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Arts and Entertainment

Pan's Labyrinth Still Isn't Any Good

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About three weeks ago, LAist's Elina reviewed the critically acclaimed fantasy film Pan's Labyrinth and gave it a resounding meh.

Elina said then that this film and 2001's The Devil's Backbone (both by director Guillermo del Toro) have a lot of similarities, but sadly Pan's is lacking.

...where The Devil's Backbone uses careful plotting and clever visuals to meticulously interweave the fantastical and realistic narrative threads, Pan's Labyrinth is all baroque styling and tangential plot turns that bog down a fairly thin skeleton of a movie. LAist, 12/30/06
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One of the commentors on her post accused Elina of many things, including being disingenuous in her review by using a technique of being contrarian.Since the film was getting overwhelmingly good reviews (currently 96% on Rotten Tomatoes) I decided to screen the movie to see if our Film Editor had lost her damn mind.

What I saw was a very pretty, somewhat trippy, but ultimately empty movie that is in no way recommendable. The characters are flat and predictable, the plot is gaping full of holes, there are no thrills, and ultimately you feel as though the style is only there to distract you from the fact that there's nothing really happening on the screen.

People are calling it "Alice in Wonderland for Adults" but the only things that make it adult are disgusting and could be done in a way that kids could still watch, so why make it "adult" if there's still no edge or depth to it when you do?

I couldn't agree more with Modfab:

There are two precariously conjoined tales in this Labyrinth. One involves a sensitive young girl, Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), with a sadistic stepfather and an overactive imagination. The other story is a gritty political drama set against the Spanish Civil War, replete with gun battles, revolutionaries, and battalions. The two plotlines try faintheartedly to merge behind common themes: mindless obeyance versus free thought, valor over despotism. But watching the film, one gets no significant ideological resonance; it feels more like a sadistic mashup of Bridge Over The River Kwai and the duller sequences of The Chronicles of Narnia.

So yes, LAist gives Pan's two thumbs down.