Pan’s Labyrinth is a 2006 Mexican-Spanish dark fantasy feature film written and directed by Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water; Cronos; Pacific Rim; Crimson Peak). The movie stars Maribel Verdu, Doug Jones (as the Faun and the Pale Man), Sergi Lopez and Ivana Baquero.
Spain, May – June 1944: Five years after the Spanish Civil War, during the early Francoist period.
Ofelia’s stepfather, the Falangist Captain Vidal, hunts the Spanish Maquis who fight against the Francoist regime in the region, while Ofelia’s pregnant mother grows increasingly ill. Ofelia meets several strange and magical creatures who become central to her story, leading her through the trials of the old labyrinth garden…
Del Toro stated that he considers the story to be a parable, influenced by fairy tales, and that it addresses and continues themes related to his earlier film The Devil’s Backbone (2001), to which Pan’s Labyrinth is a spiritual successor.
The original Spanish title refers to the fauns of Roman mythology, while the English, German, and French titles refer specifically to the faun-like Greek character Pan. However, del Toro has stated that the faun in the film is not Pan.
The film won Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Makeup and appeared on many critics top ten lists for 2006.
On October 11, 2016, Pan’s Labyrinth was released on Blu-ray by The Criterion Collection with the following special features:
- Newly graded 2K digital master, supervised by director Guillermo del Toro, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- Alternate DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- Audio commentary by del Toro from 2007
- New interview with del Toro by novelist Cornelia Funke about fairy tales, fantasy, and Pan’s Labyrinth
- New interview with actor Doug Jones
- Four 2007 making-of documentaries, examining the characters, production, special effects, themes, and music of the film
- Interactive director’s notebook
- Footage of actor Ivana Baquero’s audition for the film
- Animated comics featuring prequel stories for the film’s menagerie of creatures
- Programs comparing selected production storyboards and del Toro’s thumbnail sketches with the final film; visual effects work for the Green Fairy; and elements of the film’s score
- Trailers and TV spots
- An essay by film critic Michael Atkinson
“Pan’s Labyrinth is one of the cinema’s great fantasies, rich with darkness and wonder. It’s a fairy tale of such potency and awesome beauty that it reconnects the adult imagination to the primal thrill and horror of the stories that held us spellbound as children.” Roger Ebert
“I felt the movie was a series of four or five brilliant images, like illustrative plates from a Victorian volume, or frames from a graphic novel. There was no overwhelming narrative drive or inner dramatic life to animate them. But what amazing pictures Del Toro dreams up.” The Guardian
“Compelling from first frame to last, Pan’s Labyrinth never misses a chance to wrench, quell or quicken your heart: this visionary project propels Del Toro into the highest league of filmmakers. There can be no excuses. See this film.” BBCi
“As in all of Guillermo del Toro’s films, his visual inventiveness is let down by some confused, anti-climactic plotting, so that, in the end, the story’s two strands don’t tie together. And because Ofelia has very little to to do in either of them, you’re left with the nagging sense that Pan’s Labyrinth has plenty of supporting characters, but no leads.” The Independent