December 19th, 2006
No interesting links to post this evening, as I was out seeing Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth.
Anyone who has listened to Mark Kermode's film review spot on Radio 5 lately knows what he thinks: he reckons del Toro has delivered the Citizen Kane of fantasy films. I'm not sure that I'd quite go that far, but that's mostly because I think Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy deserves that title for reinventing the large-scale modern fantasy film.
That said, for my money Pan's Labyrinth is comfortably the best fantasy film since Jackson's epic trilogy, a fairy tale featuring some beautiful creature effects work and strong, assured performances from all the main characters. The star of the show is 12 year-old Ivana Baquero as Ofelia, a young girl who finds herself torn between the demands of a scary-yet-oddly-enticing fantasy world and the real-life anxieties of life in post-civil war Spain.
If Pan's Labyrinth was an English-language release it'd get the wide release it deserves. As it is, it seems to be stuck on the art-house/cult movies circuit, so del Toro will probably have to settle for the knowledge that discerning audiences recognise his talents. Roll on Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.