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Pan's Labyrinth *spoilers galore*
MiniMyth at 6:57PM, Jan. 21, 2007
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Just saw it today. You know, I don't normally dig sad movies, but it was marvelous. The characters were so rich, especially the Captain, and the story really built on itself and utilized its imagry in the best possible way.

But there's something that I've been wondering. This is not the only movie to have an ending where death is probable, but uncertain. What I mean is this- at the end, the child supposedly dies, shot by her step father. But as her friends cry over her body, she awakens in the palace that the faun promised her, before her mother and father who are king and queen. Perhaps this is symbolism of an afterlife, or perhaps it's the last hallucination of a dying girl. Perhaps she really did go there, leaving behind her mortal body. What the truth is isn't exactly my concern, per se.

But when I came out of the theater, all my friends assumed that she had up and up died, with no fantastic twist, despite the entire movie. Isn't it strange that this is the instant assumption? That it was all an illusion and that she's dead as a doornail, with no fantasies attached? It seems a little odd to fall back on this in a movie that's equal parts realistic drama and dark fantasy. When it comes to movies like this, why does no one ever assume the more fantastic of the possibilities, when the very fantasy of these movies is as integral to them as the realistic portions?
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:02PM
Mystic Hand at 8:39PM, Jan. 21, 2007
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Methinks you have a dubious premise. The opinions of a few of your friends can hardly be extrapolated into meaning everyone, everywhere, and always, can they?

However, assuming for a minute your assumption is correct, that is basically the point this film addresses. The magic is there for people who are open to it and who know how to look.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:09PM
MiniMyth at 9:14PM, Jan. 21, 2007
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I should have clarified- it was more of a case in point rather than some grand totality. I've seen people assume much the same thing during other movies with similar endings.

And yeah, I realize that is the premise…honestly, there's evidence both ways as to whether or not she was imagining it all. My personal opinion was, yeah, it was a selective reality. But my point is not what actually happened, but rather the tendancy of people to automatically disregard the fantastic side of it when, in the world set up within the context of the movie, the fantastic plays as much of a role, with a “real” effect, as the real does. I just wonder about that. For example, do people prefer the sadder ending because they feel it is more realistic? If it were a movie like, say, Big Fish, I could understand it…they pretty much tore away the illusions at the end. Ah well. Perhaps you're right and it's just the sample of people who I've run into.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:02PM
bluebug at 10:36PM, Jan. 21, 2007
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I just finished seeing Pan's Labyrinth, and it was indeed a marvelous movie. It took me some time to absorb because it was chock full of amazing imagery, mythos and messages.

In answer to your question as to whether or not Ofelia died at the end of the movie, there's evidence that she did in fact die. When she's in the “Underworld”, she sees her father and her mother (ie. the King and the Queen). The Queen has the same face as her “real world” mother. This suggests that Ofelia is dreaming. She's fantasizing a world in which she ultimately succeeds in returning back home to the underworld and one in which her mother is alive and well. In short, she's imagined her own end to be like that of the fairytales she loved so much (ie. “and they lived happily ever after …”).

But even if one disregards the fact that her dead mother appears as the Queen, the movie pans back to her, dying, and we can see her smile. Seeing as how she can't be in two places at once (ie. being welcomed in the Underworld and yet dying in the real world), one can only assume that she dies.

When the movie ended, my first response was “That was the most depressing movie that I've ever seen”, mostly because Guillermo unexpectedly killed off all the major players and left the minor players alive and well. Hollywood movies tend towards the opposite, that is, kill the minor ones (hence creating some sense of tragedy and an “imperfect world”) but sparing the major ones, the ones we care about the most. However, the more I think about it, the more I realize that Pan's ending was a “positive” one. First, I had to understand that the themes of the movie were the survival of “choice/free will” and “innocence”. In the end, Ofelia was in complete control of her destiny. She made a choice not to sacrifice morality for paradise (unlike the Captain and his men), and she didn't give up on her dreams and her fairytales (unlike her mother). Despite all the horrors that happened around her, she maintained her both her goodness and her innocence.

Pan's Labyrinth has now usurped Donnie Darko as being my favorite movie.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:28AM
MiniMyth at 3:13AM, Jan. 22, 2007
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Hey, Mercedes lived! And she got the last laugh, as it were! ;D

Well…I suppose if we are actually going to get into whether or not Ofelia died, I would have to say yes and no. She did, in this world, but I think that there was a kind of selective reality that was also true…not exactly imagined, because it had real world effects- the fig tree was reborn, her mother began to feel better as she worked with the mandrake, she was able to draw a chalk door to get into the captain's room, etc. I suppose it could be argued that perhaps these were all coincidence and she just played into the results, but there's usually some indication of such in a movie. At the same time, what is true for her is not true for anyone else. The captain didn't see the faun, and no one else witnessed any of the other strange events. But yeah, she definately died on this world…what with Mercedes crying over her body and all. I think it's mostly a question of whether there actually were dual world.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:02PM
mechanical_lullaby at 4:17AM, Jan. 22, 2007
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Two words to describe the movie in a nutshell:
Gratuitous and well-executed.
The movie twists into unexpectancy, and it's acting is fabulous. So are the costumes and the special effects and the monsters. The flabby children-eating guy scared me more than most horror movies do. Congrats, Pan's Labrinth.
Although, I do understand Spanish so reading the subtitles at the same time was kind of a disenchantment for me. I didn't have to read the subtitles, but compared to the actual dialogue of the movie it wasn't as nice. I suppose I didn't like the script too much compared with the rest of the movie– but that's all right. You see, great acting always makes up for a script. Always.
Unfortunately for some movies, it doesn't work the other way around.

