21 July 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

This modern, brutal fairy tale from Guillermo del Toro is really good. The magical parts are have captured something normally missing from fantasy films - a sense of meaning that you can't fathom, a reluctance to just use the same old tropes. The story mixes real-world and fantasy elements - the protagonist is a girl with a cruel (fascist officer) stepfather, who is given tasks to do that will reunite her with her true father, the king of the underworld. She carries these out against the background of a fascist camp hunting down a troop of rebels in a forest.

The special effects are good, too. There are some wonderful transformation effects, and the fairies are pretty cool (although they in particular have that 'obvious cg' look).

Great film, although not for the faint-hearted... there are some nasty scenes when the fascists are hunting down rebels, and the rebels are much the same in return.

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