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Running Time:
1 hour, 54 minutes

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for graphic violence and some language

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
A fascinating, spellbinding mix of horror, fantasy, history and drama. It's as satisfying as the darkest Grimm's fairy tale.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Video prologue and audio commentary by Guillermo Del Toro; four featurettes including "The Power of Myth," "The Faun and the Fairies," "The Color and The Shape," and The Charlie Rose Show episode featuring Del Toro; "The Director's Notebook" section including production sketches, storyboards, and storyboard/thumbnail comparisons; theatrical trailer, teaser trailer, TV spots.

Pan's Labyrinth
The film is set in fascist Spain in 1944. Ofelia (Ivana Baquero "Werewolf Hunter"), is a bookish 12-year-old who goes with her pregnant mother Carmen (Ariadna Gil "Belle époque") to an isolated farm in northern Spain. Here, her new stepfather Vidal (Sergi López "Dirty Pretty Things"), an army captain commanding Franco's troops fighting remnants of the anti-Fascist rebels, has set up camp. Attempting to starve out the rebels hiding in the dark woods and mountains surrounding the farm, the sadistic captain has no problem carrying out his anti-insurgency campaign, coolly ordering the subservient peasants to lock up all food and medical supplies, and only doling them out to the nearby villagers when he sees fit. While the adults, including the excellent Maribel Verdú ("Y Tu Mamá También"), as a woman with a rebel lover, are involved in serving the sadistic captain and his men, Ofelia's mother becomes more ill, and the girl becomes involved in a life of her own.

A small, fluttering fairy takes Ofelia to an ancient and partially overgrown labyrinth near the farmhouse. There, she meets a horned faun (Doug Jones "Hellboy"), who tells Ofelia that she is the reincarnation of the underworld kingdom's long-vanished princess. The faun tells her that if she completes three tasks, she'll become an immortal, magical princess. While the guerrilla fighting continues bloodily in the thickly wooded mountains, and her mother's pregnancy turns dangerous, Ofelia pursues her mythological tasks. These tasks are filmed by del Toro like mini-epics, complete with heart-stopping tension and near-euphoric release, as young Ofelia sets herself against the powers of evil. One of the adults says to Ofelia, "The world isn't like your fairy tales. The world is a cruel place." They don't realize that Ofelia's fairy tales are as cruel as anything she encounters in the "real" world.

Mexican filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro ("Hellboy") has created a kind of companion piece to his excellent and eerie 2001 ghost story, The Devil's Backbone. Besides being a fairytale, it is also a terrifying story of a child caught in circumstances way beyond her control. It's a glorious achievement; this irresistible and affecting mixture of horror, fantasy, history, and drama.

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