I should probably have "Pan's Labyrinth" typed out on here somewhere near the beginning.
In addition to my personal disappointment, it only further distances me from who an inexperienced onlooker might assume were my peers. I am seriously seeing statements like "if this isn't your favorite movie ever, I will break your back -like so!- with my knee!" I whine about popular stuff all the time, but usually it's mainstream, typical, overhyped billion-dollar popular stuff, things I wouldn't want to like. There are some things I want to like. Bimshwel is not my whole life, just on the internet. I don't consider that sad considering that it's on the internet.
Ofelia was assigned three tasks before she could leave the human world behind, and I rememember thinking "I hope Ofelia gets these three tasks out of the way fairly quickly so most of the movie can be in the labyrinth," and we know how that turned out. The side-story bored me before I realized it was the main story. I thought "the labyrinth" was the underground kingdom mentioned in the introduction, but the labyrinth turns out to just be a couple of stone walls outside the barn where most of the movie takes place. There might as well be no labyrinth. It's not even suggested that the labyrinth might be inherently magical or mazelike until the last few minutes, and the antagonist chasing the hero gets through it anyway. There's no Pan either, but I don't mind that because I think that's a stupid name. There is a fawn/satyr creature that looks kind of like Wigu, but it is never referred to as Pan nor is the labyrinth implied to be under the faun's ownership. I may have to assume it is my labyrinth if no one else will claim it.
I will certainly give to the movie that it made its character motivations more clear than Children of Men did, but it seemed to have happened at the expense of all the adventure elements. Beside that, I still have a hard time deriving enjoyment from things that make sense but are depressing. Is enjoyment not the point of watching these things? Do I have a flawed set of expectations? Do I have a flawed definition of "enjoyment?" I must have flawed insurance (ha ha ugh). It's dialogue was also more clear, but this only happened through subtitles. I know from news coverage that while there are circumstances under which it is acceptable to give English subtitles to English speakers, most of the characters in Children Aw Ban were white people.
My mother didn't think Pan's Labyrinth was depressing, but then, she also listens to Incubus, watches doctor shows and owns an iMac. She's twice as hip as I'll ever be, and not just due to having given birth to four children. And, and, I didn't even see the movie with her. I'm enough of a loser that I can do things without my parents and it doesn't make a difference.
As I was leaving, I saw a promotional item which silently screamed out "frightfully imaginitive!," suggesting to me that the movie was that. It was not! It was imaginitive, occasionally, but not really so much more so than Fearless, a "true story," though obviously one without fear cannot be frightful, but that's not the word I took issue with, but you know what now I will. "Frightfully" does not imply a great deal of imagination, just that whatever was there was frightful. It could be said, for example, that there were so many mundane elements that I was afraid, but even that's wrong. It's like a papercut. I get a bit annoyed, but I'm not scared. Ohhhh noooo! 1940s dinner party Aaaaaahgh!
The actual fantasy elements account for less than half of the film and really only serve to justify one character's seemingly odd actions, and they're barely connected to each other. They seemed like they were setting up a larger, more interesting story that this movie ends before the start of. It would be like if Dragon Quest VI ended after you beat up Mudo, and even that happens a bit late to be acceptable. I'll come back to this later with a reference you'll get, maybe.
Somehow I expected more than this.
I saw some forum-page where people in succession praised the effective horror of the bottle scene. I don't even remember a "bottle scene." I remember scenes with visible bottles, but nothing especially notable to do with the bottles themselves. I remember a "hacksaw" scene, I remember a couple "knock people down and shoot them in their head" scenes, I remember a "burning human baby-shaped plant" scene, but no bottle scene. Oh no, wait, now I remember it, but I assure you I did not when I started talking about it. I didn't realize that was a bottle.
The "end" isn't happy; almost everyone's dead, and it's not even made clear if Ofelia really accomplished her strange goal or didn't. If she did, why would she want to live with that jerk faun anyway? I hate that guy. Do I need happy? I don't think so. Maybe I do. I don't know. Maybe that's why I can't write endings. Though, to be fair, I suspect I can't write middles, either. I don't get a lot of feedback without whining for it first, and I can't trust that unless it's telling me to stop whining!
You see this poster? This poster is a lie. Always with the big fancy glowy picture of the labyrinth entrance. This is far from the King's Quest movie it makes itself out to be.
I hate critics always, unless they're being mean, so of course I would miss such a telling piece of evidence as the included blurb too late revealed itself as. Quoth the yellow letters directly beneath the word "SHOWING," "...a fairy-tale for grownups."
Is that it? Am I not grown up? Do I not eat enough Arches Deluxe? Do I not buy enough bootleg complete first season dvds of Father of the Pride from furswapmeet.com? I hate when people get that attitude. We're adults, so people need to get shot in the head and raped and eaten alive and imprisoned for tax evasion. This ain't your kids' fantasy movie! While the violence wasn't my problem, I'm pretty certain that's what the commentor is referring to, so it's been made my problem. You fairies can keep your tales to yourselves.
The few television ads I saw, though I was trying to look away so as not to spoil plot points, definitely focused on fairies and such. The fairies are so minor, it turns out that I would not have learned much to have watched them. Ofelia ignores their advice on which door to unlock and lets two get eaten, and Fauno is only mad that Ofe took some grapes. Why did she even take the grapes? I didn't understand that at all. That's one of the stupidest and least pointful interpretations of "original sin" myth I've ever seen. Why even make it be someone's fault if you can't do it in a way that's not stupid?
It's like in Lost Vikings 2 where Olaf, the Stout, dooms the vikings to another quest because he thinks a sign says "doughnuts," even though as vikings they shouldn't know what doughnuts are, let alone how that might be spelled in a non-Nordic language. Which explains why Olaf was confused. Right, so, the grape scene is just like that. Except the grape scene isn't supposed to be stupid. Could I make a better script? Of course not. We know that. However, I have to demand one if we're going to be tossing around superlatives and such. The unnamed eyeball-hand person that plenty of nerds will swear is called Pale Man, despite never being called anything nor resembling Jim Gaffigan in the slightest, chases Ofelia around for eating the grapes across approximately one minute and is never seen again.
I don't hate the movie, I just feel let down. This is not like Tetris Attack where I think people are so totally wrong that I question their sanity; I question my own sanity over this, for I realize how common this fruitless (as you saw I can't even have grapes) contrariness is becoming.
I've encountered a few mupes who fancy themselves as artist types claiming to have been "inspired" by the movie. I personally only found about enough to come up with this:
The Captain was the only character I liked, even though he was essentially Hitler. I think, in general, I just like people who are named "The Captain," regardless of how much hitling they do.
Hey, I can't please everybody.
I didn't bother trying to draw the actor or one of his targets properly, as it was, to me, the thought that counted. I called the image "captainish" rather than "captain" in recognition of that.
I might retitle it "Plot Summary" just to annoy someone, and I did, but all aspects of the story beyond that part are themselves quite annoying so I'll end here.
I've never been more humiliated.