Pan’s Labyrinth is the darkest version of Alice in Wonderland I’ve ever seen. It’s also considered by many to be Guillermo Del Toro’s magnum opus. Which I can definitely understand after watching it. Pan’s Labyrinth is a dark fantasy set in Spain after the Spanish Civil War. During which time, evil falange officers hunt down war rebels. Lead by the particularly despicable Captain Vidal. I know what you’re thinking, where’s the fantasy? Pan’s Labyrinth does a terrific job balancing both the real and the fantastical. Ofelia is a young girl forced to live with her sick expecting mother and her new stepfather (the evil captain). So Ofelia escapes inside her fairytales that exist in the real world. It’s a lot like Alice in Wonderland because Ofelia is a lot like Alice. A girl entering a strange world because she wants to escape her life. Where she encounters a helpful guide, enters a tree, and has a dinner party. Only instead there are fairies, an earthly faun, a giant toad, and a disturbing child-eating monster called the Pale Man. A pale creature with long nails and eyes on its hands. All of this can only be from the creative mind of Guillermo Del Toro. His creature designs are some of the best he’s ever done here. Pan’s Labyrinth is depressing, but it’s something we can all use to escape.
P.S. The entire movie is in Spanish. Something every trailer forgot to mention.