character was not written as someone that we would want to emulate. The “neutral” was simply based on my enjoyment of the film. I do not normally have a weak stomach, yet I needed to excuse myself from the theater during some of the more intense torture scenes. Still… I cannot deny the fact that the film was well done. A bit dark for my taste… very cruel and violent… with a spark of hope at the end… and yet, I can’t stop thinking about it. The mark of a well made film that definitely deserved the Oscars it won! Should a Christian go see it? If you are an adult (it is absolutely NOT appropriate for children!)…if you are not too squeamish… and if you were a fan of Grimm’s Fairy Tales as a child, and NOT the “Disney-fied” versions of these tales… then give it a spin! Just be aware that the dark fairy tale is intensified even more with the juxtaposition of a very cruel war movie.
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Leanne, age 30
Neutral—Wonderful movie, great acting, great filmmaking, beautiful score …I think I hate it. What troubles me about this film is there is not one redemptive character. No one learns anything, no one grows, and you leave the theater empty. There seems to be a plethora of hopeless movies with hopeless characters in hopeless situations these days. There was one scene in which a poor wounded rebel was faced at gun point and trying to almost playfully move the barrel of the gun away from his face several times only to eventually be shot through his hand into his head. What in the world does this have to do with the story? How does this propel the drama? It doesn’t. We get it Capt. Vidal is cruel. We got that half an hour ago. This villain is one dimensional. There is no conflict at all. He’s bad. Got it already. In fact, all of the characters are one level and stay that way which brings me back to my point that there is no redemptive quality to this work. You are left with an empty feeling because it essentially doesn’t go anywhere. I have to wonder too if this isn’t another subtle slam to Christianity. A hopeful fairytale that results in eternal life. Notice the King and Queen high on their pedestals removed and detached. I just want to be able to be entertained and see just a morsel of redemption from something in the story. This movie has none, and, though beautifully filmed, it ultimately has no value.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Byron Ellis, age 49
Negative
Negative—This film is fraudulently being promoted as an “adult fairy tale.” In reality, it is a non-stop cavalcade of horrifying brutality, murder and violence… It features the senseless and unconscionable killing of an innocent child as its climax. I found nothing commendable in this film whatsoever. If the goal was to portray the grim and terrible realities of war, then other films have been more successful. What fantasy scenes existed in the film were very short and disgusting in their own way, full of monsters, and meant to upset and frighten the viewer. This is far more correctly billed as a horror film, a genre I abhor and would never have seen had I known. I only hope this review prevents someone from wasting their money or exposing their children to this trash.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1
—Jeanette Lawson, age 55
Negative—I took my 21 year old daughter and her friend to see this movie, and there was somewhat of a silent stamina contest going on in each of us. I walked out after about 1 1/4 hrs, and the other two were relieved that they weren’t the only ones feeling the same way! No one else in the theatre appeared to be at all troubled. I have seen hundreds of movies of all kinds; I’m not a horror fan but I do appreciate thoughtful fantasy (my all time no.1 is Lord of the Rings). I hated this movie for two reasons—first, the relentless violence, and secondly the dark and callous manner in which the story unfolded. I admit by leaving I didn’t see it to its climax, but I fear it probably got worse… but my overall feeling was of escaping from a nightmare, in which the story teller (director) seemed to be overcome by the negative and twisted spirit which he tries to portray in the story.

