Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro returns to the phantasmagorical cinema that defined such early fare as Cronos and The Devil's Backbone with this haunting fantasy-drama set in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War and detailing the strange journeys of an imaginative young girl who may be the mythical princess of an underground kingdom. Her mother, Carmen (Ariadna Gil), recently remarried to sadistic army captain Vidal (Sergi López) and soon to bear the cruel military man's child, shy young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) is forced to entertain herself as her recently-formed family settles into their new home nestled deep in the Spanish countryside. As Ofelia's bed-ridden mother lies immobilized in anticipation of her forthcoming child and her high-ranking stepfather remains determined to fulfill the orders of General Francisco Franco to crush a nearby guerilla uprising, the young girl soon ventures into an elaborate stone labyrinth presided over by the mythical faun Pan (Doug Jones). Convinced by Pan that she is the lost princess of legend and that in order to return to her underground home she must complete a trio of life-threatening tasks, Ofelia sets out to reclaim her kingdom and return to her grieving father as Vidal's housekeeper Mercedes (Maribel Verdú) and doctor (Alex Angulo) plot secretly on the surface to keep the revolution alive.~Jason Buchanan
To start, Pan's Labyrinth is my favorite movie for a multitude of reasons. For example, it balances spectacle with realism; therefore, it grounds itself in the simplicity of its storytelling. Furthermore, it accurately depicts the violence of war, and the true casualties therein, which are children, or their innocence. Lastly, it does all this whilst maintaining a fantastical and mysterious overtone, masterfully overlaying fantasy with reality in a subtle way. With all this being said, my review of this product is based solely on this remaster; here is my take on that front.
As a movie ages, naturally certain technical aspects will stand the test of time and others will not. Pan's Labyrinth is no exception to this rule. Seeing as a majority of the shots are based on practical effects, it still looks amazing. However, there are some scene that did not age as well, such as some CGI shots of their practical counterparts. Be that as it may, this master has sharpened the image substantially, and given it better colors. To the benefit of the viewer, colors are not overdone. In fact, the best addition to the colors is actually in the shadows -- all the original filters and coloring remain relatively untouched, save for this one aspect. As such, we are given an end product that looks and feels like the original, but with the added contrast and wider color gamut.
Moving on, there is also the newly remastered audio to talk about. Not only were they able to create clearer audio, but they've somehow added more depth to it overall. Scenes that take place in the woods have more depth to them and better seperation -- it sounds more alive. If you have a surroundsound system, the audio will certainly take full adventage of it. Quite literally, it feels as though you are there with the characters, hearing what they would hear as they should be hearing it. The audio on this edition ultimately adds another level of realism to the film that many didn't realize was missing.
Overall, this is a faithful remaster done with a sublime attention to detail and appreciation for the original. Nothing ever detracts from this masterpiece; on the contrary, it only adds to one of the best cinematic experiences of all time. This edition is a must have for all movie collectors, and it surely will not disappoint.
Pan's Labyrinth is an all-time classic. Expertly scripted and directed by the amazing Guillermo Del Toro, Pan's Labyrinth tell's the story of a young girl's struggles of adapting to an unwanted life and her escape to a fantastical world.
Amazing practical effects and cinematography. The score is remarkable. One of my all time favorite movies. The 4K transfer is great and the HDR is subtle but perfectly applied. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.