An Unforgettable Movie-Watching Experience with "Pan's Labyrinth"

Although I'd heard of Guillermo del Toro before, I had never really paid attention to who he was and what kind of works he delivers. Watching "Pan's Labyrinth" burnt his name into my brain because I am never going to forget this beautiful yet harrowing piece of work. Symbolisms and technicalities aside, this movie is like a "reel" version of a dusty and heavy dark fairy tale book. (I am not a movie expert or an expert in symbolism – this post is just a personal opinion about the movie.)

While certain scenes like the one where the giant toad vomited its own stomach and the one where Captain Vidal stitched up his own mouth were very repulsive, they were still very intriguing. Although experts would continuously analyze these scenes and give their opinions about what each scene symbolizes, an average audience would only find them as another reason to "be in love with the movie". Understood that the director is trying to tell us much more, but fantasies are (sometimes) much more interesting when you have no idea why certain characters are significant and how they appear in a certain way.

When we read books or watch movies that depict a lot of symbolism, it is easy to get lost in the technicalities and entirely forget to enjoy the story. I recommend watching the movie first to simply immerse ourselves in the experience and then watching it the second (third, fourth, fifth, and so on) time round to "study" it.

The Pale Man that got to me

My favorite part of the movie is the Pale Man's chamber – so unnerving yet so beautiful. Right from the hallways, I started getting the chills and continued "shuddering" throughout the scene. The director has done a really good job in creating an eerie effect to even the simplest of scenes. What really amazes me about Guillermo del Toro is that he has the ability to portray the most terrifying incidents in the subtlest of ways. For instance, the scene where Ofelia finds a pile of children's shoes near the fireplace simply told us that the Pale Man has killed hundreds of innocent children.

There is something about the Pale Man that leaves everyone (that I've known of) unsettled – if not terrified. His drained and pale complexion and folds of loose skin are just little "bits" about him that complete his look. The fact that he doesn't have eyes on his head makes us wonder how exactly Ofelia will anger him (before the eating scene). It's the "not-knowing" part that is frightening for many people. Perhaps Guillermo del Toro should consider making an entire movie (or short film) about the Pale Man and give us some insight into the creature's background.


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