I don’t get the Christian subtext at all, makes The Matrix look like a gospel tract! The reviews from 15 yr olds about this movie only being for “mature adults” really worries me—I was glad my daughter is not yet apparently so “sophisticated” that she can react to movies like this. Don’t waste your money unless you need more bad dreams…
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 2
—david, age 54
Negative—Violent and graphic. This is a brutal film. I saw it because it won a couple of Oscars and looked liked it might have an interesting fantasy element. Talk about unprepared. “Pan’s Labryinth” is two movies in one. First, it is a war movie with extreme violence that makes “300” look like a romantic comedy. I have never seen such graphic material in any other war film. Secondly, it is a horror movie set in the Labryinth with continuously disturbing material. I am surprised at all of the positive views. This is certainly the most extreme “R” rated imagery I’ve seen to date. The only rewarding element seemed to be an ending with a positive moral message—a contradiction compared to the rest of the movie. Stay away from this gorefest!
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 2½
—Todd Adams, age 39
Negative—I’m surprised that any viewer of this film would comment on it with a positive attitude. I absolutely despise this film. It had a great story in terms of defining the line between good and evil, and it had a somewhat happy ending. That being said, let me now clarify that this “happy” ending was in fact overlayed by the fact that nothing good happens in this entire movie. After watching it, I felt horrified, depressed, and rather in need of something to relieve me, such as sitting and reading my Bible. If any movie makes you feel like you need to read your Bible to feel better, chances are you probably should not watch it.

This movie was grotesque. I read in the review that “a man’s teeth gets knocked from his head, and a man gets tortured” and this movie is “not for children.” This movie isn’t even for adults, unless you’re a fan of horror and gore. First, let me say that I saw nothing about any teeth. A man got his face bashed in, quite vividly and bloody, with a bottle. This lasted for about 3-5 minutes of the movie, and left nothing to the imagination. A knife was stuck inside a man’s mouth and then pulled to the side, cutting the man’s cheek completely open. You then get to watch for the next 5 minutes as he sews it vividly shut and then drinks alcohol to make it bleed some more. Oh goody. A man gets tortured, and thankfully, you don’t see it. You do get to see his disfunctional and black arm after they’re done torturing him though. Oh yum, let’s go eat dinner now.

I could keep going, but basically it’s just more gore and feeling horrified. Do not waste even a minute on this movie. The story is not worth it, and neither is the acting. Yes, the acting was accurate and well done. Is it worth spending money to rent/buy the movie and sit down to watch it for the next hour-two hours? Absolutely not. If you’re in need of a good fairytale, stick with the ones you already know. This one will simply horrify you. And despite the “metaphors” of Christianity, please note that there was only once in the movie that Jesus Christ was mentioned, and that was to take His name in vain as a cuss word. I repeat: Do not waste your time on this movie.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4½
—Cassie, age 18
Negative—All this movie is, is a vain attempt by the director to try and trick us dumb American’s (and truly anyone else) who sees this. He thinks he sooo smart and subtle, trying to slip his pro-marxist views into the movie. Did anyone notice how… OF COURSE the government is BAD, BAD, BAD, and all the poor peasants are of course nothing but good, good, good. They are “freedom fighters” so their poo doesn’t stink and we should all aspire to be like the 'freedom fighters'… Give it up, Lenin and Marx are dead, Stalin is dead, the Soviet Union is dead, and you know what!? Communism doesn’t work, but unfortunately it isn’t dead as shown by this film. All this director and this film are, are the last gasps of air by socialism, marxism, communism, whatever… trying to stay afloat and keep their misguided “revolution” alive by indoctrinating in a “soft” way, new recruits. Watch it and tell me I’m wrong… This movie was billed as a “masterpiece of fantasy;” THERE WERE ONLY THREE TO FOUR PARTS OF FANTASY IN THE WHOLE MOVIE! The fantasy was simply filler, to tie the rest of this guy’s “revolutionary fairy tale” …fantasy together. There was the freaking crack-head faun scene, then there was the thing that ate children, then there was the root in milk, and then the ending, and that was it! The rest is set on our planet, in our time; they even give you a WWII reference. …this movie was flat out horrible; I was expecting a masterpiece… what I got was marxism.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2½
—James Bradley, age 24

