The 365 Best Films of the 2000s

Heroes of the Zeroes: Pan’s Labyrinth

Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.

“Pan’s Labyrinth”
Rated R

Streams of blood course through “Pan’s Labyrinth,” but only because of the huge, hard-pumping heart beating within this grim, but unexpectedly hopeful, adult fairytale.

Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has always been a meticulous master of the macabre, composing reams of sketches and notes for ornate grotesqueries in his horror films. More invigorating in this 2006 film was his emotional awakening to what lessons could be learned from harsh brutality and how one’s pain propels frantic scrambles for beauty and solace during an indeterminate time on earth.

Soaked in as much soul as crimson gore, “Labyrinth” washes viewers over with lavish filmmaking, but makes them feel suffering at three levels — the larger world of a nation (fascist 1944 Spain), the personal world of a child (Ivana Baquero) and the supernatural world of magnificently created characters.

Young Ofelia has moved with her mother to the stronghold of Capitan Vidal (Sergi Lopez), a menacing military man whom her mother has married for safety and security. Venturing into nearby woods, Ofelia discovers remnants of a decaying otherworld. Soon, her personal and paranormal fates are irreversibly entwined.

As the real-world tendrils of Vidal’s menace spread to Ofelia, Lopez creates one of the decade’s most horrifyingly full-bore villains — a man whose emotions eroded long ago and who seeks only a male heir in preserving his violent bloodline.

Employing elegance, tension, fright and invention, “Pan’s Labyrinth” held court with rapture and awe from start to finish, with a resolution solidifying it as the stuff of stories turned legends.

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5 Responses to “Heroes of the Zeroes: Pan’s Labyrinth”

  1. […] touchingly teases at further efforts — DreamWorks Animation ups its creative ante on Pixar. (“Pan’s Labyrinth” director Guillermo del Toro is also a consultant here.) Plus, the eye-popping animation looks […]

  2. […] kept the protagonist female, but they’ve made her a little girl — echoes of del Toro’s own “Pan’s Labyrinth” in a far less imaginative […]

  3. Isaac S says:

    I was honestly disappointed by this film. All I heard about was how good it was and didn’t know much else about it. When I popped it in one afternoon it was not at all what I expected. It wasn’t bad, just weird.

  4. […] have harrumphed when wonderful films like “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Waltz with Bashir” or “Biutiful” get stiffed by an interloper. Then, […]

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nick Rogers, The Film Yap. The Film Yap said: My mother told me to be weary of Fauns. #bestfilmsofthedecade #heroesofthezeroes […]