Pan's Labyrinth

So last night I headed on out to see this flick. I've heard about it for a while. Heard it was one of the most spectacular spectacles to come along in a long time. I was really psyched for a total trippy romp through a weird world! Pan's Labyrinth! Great otherworldly name! It's been too long since there's been a good romping through a fantastic fantasy world. Potter movies just don't cut it for me usually. And hearing that this flick takes the green goop cake covered in monster sparkle stars got me totally psyched up.

On the way there I bought a big 24 oz. can of Sapporo beer (they stay colder longer. thick metal. my movie beer is now Sapporo) but I didn't get the wasabi peas. Last time I went to a movie with the wasabis, I shared them with a friend and got annoyed by the super loud munching sound they would make when he chewed them. I realized I'm that wasabi loud too. Now I'm self-conscious about eating them unless I know the theater is going to be like empty. So I went with this alterative snack which goes really great with beer! I'd never seen them before but I'm an instant fan! They're not all loud crunchy and they're yummy...maybe healthy too! Bonus! No fat face!

Anyway, this flick starts up and I crack my beer and dig into my new snacks. Right away my ADD kicks in and I can't concentrate on the subtitles. For me subtitles are like listening to an accent in a movie. Like if I watch a British or Irish movie, it takes me like ten minutes before I can adjust my hearing to understand a word of their garbled english. With subtitles, I have to like yell at my brain to read and actually absorb what I'm reading. Instead of pretending to read. I was all glossy brained and too busy looking at faces and colors to read words for a nice stretch.

Eventually I settled in ok but then got distracted again because I got scared that I locked myself out of my apartment. I tried to block out the thought of being locked out for like ten minutes-- but it won me over. (What could I do about it then?) So I had to go through all my pockets (stupid cargo pants) and jacket before I found them and then really relax. And finally, I started watching this flick. And some magic showed up and I got all tingly excited for the magical magic. Simple good magic! I felt myself regressing back to the mind set of a kid. Fairy tale land! Where everything is possible! I was happy that it wasn't a leap for me to get there.

Then the 'reality' side of the plot started in. It takes place on some Spanish outpost during WWII. There's a pregnant mother, daughter and a mean step father guy who runs the outpost. 'The Captain'. He seemed like a real grade-A dick so that was cool. Evil guy! Got it! But then not too far in 'The Captain' did something stunningly violent. Don't get my wrong. I'm a big fan of violence! But this just seemed really over the top unnecessary. It sort of forced me to stop thinking along 'kid' lines and upped my age into an adult. I adjusted to the idea of this being a fairy tale... for adults. I guess that was the point. But I wasn't psyched about it, really.

After a while I realized we were spending alot of time in 'reality'. I got impatient. I wanted to go down into the labyrinth and see what's down there! Sure, now and then the girl would go off and meet creatures and do "tasks". And they were way totally coolio and fun! Some of the visuals burned my brain. The world under there was friggin awesome! Loved loved it. But the problem with this movie for me is it hangs out in reality much more than I expected. It digs in on the war stuff. And the violence. And the who's who. I get the idea of a little girl escaping to fantasyland to get away from the big bad world... but considering how much the big bad world sucked-- I wish she could have gotten away more... alot more.

Three Good Things About this Movie

- The scene with the feast and the creature is visually the flat out scary eyeball awesomeness.
- As much as I wanted more magic, the 'real world' stuff was entertaining and exciting enough.
- Some of the gory stuff was done horribly well.

Three Bad Things About this Movie

- Frankly, I didn't see why it needed the hard-core violence. There's plenty of other ways to show ugly in the heart.
- The very unlikeable bad guy got the most amount of screen time. And I got tired of him.
- The dwindling hope that the underworld was going to crack open and take over-- was disappointing distracting.

All in all, I'd say this is probably a coolio stoner movie. I was never bored in it and dug it-- but somehow I walked out feeling there was a big push of hype behind this flick that isn't totally deserved. Something about it being 'foreign' I think made it more respectable and 'artsy'. And I think the marketing is a bit of a scam. The truth of it is, I felt this could have been a truly coolio movie about an fantasmagorical underground underworld (for adults and children)-- but the violence, grownup games, and plot junk-- mucked it all up and I left feeling like we only just scratched the surface.