Positive—I felt the need to post in response to Mr. Bradley. The film is a great work of art about how a child uses her imagination to escape the horror of what is happening around her. It does take place during a time in which Spain was having a revolution, and yes socialism was a part of the revolutionaries platform. However, to make comment that the government in Spain should not have been portrayed as BAD BAD BAD is ridiculous. The Spanish Government that those freedom fighters are trying to overthrow are a part of Franco’s Spain. Spain’s government at the time was Fascist, the viciousness with which they try and put down the freedom fighters in the film is considerable accurate. This was a government that sided with Nazi Germany in terms of ideological belief. To blindly characterize all revolutionaries as communist or socialist is to not understand why they are challenging the system, it is using a broad brush to paint all those who may disagree with the status quo, it is to marginalize those true revolutionaries in our world. When we fail to understand why one person is willing to fight we will fail to avoid the fight itself. Please take the time to understand your history on an individual case by case basis, do not always listen to what others tell you. Remember that Christ himself was a revolutionary who came to help non-other than the weakest (the peasants) among us.
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—John, age 26

Positive—First of all, I’d like to applaud a Mr. James Bradley for having possibly the funniest movie review I’ve ever seen to date. Not only was it crude, ill-written, and uninformed, it was ludicrous, bordering on offensive. I actually saw this movie last night, and, obviously, I was a fan. First of all, the cinematography in this movie was fantastic. The lighting, the camera angles, and the general mood throughout the entire performance were really quite stunning. I was impressed by the acting, particularly by that of the little girl who played Ofelia. She managed to seem both very human and very fantastic. I almost felt like I was reading a fairy tale. Not one of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, mind you, but one with a happier ending. And yes, I realize that some of you out there would say that the ending of this movie is sad, disturbing, or even traumatic, but I found that the sentiments portrayed by Mr. Del Toro were nothing short of beautiful.

Now, after having read the reviews on this movie, I was rather impressed by some, but some of them had a peculiar way of turning my stomach. Now, I am a big believer in free speech, and very much an advocate of the First Amendment, so I believe that everyone has the right to state their opinion. I also, as a result of that, believe that I, or anyone else, have/has the right to call someone down on it. That being said, here is my opinion of this movie, from a content and spiritual perspective.

I heard this movie describe as “a non-stop cavalcade of horrifying brutality, murder and violence.” I’ll be the first one to admit that this is a violent movie. For those of you out there that are disturbed by violence, I would not advise this film. But for those of you out there who abhor or condemn violence in its every facet, consider this. I’d say it’s entirely possible that the most violent, and possible sexually-oriented book in the world is the Bible. For the violence, you must know what I mean. In the book of Judges, it graphically describes how a Jewish assassin plunges a blade deep into a obese man’s stomach, and how the fatty flesh closes over the blade before he can retract it. That’s pretty violent. As for the sexual content, you have most likely never read the Hebrew “Song of Solomon.” It is so graphic that the English translations are nothing like the original. And yes, I know that the Bible is a true story, and based on God’s very words. Just consider it.

Also, something I found very disturbing was the comment of the aforementioned “James Bradley.” As I said earlier, I believe that a man (or woman) has the right to say his opinion. However, I believe that that grants me the right to call it down. I was sad when I finished reading that comment. He insults communism, socialism, and Marxism in virtually every way he can manage. I realize that it is probable that he is just uniformed: I know the effect that '50’s propaganda had America’s view of Communism. I just wish that he would be more informed about those things that he chose to bash. Communism, in concept, is a wonderful thing. If you don’t believe me, read the Bible. The early church under Peter was, to at least a certain extent, a commune. They shared everything, and they were all equals. The rigid hierarchy that is present in today’s America was not there. So please, at least consider my words. So, in closing, I would STRONGLY recommend this movie to anyone who can stomach the violence. It is depressing in one way, yet uplifting in another. Feel free to take my words with a grain of salt, but at least you’ll be taking them.
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Daniel, age 16