oh, and she only died in the real world. In her own world she went to a land without darkness or pain to live with Pan and her real parents. But she did die. I've never seen anyone get shot and bleed from the nose and mouth and come away from it. I've never seen fairies either, but we'll see what's what.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:56PM
bluebug at 6:57AM, Jan. 22, 2007
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MiniMyth
Hey, Mercedes lived! And she got the last laugh, as it were! ;D

Well…I suppose if we are actually going to get into whether or not Ofelia died, I would have to say yes and no. She did, in this world, but I think that there was a kind of selective reality that was also true…not exactly imagined, because it had real world effects- the fig tree was reborn, her mother began to feel better as she worked with the mandrake, she was able to draw a chalk door to get into the captain's room, etc. I suppose it could be argued that perhaps these were all coincidence and she just played into the results, but there's usually some indication of such in a movie. At the same time, what is true for her is not true for anyone else. The captain didn't see the faun, and no one else witnessed any of the other strange events. But yeah, she definately died on this world…what with Mercedes crying over her body and all. I think it's mostly a question of whether there actually were dual world.

There was definitely a dual world, but from what I can see, there's only one piece of evidence that proves it. At the end of the movie, she escaped from her room, but it was locked from the outside. When Mercedes and the rebels entered the room, there was a chalk drawing of a door. There was no other way Ofelia could have escaped except for the chalk door. I agree that the fact that the Captain couldn't see Pan doesn't mean that he didn't exist. It just means that magic can only be seen by those who believe.

I suppose I didn't like the script too much compared with the rest of the movie– but that's all right. You see, great acting always makes up for a script. Always.

I was wondering about what the script was like, compared to the subtitles. Some of it fell flat, but the characterization was superb. I especially like how evil they made the Captain. For example, in the torture scene, the most memorable part for me was how he taunted the stuttering man with a possibility of freedom - by giving him an impossible task. I wonder if this is a parallel to Pan and his quests - at least Pan's quest were possible, which is ironic. The fairytale's tasks are possible, but the real world task isn't.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:28AM
bluebug at 5:14PM, Jan. 22, 2007
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I found this today, so if you want to hear the interpretation of Pan's Labyrinth directly from the horse's mouth, head here:

http://www.twitchfilm.net/archives/008507.html

It's great that Guillermo del Turo discussed his interpretation of the movie. Directors rarely do that, and so I'm usually left in the dark as to whether my interpretation was the “right” one or not. There were parallels that I missed, which, now that I know of them, makes me love the movie even more. What a fantastic movie and a fantastic interview - he brings up philosophies and quotes that are thought-provoking.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:28AM
Aurora Moon at 7:02PM, Jan. 22, 2007
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I love this movie so much. I'm definely buying it on DVD when I get the chance.
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:09AM
MiniMyth at 7:03PM, Jan. 22, 2007
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Damn that's a good interview! =o He's very eloquent, and I have to give mad props to the interviewer, as well. Those were some well thought out questions and remarks.

I admit I'm pleased that I picked up on the chalk outline and the flower….but I completely forgot about the walls! Hah!
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:02PM
ccs1989 at 9:44AM, Feb. 3, 2007
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I saw this film yesterday, and I really liked it. One thing I really thought was interesting was how the area that the film occurs in is so limited yet feels so epic. A lot of fantasy movies these days try to be so incredibly vast in their scope, but it usually doesn't work out so well. This one kept the main character inside of a small area, but it still worked out and felt epic in the end.

Really good movie. I don't think she died in the end, because her spirit was reincarnated once, and so it could easily be done again only into a different body or something like that.

The captain was a fantastic character. I really liked how they handled him. Decidedly evil, but also pushed to the end of his limits and wanting to be remembered. “He won't even know your name” is a great line by Mercedes.

http://ccs1989.deviantart.com

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:38AM
Ian Jay at 6:24PM, Feb. 3, 2007
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Saw it with Mechanical_Lullaby. Can't really add anything more to this topic– I agree with everyone else's diagnosis of the film as “totally bitchin'”. Definitely gonna snap up the DVD when it comes out.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:56PM
Kristen Gudsnuk at 8:57AM, Feb. 9, 2007
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this movie makes me really proud to be spanish ^^

But regarding the fact that Ofelia's mom is there at the end… that doesn't mean that it's the last hallucination of a dying girl! Otherwise, why would the fauno have appeared to her beforehand? Although some parts of the movie seem to imply that Ofelia's crazy imagination is dreaming everything up, there's some substantial proof that the fantastic part of the film does actually happen (rather than being a mental construct, a form of escapism from fascism). When the mother throws the root-baby into the fire, she immediately has a botched pregnancy and dies. This is because the fauno's magic stops working!!!
I too was faced with a similar situation when I saw this with my friends. I was the only one who thought she got to be the moon-princess or whatever.
SHE BECAME A PRINCESS! Moanna, right? I think the film leaves it open as a way of measuring what kind of people the viewers are. Do you believe in magic (in a young girl's heart?) or do you believe in DEATH AND WAR?!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:22PM
Raffaele_Ienco at 12:42PM, April 16, 2007
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Loved it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:59PM
Crazy Dutchman at 2:48PM, April 29, 2007
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FINALLY I've got a chance to see it! I own it on DVD now and I don't regret buying it. The movie was so fantastic and it had a great ending and often a beautiful soundtrack. They did a lovely job with those costumes.

People already see it as a classic, so we've all witnessed a historical event :) Kind of weird tough that suddenly people seem to find del Toro such a brilliant director. I didn't know people were actually keen on Mimic, Blade II and Hellboy, but since he's made this movie more people appreciate them somehow.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:48AM
patrickdevine at 3:18PM, May 14, 2007
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The actor that played the Captain was awesome! It's sort of rare to see an actor that would ever play a character that's such a horrible person! Honestly, that Captain terrified me!
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:41PM

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