Comments from young people
Positive—This is truly an incredible movie! It stays with you after you see it. This movie is beautiful, haunting and sad. It is full of symbolism, many which seems to be Christian related, not New Age. It is very violent though and should only be watched by mature teens and adults. If you go see it, you won’t be disappointed with the thought-provoking messages and symbolism, as well as the beautiful movie making quality. For sure a strong Oscar contender.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Adam, age 16
Positive—(Spoilers may follow) At the end of this film, people in the audience were left stunned, teary-eyed, and some horrified. I was completely blown away. I have not seen a more beautiful and poetic movie in years, and I know that Pan’s Labyrinth will remain in my mind for as long as I can remember. It leaves one with such a powerful and unsettling message, and for hours afterward I found myself turning over the story in my head. “Pan’s Labyrinth” battles with the boundaries of reality and fantasy, and how a young girl (or any children) struggles to cope with the atrocities of the world. She undergoes several trials that test her bravery, love, and strength, and in the end she sacrifices herself and gives her own blood so that her younger brother may live, and that an evil man’s tyranny is put to an end. This was such a strong parallel to the sacrifice that Christ made, and that the girl, Ofelia, refused to have the innocent be punished so she gave herself. And in her death, a final vision of fantasy (or reality?) that she has is her being welcomed into a glorious kingdom, where her father is waiting for her.

This is a film for adults and mature teens only, and can definitely open up much deep discussion. One small, seemingly insignificant person compared to the horrors of the world had so much courage to die for her beliefs and for others. There are heavy amounts of violence in this film, but I encourage all who are able to handle gory images to see it. The beauty and messages behind it are greater than the violent scenes.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Katie S., age 15
Positive—…“a masterpiece.” It’s so well made, and it never has any slow pacing, and the score is incredible. In fact, 2006 was so much better of a year for movies than 2005 it’s hard not to be ecstatic. Three of my top 25 favorite movies came out this year: The Departed, Babel, and Pan’s Labyrinth. Here is the score:
  1. Entertainment: 9.75 out of 10
  2. Directing: 9.5 out of 10
  3. Acting: 8.75 out of 10
  4. Writing: 9.5 out of 10
  5. Film editing: 8.5 out of 10
  6. Cinematography: 10 out of 10
  7. Score: 9.75 out of 10
  8. Visual effects: 9 out of 10
  9. Sound effects: 8 out of 10
  10. Costume design/Makeup: 10 out of 10
  11. Art direction: 10 out of 10
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Jimmy, age 17
Positive—Well, as far as I can say, for those who have seen “The Passion of the Christ,” you will not be shocked by the violence in this movie. There aren’t any body parts leaving the body or whatnot, no flying… excuse the term, “bodily meats,” but plenty of blood, gross sounds, and a scene of do-it-yourself stitching on the mouth area. Let’s just say, a bucket of blood or two. Most of the violent scenes are short, if not cut off to another perspective in the film right before any gore would be seen.

And for those of you who are afraid of “demonic” things in this movie, the only problem is that most things do not look like something you’d see in a Christ-like film, but in many ways I saw this movie to be Christ-like. I wouldn’t recommend this movie to someone who easily can get movie-induced nightmares, however, as some of the mythical creatures can be found to be disturbing.

As far as the a Christian’s view-point, the movie, in my eyes, had many imaginative themes to represent many things in the bible, Ofelia playing the Christ-like role. She was tempted, she gave up her blood for another’s, she refused to hurt anyone in her pursuit to return to the so-claimed “underworld” which is only a slightly uncomfortable label for the “Heaven” in this movie.

Ofelia has turned from a (Non-mortal) being from this so-called “heaven,” into a mortal, and must return. And in her small way, being a small girl, saves Spain during the Spanish Civil war, from the Hitler-like main “bad guy.” Once she has shed her blood and “died,” she returns to “Heaven,” with her “True father,” in a kingdom I found to be VERY Heaven-like, despite the description of the Kingdom at the beginning of the movie.

There is the “King,” and strangely to me, a “Queen,” and the Faun most likely playing an Angel-like role, guiding Ofelia through the tasks so she can return to the Kingdom. Though I know Christ himself in the Bible had no such help, except from God, the “True Father” and “King” himself, I thought everything fit just about right in this movie to still have it’s Christian-themed storyline.

One must wait however, since this is mostly a war movie, there are many tear-jerking scenes throughout the film, and the happy ending is at the very end. After seeing this movie and thinking over the story a bit, I know this is a keeper for me. Who knows, I might buy the book for a Summer read!
My Ratings: Offensive / 4½
—Sarah, age 13